At the Jan. 19 Manatee County commissioners' workshop, I heard the arguments for and against the proposed on-site health clinic for its employees.
The proponents indicated that at least $2.4 million will be needed to renovate the old Merrill Lynch building beside the county administration building, and about $800,000 will be spent yearly to pay one doctor, two nurse practitioners, and other clinic employees.
There is also a future plan to offer physical therapy, which will entail additional expense. These facts were not mentioned in the Feb. 4 Bradenton Herald editorial supporting the project.
The Aon Hewitt feasibility study reportedly did not consider the heavy traffic and paucity of parking spaces near the building, which could pose a problem for those who do not work downtown. The employees will have no co-pay, will be seen within five minutes of arrival at the clinic, and will be expected to go back to work after treatment so as not to lose productivity.
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Let me remind everyone that in the days of the old HMOs when their subscribers had no co-pay, doctors' offices were inundated on Fridays with employees having various complaints, hoping to have the day off.
The Herald editorial mentioned annual decreases of 2.3 percent in Manatee County's healthcare costs since 2009 (without the clinic). How much more will be saved if they spend $800,000 to $1 million a year to maintain the clinic?
With the expected future salary and other expenditure increases, will the taxpayers then be asked to help?
In the past, the county sent a healthcare bus to various work locations for the same purpose as the proposed clinic. That project failed, apparently due to lack of utilization by the employees. Should this clinic also fail, who will take the blame for it?
Cornelius Turalba, MD