8:58am

Wed September 21, 2011
Eastern and Central Kentucky

Wellness Clinic Plan Approved

Lexington leaders have given the go ahead for a wellness and health clinic for employees, their families, and retirees.  City Council members heard words of support from the risk management director for Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Madeline Green says a wellness center, an on-site pharmacy, and a fitness facility have reduced her city’s health care related costs by five million dollars a year.  The plan calls for Lexington city workers to have access to a wellness clinic early next year.  Marathon Health representative David Demers cautions against expecting savings to be immediate.

“It doesn’t happen all at once.  There is a ramp up period.  It takes some time to get people in the saddle.  The best thing that happens is word of mouth,” said Demers.

Government workers can choose to visit the clinic which is expected to be located near city hall.  Health care services will be offered with no co-pays.  An on-site pharmacy is expected to be added later on.  Lexington Mayor Jim Gray admits the idea is to grow the wellness concept.

“We’re not talking about a big, big space. We’re talking about a modestly sized space to accommodate the doctor, nurses, you know we’re talking under ten staff, so we’re not talking about a huge enormous space,” explained Gray.

A Vermont Health care consulting firm is helping the city establish the clinic.  Urban County Council member Doug Martin cast the lone “no” vote on the proposal.

“Lexington is one of the health care leaders in this part of the country and it concerns me and I don’t understand why we have to go to Vermont to buy this kind of service,” said Martin.

But Marathon Health C-E-O Jerry Ford says his firm works with local doctors.

“We employ local providers.  So providers will come from the local community.  They will work with everybody else in the greater healthcare network to make sure there is collaboration of care,” said Ford.

Gray says the wellness facility should be up and running by about mid January.