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Jackson County, businesses save on health care

Local businesses are teaming up with Jackson County to save money on health care for their employees.

In 2014, Jackson County remodeled a portion of its Community Justice and Elections Center building at 1101 W. Main St. in order to open a clinic serving its employees. Workers can get free care for minor medical issues such as sore throats, the flu, allergies, sprains, sports physicals, minor surgeries and annual exams.

Rogue Disposal & Recycling later joined the effort, and this week the Jackson County Board of Commissioners signed an agreement for Rogue Federal Credit Union workers to have the option of visiting the clinic rather than their regular doctors.

So far, Jackson County has saved $164,522 in outside medical appointment fees from its employees visiting the clinic, said County Administrator Danny Jordan.

Although the effort is still in its infancy, Jordan said he considers it to be a success so far, with more potential savings in the future.

County employees have also saved an estimated 1,240 hours of missed work by visiting the clinic, which is designed to be fast and convenient, Jordan said.

Jackson County Commissioner Rick Dyer said he has visited the clinic for medical appointments.

"It is very handy and conveniently located. I've used it a few times and I've never had to wait," Dyer said.

Jackson County Commissioner Colleen Roberts, who voiced opposition to the government-provided health care clinic before she was elected, said she now supports the clinic.

"I've caved. I've used it," she said, noting the clinic saves the county and taxpayers money.

Jackson County's non-union employees, who include managers and elected officials, can use the clinic. The county's union employees so far have decided against participating in the clinic, Jordan said.

To split costs and make sure the clinic was open enough hours to attract health care providers and be convenient, the county teamed with local businesses, he said.

The clinic is currently open 20 hours per week, he said.

Without the businesses' participation, the county could only have the clinic open 11 hours per week for its employees, Jordan said.

The county has 245 employees, plus their covered family members, who can use the clinic. At Rogue Disposal, 112 employees can use the clinic and 208.2 full-time equivalent workers at Rogue Credit Union will be able to use the clinic, Jordan said.

Jackson County will pay approximately $112,874 of the building remodel costs, with Rogue Disposal contributing an estimated $51,600 and Rogue Credit Union paying an estimated $80,088, he said.

Rogue Credit Union and Rogue Disposal also pay facility use fees to the county, Jordan said.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.