By Lois Mittino Gray
Posey County’s two school districts announced Wednesday that they will work together in a landmark sharing agreement of their two health clinics to offer better hours and convenient locations for their eligible patrons. Mount Vernon and North Posey school districts will unite to offer more hours to customers at no additional costs to them.
“This is unprecedented for two major school corporations to cooperate like this to make it happen. One key is that they both have wellness and health insurance committees made up of teachers and support staff who helped to develop this plan. It will benefit the whole community,” said Joe Neidig, CEO of Tri State Community Health Clinics. His firm provides the medical person- nel and equipment to staff the two health clinics.
The sharing agreement will allow eligible employees of each school district to use the other district’s clinic when it is available, as well as their own. Each clinic is open twelve hours per week right now. With the agreement, the hours will not overlap, so this will mean that employees will have 24 hours of clinic time available to schedule appointments each week. In most cases, the same nurse practitioners and nurses often serve both clinics, so employees will see familiar faces at both locations. Clinic visits may be scheduled online, by phone or in person.
North Posey’s clinic is located at the corner of Indiana 66 and 165 in Wadesville at 4922 Highway 165. It is the older of the two clinics, started in 2013 according to Dr. Todd Camp, North Posey School Superintendent. The Mount Vernon Clinic is located in the former Hedges Central School. It was opened in spring of 2015 and is very well used, according to Dr. Tom Kopatich, Mount Vernon School Superintendent.
Currently, the two clinics alternate morning and afternoon shifts on Mon- days, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Morning shifts run from 7 to 11 a.m. and afternoons from 1 to 5 p.m. At present, both clinics are dark on Tuesday and Friday. In the future after the merger, the schedule will change. Both school boards must approve the sharing agreement first.
If the county gets in on a lease agreement with the two clinics which is also being discussed as a health insurance money saving option, this will add eight more hours of clinic availability. If it all comes to fruition, the clinic can be open four to five days a week in 2017.
“Our model is to work efficiently in twenty minute blocks for each appointment. First appointments are scheduled in forty minute blocks for paperwork purposes. We do lab work on site and patients can get most of their medications here. This plan should work great, as long as everyone shows up and is on time,” Neidig remarked.