Montgomery County Commission May Have Found Way To Save A Bundle In Healthcare

Tucked away off South Hull Street in Montgomery is a well-kept secret.

"It can be," said county Risk Manager Scott Kramer.

'Care Here' has taken up residence in the gray building. It's a healthcare clinic based in Nashville, Tennessee, hired by the Montgomery County Commission to set up an on-site clinic specifically for the county's 800 employees and their families.

"They recruited local doctors and nurses," said Kramer.

The name of the game? Reduce the weight of healthcare costs for the county. The commission is currently paying 7 and a half million dollars a year in employee healthcare costs. Looking at it another way; it's the county's private little medical clinic.

"It's not for the general public, only for county employees and their dependents," said county commission chairman Todd Strange.

Here's how it works.

"It can treat illnesses such as colds, flu and more chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure," said Kramer.

And there's no co-pay for the doctor, not even for the medications.

"We give them free generic medicines, and I get to spend more time with the patients," said Dr. Rowena Nazareno.

The county commission hired 'Care Here' back in July, a one year contract to the tune of $200,000. By going this route, the county estimates it'll save anywhere from $100,000 to $150,000 a year. For example, lab work at a family physician's office might cost around $200.  At 'Care Here'?

"It would be about half that amount," said Kramer.

Another added bonus; not much of a wait, according to county employee Theresa LeGrady.

"It's quick, simple and they're very professional," said LeGrady.

Scott Kramer says it's too early to say whether the county will sign on for another year but so far the prognosis looks mighty good.

"It's going to be hard to drop this," said Kramer.

Montgomery County is not alone. 'Care Here' has on-site clinics in 75 cities across the country.

Kramer says the county's supplemental insurance would kick in if a county employee or family member find themselves in a situation that required emergency care.