Rhinelander School District, Apsirus join to provide onsite care clinic
With the implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act on the horizon, businesses and organization with enough employees to fall under the provisions of the act are looking for ways to cut premium costs or face a fine from the Federal Government.
As a large employer in the area, the Rhinelander School District is no different.
“We are a large employer,” Rhinelander superintendent Kelli Jacobi said. “We are looking for ways to lower our premiums or else we would face a fine.”
One way the school district will do that is by having an onsite clinic that will serve district staff and their dependents. The clinic will be located in Rhinelander High School but will serve the entire district with a nurse practitioner working about 12 hours per week.
The exact hours have not been set but Jacobi said she expects hours will be before or after the school day.
“It makes sense to have it before or after school so an employee if they have a child with an ear infection or a cold can take them to the doctor before they drop them off at grandma’s house,” Jacobi said. “And for those employees who work outside the city, they would have the option where they could come in before work or if they have time after work. That way they don’t have to miss a work day.”
The clinic will be run by Aspirus with the nurse practitioner working for the healthcare provider with the District providing the facility. The total cost to the district is expected to be about $51,000 but Jacobi said that money will come out of the schools premium savings.
“We are looking at a cost of $51,000 right now,” Jacobi said. “But Aspirus will fund any short fall. If we see an actual savings of $45,000, Aspirus will pick up the rest.”
This is not anything new for the medical provider as Apsirus has a clinic serving the Wausau School District and also has clinics in several businesses.
“They have done this before and Aspirus knows what they are doing having put clinics in schools before,” Jacobi said.
For the school district’s part, this is not the first time they have made moves to improve the health while seeing a savings in premiums.
“We have been working very hard on ways to improve employee health,” Jacobi said. “We have been giving out health assessments, follow up surveys about eating and exercise habits and then we have a life coach, health coach to help people be more aware of their own health.”
While that program was implemented two years ago, that program has already seen the district receive a drop in their premiums and insurance costs.
It was those savings that enabled the district to pursue the Aspirus option.
“With out that decrease in the premiums we would not have been able to do that,” Jacobi said, noting the district was not going to give up staff or programing for the clinic. “If we would have had to decrease staffing or not offer a program because of this we would not have done it.”
The new clinic will be located near the receiving area by the new library and construction is ready to begin with a tentative opening date of Jan. 2, 2014.