Health care may soon be more convenient and affordable for Overland Park city employees.
By JENNIFER BHARGAVA
Special to The Star
The city is opening an on-site health center in March. Located in the basement of the Myron Scafe building, 85th Street and Antioch Road, it will feature a nurse practitioner and medical assistant.
The city council recently approved a contract with Vermont-based Marathon Health, which will run the center.
Services will include primary care, disease management, health coaching and occupational health services, such as employee physicals and standard drug tests.
It will be open to employees and their dependents and retired employees covered by the city’s health plan.
Each year, it will cost the city a little more than $500,000 to run the on-site health center.
Over a three-year period, Marathon anticipates Overland Park to save a total of $1.2 million in redirected health care costs, it stated in a proposal to the city.
Not only will it save the city money, but it will help save employees out-of-pocket expenses, said Mike Garcia, chief human resources officer for Overland Park.
All services at the center will be free, saving employees deductibles they would normally have at a primary care clinic.
Plus, he added, it’s more convenient, especially for those who work at City Hall.
“In some cases, you might be waiting half a day to see a doctor,” Garcia said. “With this on-site health center you can schedule an appointment online and just go across the street to be seen quickly. The maximum wait will only be about seven to eight minutes.”
The city began looking into on-site health care in 2011, after learning that neighboring cities, such as Olathe and Lenexa, were saving significantly on their health care plan using the concept.
Plus, on-site health care was quickly becoming a growing trend.
A few years ago, there were only a few on-site clinics and a handful of vendors who operated them, Garcia said. In 2013, when the city decided to go forward with the idea, it received 10 proposals from companies around the nation.
The city chose Marathon Health because of its reputation and experience, reported a staff presentation to the Finance, Administration, and Economic Development Committee in July. The company was founded in 2005 and currently operates 37 full-time centers and 87 part-time centers.
Marathon predicts that around 3,000 patients will use the site per year.
“We’re hopeful employees will take advantage of it because it will save everyone a lot of money,” Garcia said. “We don’t want to replace their current primary care doctor. We just hope this will supplement their current level of care.”