Florence opens medical center for city employees

FLORENCE, Ala. - In a partnership, the city of Florence has created a health and wellness center for employees.

Since opening their doors on Tuesday, every 20 minutes a city employee has been seen by a doctor or nurse practitioner.

CareHere and the city partnered to open the first center of this type in the Shoals. Mayor Mickey Haddock said they have been studying the concept for more than a year.

“We finally decided there was enough information out there that showed where the trend was at over a number of years, that we felt like it was worth stepping forward and giving it a try,” Haddock explained.

According to Haddock, employees do not have to pay to use the clinic. It’s designed for minor illnesses and to be more proactive in wellness.

Currently the city spends $9 million dollars a year on healthcare for employees. City administrators believe the clinic will help decrease the rise in costs across the board.

Haddock said the average rise in healthcare costs each year is nearly six percent. That’s a lot of money when you are already spending millions.

“It has the potential to save the taxpayers, because of the healthcare costs,” stated Haddock. “We are self-insured, so we take those tax dollars, put them in a pot and that’s what we use to provide healthcare.”

CareHere will oversee the daily operations. Employees and members of their household who participate in the benefits package will be able to use the clinic.

CareHere has 200 facilities across the country in which they have partnered with municipalities or employers. Huntsville and Montgomery both have employee health clinics.