City Of Everett Opening Health Care Clinic For Own Employees

August 29, 2019

Everett Government

The cost of providing medical benefits to City of Everett employees makes up a huge chunk of the City’s budget.

Earlier this year the Everett City Council approved spending a little over a quarter of a million dollars to start a primary and preventive care health clinic for City of Everett employees.

One of the largest expenses for the City is employee health benefits and the administration says this is an attempt to curtail some of the rising costs.

In addition to the Health Clinic the City is looking at changing the way it administers health benefits.

Offering a high deductible health care plan and a Health Reimbursement Account/Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Association program are also in the works.

The dollars ($238,450.00) approved so far represent one-time start-up costs for hiring clinic staff, training, technology, equipment, signage, furniture and initial employee engagement & marketing. It does not include one-time tenant improvement costs for the leased space which was identified Wednesday by the City as in the Claremont Shopping Center in the 4900 block of Evergreen Way just south of the QFC store. Those costs have been estimated at another half a million dollars.

Here is a link to the draft of an agreement between Vera-Whole-Health and the City of Everett that was presented to the city council earlier this summer. The city has been working on a plan to reduce employee health care costs for the last couple of years.

Wednesday the City of Everett put out a press release describing the initial details of the clinic plan.

The City of Everett is partnering with Vera Whole Health to open a primary care center that will serve City staff and their dependents. The care center, which will be located at 4931 Evergreen Way, is expected to open in early 2020.

“We looked for innovative ways to improve the overall health of our team and slow the increasing cost of healthcare,” said Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin. “That is why we’re very pleased to begin offering a Vera Whole Health care center for our staff and their dependents.”

Employers who partner with Vera see a significant reduction in total healthcare costs, up to 21 percent in the first year alone through the reduction of high-cost urgent and emergency services, and the coordination of specialty care and follow-up.

The opening of the Vera care center will remove barriers to care for employees and their families, providing access to high-quality care with less waiting and more time spent with providers.

“Vera Whole Health is delighted to support the City of Everett, its employees and their families,” said Ryan Schmid, president and CEO of Vera. “We have a shared goal to provide social, mental, and physical whole-person care, so that everyone can reach optimum health, and the City can reduce their health costs. It’s immensely humbling to be part of a win-win solution.”

The City’s Vera care center will be the first to open in Snohomish County. Patients will still be referred out to local providers for specialty and emergency care.

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