BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
Greene County employees and their immediate family members on the county's health insurance program will soon have available another day of free service from a nurse practitioner at the county clinic.
The Greene County Insurance Committee voted unanimously to offer the additional day of service to clients following reports that scheduling conflicts keep some employees from utilizing the free service.
In addition to the extra day that the clinic will now be open, the committee asked that the current schedule change so that the clinic has a nurse practitioner there on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and only a nurse on Tuesday or Thursday.
The county began the clinic in 2011 as a cost-savings measure.
The clinic offers employees free basic medical services and generic prescriptions at a cost less than what the county would pay if the same services or prescriptions were billed to the county's health insurance policy, according to cost analyses provided to the committee.
Previously, the clinic was open only three days per week: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
This schedule caused a long gap of time without service, from Friday through Monday.
"That's a long gap to not have any access to service," Budget Director Mary Shelton said.
The committee agreed.
A cost analysis by the company that runs the clinic, TransformHealthRx, showed that the annual cost for the additional day will be $34,500.
Another analysis estimated that the clinic saved the county $1.4 million in 2013.
In other business, the committee approved for the county to cut off a sprinkler system that burst earlier this month in the records warehouse connected to the Courthouse Annex.
This change will allow the county to fix the system without updating it to code throughout the entire building, according to Maintenance Director Russell Kinser.
Currently, most of the offices at the Courthouse Annex have the sprinkler system located above the drop ceiling, an arrangement which is not consistent with code, Kinser said.
Such an update could cost the county between $75,000 and $100,000, he said.
"I think that's a no-brainer," County Mayor Alan Broyles said in support of cutting off the system and avoiding the purchase of an entirely new one.
Cutting off the system will result in a few offices' no longer having a sprinkler service, including the offices of the mayor, accounting and purchasing, Kinser added.
The committee voted unanimously for this change.
Both Broyles and Road Superintendent David Weems said the county should look to any sprinkler system upgrades as a future capital project to consider, and not as an Insurance Committee matter.
The committee approved monthly financial reports.