To lower employee health care costs, county considers fitness center
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ELKHORN The number of answers slowly is catching up to the number of questions.
However, that shift won’t balance out until they make their biggest and toughest decisions.
Will they, or won’t they? If they do, where will it be built? If they don’t, what’s next?
The Walworth County administration has researched and presented most of its findings concerning whether to add a wellness clinic and/or fitness center to help curb health care costs in a time of declining funding.
(Read all of this week's stories from Walworth County Sunday HERE. )
The Walworth County Board, which welcomed three new members in 2012, approved a $1.17 million capital portion in the 2013 annual budget for such a venture, should they decide to go in that direction. And it will be up to those 11 supervisors to take those next crucial steps in the coming weeks and months.
Supervisors will hear an overview of the plan at 4:30 p.m. March 12 during the Committee of the Whole meeting. The meeting will be held in the county board room of the Walworth County Government Center, 100 W. Walworth St. in downtown Elkhorn.
Their decisions will affect pocketbooks of county employees and taxpayers alike for years to come.
County Administrator Dave Bretl said the county simply is attempting to be as proactive as possible in seeking ways to make ends meet, especially with another state budget battle looming and uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act.
“With any employer, especially one with public employees, the story is balancing a high benefit cost with tax freezes and how do you retain and attract a quality work force?” Bretl asked. “If you offer the benefit, you have to figure out how to do a better job of containing costs. The idea of an onsite wellness clinic component as part of a health plan has been more prevalent in the private sector, and places like Northwest Mutual, Quad Graphics and Briggs & Stratton are good examples, and it’s a fairly progressive way to do it. At least in encouraging employees to seek a primary care physician through their place of work cuts out the insurance company and folks who process claims … you’re just paying for the cost of the care, and that’s really the idea.”
So, the grunt work continues in hopes that they’ll create a consensus about what course of action to take in reaching the best outcome.
Read the complete story in the March 3 e-edition of Walworth County Sunday.