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CareHere Clinic saved county $175,927 in healthcare costs

Anderson County government has saved $175,927 in employee healthcare costs since the county’s new health clinic for county employees and their dependents first opened its doors for business in March of last year.

Anderson County officials decided to approve funding a patient-centered health care clinic for employees and their families, with the expectation it would save the county and its taxpayers thousands of dollars in healthcare costs.

Before the county switched to using the Thrive Health and Wellness Center, it had a self-funded health insurance program that was operating at a cost of about $4 million a year.

Something had to be done to cut the rising cost of health insurance premiums, but what?

The solution officials opted for was to go with CareHere LLC, a Nashville based company that manages more than 180 health care clinics and wellness centers in 24 states. CareHere provides primary care, disease management, and generic non-narcotic medication at no cost to county employees who use the county’s health care plan.

“The savings to the county for the first year of operation, it was projected that we would either break even or at most, make $18,000,” said Russell Bearden, Anderson County Human Resource Director, in an interview last week reporting on the good news county officials received from CareHere officials on May 4, during an annual meeting for the clinic where clinic and county officials reviewed the clinic’s yearly progress.

Ben Barker, senior vice president with CareHere, told officials at the May 4 clinic meeting that the Thrive Health and Wellness Center has seen such results that typically do not become apparent until year four or five.

“We’ve way exceeded” our benchmarks, Bearden said, commenting on the clinic’s positive results.

“In a one year period we’ve had 5,020 appointments. For a clinic that’s been in operation for our length of time we usually see about a 50 percent participation rate [of employees using the clinic’s services]. We’re at 80 percent. Since the first of this year we’ve already reached 97 percent of appointments being full. We’ve had 6.6 visits per year by employees, which exceeded 4.4, the projected participation rate,” added Bearden.

As of May 2017, approximately 75 percent of county employees or their dependents took advantage of the health risk assessments the clinic provides, Bearden said.

“This clinic has been an overwhelming success. It’s a good news story for the county. We’ve been so proud of this clinic. It’s done a lot of good things,” remarked Bearden.

The future goals of the clinic is to control and drive down the cost of insurance claims, relieving the cost on taxpayers, and continue to work towards getting employees healthy, said Bearden.