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Schools, hospital partner

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Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. is changing its health clinic operator, partnering with Columbus Regional Health effective July 15.

About 2,500 people are insured under the school system’s health plan.

Services available at the BCSC Health Center include primary care, wellness, lab work, prescriptions and in-clinic medications as available, and preventive and educational services such as screenings.

The clinic opened in May 2011 and is located on Doctors Park Drive.

BCSC had been contracting with IU Health to operate the clinic, but Columbus Regional Health provided the physician.

The change allows Columbus Regional to provide program content to school district employees that wasn’t available before, said Kurt Ellis, vice president of health system operations for Columbus Regional Health.

One of the partnership’s primary goals is to add health and wellness programs at the health center.

Columbus Regional Health has created programs for management of chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity and pulmonary disease, and Ellis sees the partnership as an opportunity to extend those programs.

“We are trying to work through some of those elements and link more of what the hospital and health system is providing back directly into the health center itself,” Ellis said. “We’ve had great success in terms of chronic-disease management goals and programs, and we want to make sure this health center is doing the same thing.”

Bartholomew Consolidated Schools Superintendent John Quick said the partnership will not only add resources for employees but will help control costs.

“Our primary goal is to have great service for our employees and their families,” Quick said. “On top of that, we are also looking at ways to manage our costs. And if we can save dollars by having our own clinic and doing this partnership, that money can go back into the classroom.”

The insurance premiums for BCSC employees and covered dependents are set at the beginning of the calendar year, so the switch will not impact them.

Insurance premiums are established at the beginning of the calendar year for the entire year and do not change until the following calendar year.

There is no co-pay for visits, lab work or medications provided within the health center, as those services are paid for by BCSC at a discounted cost. Co-pays for visits to other facilities remain unchanged.

There is no charge for a clinic visit, but school-district employees are encouraged to have a primary care physician in addition to using the clinic. The program has different costs for in-network and out-of network providers, as is true of almost all insurance programs.

The school system’s health care trust is administered by a five-member board, which makes recommendations regarding health-care options for its members.

“If you are a bus driver, an administrator or a teacher, you have the same options as I do as a superintendent, because we look at it that everybody’s health has the same value,” Quick said. “This clinic is just another one of the strategies that the board has brought to us as a great approach to managing our health care.”

Last August, BCSC partnered with Columbus Regional to provide its sports medicine and athletic training services.

“It helped contribute to this partnership because we’ve had such good results with the sports medicine program,” Ellis said.

Dr. Brian Kline with Columbus Regional Health Physicians, who has been a practicing physician in Columbus for nearly 20 years, will serve as medical director of the clinic.

Hours of operation at the health center have been slightly modified, but scheduling procedures will remain the same.

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