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CCSD to provide no-cost primary care to 11K employees

Updated February 8, 2023 - 4:41 pm

The Clark County School District is contracting with a wellness center to provide no-cost primary care to approximately 11,000 support professionals and police.

Superintendent Jesus Jara mentioned the services during his State of the Schools address in late January. The day before, the school board approved a $1.4 million purchasing award with Vera Whole Health to provide the services.

The purchasing award — a three-year contract with a two-year renewal option — was approved as part of the consent agenda, where multiple items are approved in one batch.

“This is intended to provide a more in-depth service and better care for our employees,” the district’s Chief Financial Officer Jason Goudie told the Review-Journal Tuesday.

Money for the primary care services will come from the school district’s general fund.

“We know the importance of health benefits for our employees and their families, and the District is always looking for ways to provide more benefits for all our employees,” Jara said in a Wednesday news release. “This agreement allows us to offer covered employees premier health services without cost, so they focus on educating our children and leading happier, healthier lives.”

Vera Whole Health, headquartered in Seattle, has care centers in approximately 10 states, including Nevada. School district support professionals and police will initially have access to existing centers in Summerlin and Green Valley.

The company didn’t respond to a Las Vegas Review-Journal request for comment.

The school district is still in contract negotiations and a date hasn’t yet been set for when employees can start using the wellness centers, according to Goudie. Available hours for the services are also being discussed.

Goudie said it could be at least a month or so before the offering is available to district employees, but that he doesn’t anticipate contract negotiations taking a significant amount of time.

Matthew Caldwell, president of the Police Officers Association, said Wednesday the offering would be excellent for the union’s approximately 170-person membership, as there would be no cost for employees and it would give them a chance to see a doctor on a more regular basis.

Who is eligible?

The wellness centers will be available to members of the Education Support Employees Association, Police Officers Association and Police Administrators Association who are insured under a school district health plan.

Employees’ eligible dependents who are over 3 years old will also be able to receive services.

It doesn’t include licensed professionals such as teachers who are insured by THT Health, which is overseen by the Clark County Education Association teachers union and has faced years of financial issues and received multiple bailouts from taxpayers.

The wellness centers are “essentially a supplemental medical offering” on top of existing insurance benefits that will allow employees to use primary care-type services at no additional cost, including no copay, according to Goudie.

Goudie said he was introduced to the concept of wellness centers about four years ago and that it’s an idea that is starting to be more widely used across the U.S. to provide better care.

Doctors aren’t dealing with insurance paperwork, Goudie said, so they have more time to spend with patients.

The model is also intended to reach employees who aren’t typically seeing a doctor on a regular basis due to factors such as cost or a lack of time.

Ultimately, Goudie said, it will allow the school district to have a healthier workforce.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter.

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