Oklahoma County looks to cut employee health care costs with new clinic

A contract with a new health care provider will mean reduced costs for Oklahoma County employees and could save the county some money as well.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Published: June 9, 2012
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A contract with a new health care provider will mean reduced costs for Oklahoma County employees and could save the county some money as well.

County employees who seek treatment at the new IMWell Health clinic will have no co-pay or deductible obligations, said Jon Wilkerson, county director of human resources, benefits and payroll.

The trade-off is these employees will have an incentive to undergo wellness checks that could make the employee population healthier, thus reducing emergency room visits, inpatient treatment and, subsequently, the self-insured county's annual list of claims payouts, he said.

“We expect to see an uptick in our outpatient professional costs, but by connecting part of our population with treatment through the IMWell Clinic we hope to see chronic conditions better managed,” he said.

The county signed a one-year contract with the Arkansas-based company this spring. IMWell is currently remodeling the bottom floor of an office complex at 136 NW 10 into its first Oklahoma City clinic.

IMWell currently provides similar service to employees of the police department in Tulsa and will be developing similar contracts with private and public entities in Oklahoma beyond the county, said Dan Matthews, human resources director.

At least two metro-area municipalities are considering similar programs with IMWell, Matthews said.

Four signed for clinic

Dr. Amanda Thomas, currently a family physician at Integris Baptist Medical Center, will staff the new clinic. IMWell also hired a physician's assistant and two medical assistants to support Thomas, with opening planned for July 2.

“They have a phone number established and they're already getting phone calls from people making appointments,” Matthews said. “We're all very comfortable with the progress and that we'll open on time.”

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