THE HUNTER REPORT
Lenoir City approves Letter of Intent
Wellness Program & Wellness Clinic
Attorney Littleton, Mayor Brookshire Click Video Insurance Agent Chris Wampler
Will Commission follow Lenoir City
with Wellness Clinic program?
By: Pat Hunter
May 31, 2009
The matter of establishing a wellness program and wellness clinic for Loudon County employees was not on the May 18, Loudon County Commission workshop meeting; nonetheless commissioners discussed and heard a presentation from insurance agent Chris Wampler, which lasted almost 1-hour. The wellness clinic will cost $68,952.00 yearly with taxpayers likely to foot the expense. The taxpayers already pay 90 percent of a county employee’s health insurance and benefits. Mayor Arp said the Wellness Clinic matter would be placed on the next Commission meeting scheduled for June 1. As of this web posting there is no agenda on the Loudon County government website to inform the public about this issue. In past years, when health insurance issues were discussed by county officials, the room was filled with concerned county employees. Could this reason why this matter was not on the workshop agenda and there is no commission agenda, yet? The local newspaper has not covered this issue so far.
This same issue was briefly discussed at the April 27 Lenoir City Council meeting. Council approved a Letter of Intent between the City and Livingwell Health Cooperative based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The vote was unanimous except for Mike Henline who was absent. Although the Letter of Intent said that it did not constitute a contractual agreement to purchase any services, Lenoir City officials indicated a “genuine interest” to participating in a Cooperative Preventative Care Health Clinic “Wellness Clinic.”
According to Mayor Matt Brookshire, Lenoir City Council in conjunction with the Lenoir City Budget Committee and insurance agent Chris Wampler met at an earlier workshop meeting to discuss establishing a wellness program and clinic for city employees. Mayor Brookshire mentioned that there were many benefits for providing limited services and the long term benefits of driving down overall health insurance cost, which he said benefit taxpayers. Lenoir City pays 100 percent of an employee’s health insurance.
The Letter of Intent is not the full contract, commented Mayor Brookshire. Mayor Brookshire asked insurance agent Chris Wampler to explain the wellness clinic. By signing the Letter of Intent, Lenoir City inched its way to the health and wellness clinic.
Chris Wampler commented about the Letter of Intent was no obligation what-so-ever. It will just help Living Well Health Solutions proceed to open a clinic as soon as possible and that date is set for July or August. The Letter is brought with no responsibility other than to say that Lenoir City intends to place some members later, which could also be established later.
As the Mayor waived the Letter of Intent, doing this and nothing else is a waste of effort said Brookshire. There was a lot of good discussion and questions that still need to be resolved. He concluded all and all; the program has many merits, a wellness program for employees, limited services to employees and a wellness clinic, which will help drive the cost of insurance.
The Mayor, Lenoir City Council members or Chris Wampler did not divulge the cost for Lenoir City to participate in the health program and wellness clinic or discuss other issues that were discussed at a county commission workshop such as employees receiving a report card, compliance issues or penalties for not following the health program.