BayNews9, Feature Report
By Reporter Cait McVey
Feb. 8, 2013, NEW PORT RICHEY — Teachers and other employees of Pasco County schools are using three health wellness centers to get healthy and save tax dollars.
The District opened the facilities two years ago to help employees kick bad habits, but saving money is a benefit no one expected.
Elementary school teacher Rita Echols-Mitchell dropped 50 pounds, reduced her blood pressure and almost moved out of the danger zone for
Echols-Mitchell and 3,000 school employees can put together a personal plan and monitor the results with the help of a health coach and exercise physiologist. Teachers and staff lost 3,800 pounds.
“Whoever comes here to the health center, we do not file claims for reimbursement,” said the centers’ owner Ray Tomlinson.
“The first year the district saved more than $2,000,000 from their health insurance program,” he said.
He also says there was a 34 percent drop in diabetes claims in 2012.
Workers’ Compensation costs are also down by half, giving the district another $1.5 million in savings.