News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, June 28, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- You'll start hearing a lot more about staying healthy as the city of Augusta pushes a new wellness plan.
The city of Augusta approved a new in-house clinic Thursday night.
"Yes, just because you host a golf tournament and a walk once a year doesn't mean you have wellness plan," said Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles.
The city wants to step in before workers land in the ER, calling a healthy workforce a more productive workforce.
"It's been pathetic to say we had a wellness plan," Bowles said.
The Augusta Commission moved to approve in-house clinics during a meeting on Thursday, part of a new wellness plan for the city.
The idea is to limit hospital visits.
"Well, it's a great example -- the employers in this case, such as the city, have to think up innovate ways to get more preventative and primary care services," said David Hefner with GHS Medical Center.
Keep in mind, GHSU alone will spend $120 million for electronic records and the city of Augusta has approved spending $500,000 to $600,000 on an in-house clinic to save costs.
"If we're going to stay fully insured by Blue Cross Blue Shield I think this is a waste of taxpayer's money," Bowles said.
The mayor pro tem says the only way an in-house clinic would work is if the city moves to a self-insured plan.
"Instead of going to the emergency room or to see a physician, it would save costs to see a physician's assistant that is on site," Bowles said.
This just as local hospitals plan for more expenses and more patients due to health care reform.