Pasco school district clinics
bring big health care savings

By Jeffrey S. Solochek, Times Staff Writer
Newspaper Article
Tampa Bay Times
Jan. 26, 2013


Dade City — Lose weight.

Rita Mitchell had heard the words many times before.

But it wasn’t until the Cox Elementary School prekindergarten teacher got the advice during a health risk assessment at the Pasco County school district’s wellness center that she took the message to heart. Mitchell learned she was at risk for diabetes, and heard loud and clear what ignoring the signs could mean.

“It was enough to get my attention,” she said. “This thing, if left unattended, it can kill you. She told me to lose weight. I’ve been hearing that for years. But it was like, hello.”

Flash forward a year, and Mitchell is a new woman.

“I just turned 50, and I lost 50,” she said. “I am excited.”

Her success mirrors that of many other district employees, and of the health clinic program that the school district introduced two years ago.

The School Board approved spending about $1.5 million a year to operate three school-based clinics, offering free appointments and medications, in addition to preventive wellness programs for employees. The idea was that the district would save money in the long run by reducing insurance claims and related expenses.

Last year, the district saw its claims drop by more than $2 million, with per-employee costs down by nearly 5 percent. Its rates did not increase as much as expected, allowing the board to use savings to reduce the number of furlough days imposed on employees.

Its focus on diabetes care resulted in a 34 percent decrease in related claims, and the district saw a 26 percent increase in diabetes patients actually getting the monitoring tests they need. Its efforts on weight reduction, expected to net about 1,000 pounds among participants, totaled a loss of 3,800 pounds by those employees.

Use of the centers has been so strong, in fact, that the district is considering opening two others, as well as a center focused on occupational health and physical therapy. District benefits director Mary Tillman said they had to add staff to the centers over the summer to meet the growing demand.

With medical costs rising, Tillman said, the only real way to cut expenses is to get people healthy. Making visits convenient and affordable, while focusing on managing chronic illnesses and catching problems before they get out of hand, has allowed the district to make such strides.

“I’m very proud of our wellness centers,” said School Board chairwoman Cynthia Armstrong, who sits on the district health and wellness incentives committee. “I really feel like it’s been a win-win situation for the district and the employees.”

Armstrong said she and her husband both take advantage of the services the clinics offer, and can see firsthand the benefits. Other districts have started looking at Pasco as a model, she added, as they consider establishing their own wellness programs….See Tampa Bay Times for this full story.

To learn more about Crowne Consulting Group and CareHere’s onsite care, visit our Health & Wellness Centers Page

Press Release
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Win-Win in Workers’
Compensation for Employees and Employers

Onsite health centers enhance care while lowering

workers compensation costs

December 5, 2012 (Ocoee, Fla.) – Beyond improving employee healthcare through onsite health centers, Crowne Consulting Group, Inc. is drastically lowering health costs and decreasing workers’ compensation costs for employers.

Crowne collaborates with Tennessee-based CareHere, LLC to operate more than 25 health and wellness centers throughout Florida, with the City of Lake Mary opening last month and the City of Kissimmee slated for 2013.  CareHere specializes in primary care, occupational services, pharmacy, and disease management.  Its cost-saving model helps self-funded employers extend employee benefits to include zero copays, no deductibles, and free screenings.

Crowne and CareHere’s worksite centers are the first stop for triage and treatment of workers’ compensation and other occupational services.  Services are fully compliant as there is no co-mingling of health information with work-related services.  The occupational health providers also follow required regulations related to medical surveillance programs, drug testing, reporting, and return to duty.

“An on-the-job injury can set back an organization’s productivity, but health centers offer prompt care to mitigate risks and expedite return-to-work programs,” said Ray Tomlinson, president of Crowne Consulting Group.  “Instead of days or weeks, many workers are back to work within hours.”

Since opening three onsite health centers in 2011 and implementing numerous wellness and benefits education programs, Pasco Schools realized a more than 50 percent decrease in workers’ compensation costs, totaling over $1.5 million in savings.

Th City of Ocoee’s medical costs of its workers’ compensation program averaged a 70 percent annual reduction during a four-year span.  Last year, 92 percent of eligible employees visited the center at least once, with 35 percent of the visits for acute care.

Crowne Consulting Group, Inc:
Crowne Consulting Group, Inc., founded in 1986, consults and provides administrative oversight services for onsite health and wellness centers to employers and is a related company with The Crowne Group, an employee benefits consulting firm, specializing in employer solutions and personal lines of insurance.  Crowne’s experts have a cumulative 100 years of experience in serving public sector employers such as school districts, city and county government, as well as private organizations.  Solutions for consumer-driven plans include health reimbursement arrangements, self-funded plans, onsite health and wellness centers, as well as risk
management and human resources consulting.