Oklahoma City Council to consider opening employee health clinic

OKC officials hope a clinic geared toward serving employees and their families would help the city save money on health care costs.
BY WILLIAM CRUM wcrum@opubco.com Published: February 1, 2013
Advertisement
;

As part of efforts to control health care costs, Oklahoma City is weighing whether to open its own employee medical center.

The city council on Tuesday is to consider asking health care companies for proposals for a downtown clinic that would serve employees and their families.

If the plan goes forward, Oklahoma City could join cities including Dallas, San Antonio and El Paso, Texas, that have opened clinics for employees.

Whether the city would save money is an open question, but officials are hopeful.

“We think this will drive down our health insurance costs,” said Dianna Berry, the city's personnel director.

Oklahoma City has 11,670 retirees, employees, spouses and dependents enrolled in its two health plans, Berry said. The cost to the city: about $62 million each year.

A clinic serving employees and their families could promote good health while closely monitoring the progress of those dealing with chronic illnesses or taking medications, Berry said.

One goal is for employees to get in quickly, be seen quickly and get back to work.

“It's a productivity issue,” Berry said.

The challenges are apparent. Among the 5,390 participants in the city's self-funded health insurance plan:

1,617, or 29.6 percent, have been diagnosed with hypertension.

770, or 14.1 percent, have been diagnosed with diabetes.

221, or 4 percent, are obese.

222, or 4.1 percent, have had a stroke.

645, or 11.8 percent, have high cholesterol issues.

607, or 11.1 percent, have been diagnosed with heart disease.