February 10, 2006

VUSN, Dickson Co. partnership helps school system save money

Featured Image

Suzanne Tilley, F.N.P., examines patient Raigan Allbert, 22 months old, held by her mother Jill at the Dickson County Board of Education Clinic.
Photo by Dana Johnson

VUSN, Dickson Co. partnership helps school system save money

The partnership between the Dickson County Board of Education (DCBE) and Vanderbilt University School of Nursing to provide on-site health care services to employees and dependents of the county's public school system has saved an estimated $500,000 in health care and labor costs in its first six months of operation.

In operation since August, the clinic offers a wide variety of free on-site services for DCBE's 900 active employees and their 500 dependents. Employees can get comprehensive physicals, primary care and “sick” visits including prescriptions, injury screening and on-the-job injury management and wellness and prevention screenings. Dependents can receive primary care, sick care, well-child visits, immunizations, TB skin testing, pneumonia vaccinations for at-risk individuals and other routine health care services.

“Primary care at work makes good sense and good 'cents,'” said Bonnie Pilon, D.S.N., senior associate dean for Practice at VUSN. “The employee and their dependents have almost immediate access to care at little to no cost and can be seen around their work schedule, keeping them healthier and more productive. The employer pays a fixed cost for the service and thus has a much more predictable health care budget, and saves money on expensive emergency room visits.”

“The popularity of the clinic has really taken off,” said Suzanne Tilley, an advanced practice registered nurse who runs the clinic assisted by a full-time receptionist. “We see up to 25 patients a day and at this point have about four people a week who are making this clinic their primary care provider for their health care needs.”

Sherman Cline, finance director for Dickson County Schools, said, “All of our employees love the clinic. It's been a big success all the way around and certainly from a cost perspective.”

Cline also hopes the clinic will offer health lifestyle classes such as weight management and smoking cessation in the future.

The clinic has plans to add a registered nurse this spring to help with the growing patient load.