BRYAN - The City of Bryan is trying to better manage healthcare costs.
The city paid a third party to conduct a study of its employee health center to see the city is getting its money's worth.
Tuesday, the city council got the answer
City of Bryan employees have their own doctor's office on Villa Maria Road.
There's a waiting room, exam rooms and medical staff at the Employee Health Center providing coverage for 859 Bryan employees and more than 1,100 dependents.
"The utilization in particular has increased; we're now over 4,000 visitors. First year, for example, just over 2,300, 2400 visitors," said Bryan Deputy City Manager Hugh Walker.
Walker gave a progress report to the city council during a workshop.
"Most folks don't wait anymore than 10 minutes maybe and so they can get right in then back to work fairly quickly," he said.
The city contracts with St. Joseph Regional Health System which manages and staffs the clinic. The latest contract is projected to cost the city $343,846.
Bryan Mayor Jason Bienski says it's a convenient place for employees and has used the clinic himself.
"We're looking to save the taxpayers' tax dollars by implementing this and continuing this, save the employees money in the process and also provide the conveniences of the health center, "said Mayor Bienski.
City staff say some of those savings come from treating illnesses sooner.
Their claims have stayed relatively flat while nationally they say healthcare costs are rising eight to 10 percent a year.
"There's a number of employees that did not have a regular care physician or family physician of some sort so this bridges that gap," explained Walker.
Employees do not pay a copay at the clinic and still have the option to see a primary care physician, but the clinic has a 98 percent approval rate from patients.
The city is looking at ways to improve the service in the future including ideas like extended hours and will be seeking feedback from city staff.