Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tarpon Springs clashes with hospital over employee clinic

Florida Hospital North Pinellas would like the chance to provide Tarpon Springs city employees with health care.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times (2012)

Florida Hospital North Pinellas would like the chance to provide Tarpon Springs city employees with health care.

TARPON SPRINGS — Leaders at the local branch of Florida Hospital clashed with city leaders last week over whether Tarpon Springs should include the hospital in its plan to build a health clinic for city employees.

The clinic, which would be built in partnership with Oldsmar and the Florida League of Cities, would be designed to provide better health care access for city employees, encourage preventive care and possibly save money on health premiums.

But leaders at Florida Hospital North Pinellas confronted city leaders Tuesday about what they considered to be a terrible oversight. As the city's biggest employer, they argued, doesn't the hospital deserve to be a part of the agreement?

"I'm just livid, I apologize, I was not intending to be this angry," Michael Kouskoutis, a hospital board member said during a Tuesday night commission meeting. "We have physicians, we have hospitals, we have surgical teams that are a benefit to this community. And given the chance, we would love to sit down about providing services for city employees. But you know what? No one asked, and that's shameful."

Paul Hoover, vice president of business development for Florida Hospital North Pinellas, told commissioners the hospital could likely provide better services than a clinic because it's open more hours and has more doctors.

But similar clinics around the state, including one in Tampa and one shared by Clearwater and Dunedin, have reaped thousands of dollars in savings for cities and have been popular with city employees and their families.

The clinic would work like this: The League of Cities, which insures the city through United Healthcare, would pay startup costs and hire a vendor to manage the clinic. Employees would be encouraged to get routine medical care and wouldn't have to take sick time from work to do so.

The clinic would operate 12 hours per week, and employees could get free visits and generic medications. The idea is to decrease insurance claims and pass that savings on to the cities in the form of lower premiums.

Due to their lopsided number of employees, Tarpon Springs and the smaller city of Oldsmar would split the roughly $2,000 cost of a lease 70-30. The office space under consideration is on U.S. 19 south of Alderman Road.

Tarpon Springs Mayor David Archie said no final decisions on the clinic have been made, and there could still be time to broker an agreement that makes the hospital happy. But he also defended the city's handling of the proposal.

"I have not seen (the hospital) come and offer any type of services to the city in terms of trying to help our employees here, and I think this goes two ways," he said. "I don't want to have an adversarial relationship with the hospital."

City Manager Mark LeCouris seemed angry at the attempt to derail the existing plan, which has been in the works for several months. He said the city should proceed with the clinic as planned.

"It doesn't make much sense to scuttle this," LeCouris said. "You're just hurting the employees of the city, that's all you're doing."

Joe Roseto, Clearwater's human resources director, estimates Clearwater nets more than a million dollars in savings per year because employees are getting preventive care and filing fewer and less expensive claims.

Several city employees have also blocked early-stage cancers and other ailments that might have been more serious and expensive if they hadn't seen a doctor early, he said.

"You save in the claims," he said. "But the big savings will come if you can save on catastrophic care."

Brittany Alana Davis can be reached at bdavis@tampabay.com or (850) 323-0353.

Tarpon Springs clashes with hospital over employee clinic 05/24/13 [Last modified: Friday, May 24, 2013 6:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump sprinkles political attacks into Scout Jamboree speech

    GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Ahead of President Donald Trump's appearance Monday at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, the troops were offered some advice on the gathering's official blog: Fully hydrate. Be "courteous" and "kind." And avoid the kind of divisive chants heard during the 2016 campaign such as "build …

    President Donald Trump addresses the Boy Scouts of America's 2017 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, W.Va., July 24, 2017. [New York Times]
  2. Trump, seething about attorney general, speculates about firing Sessions, sources say

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has spoken with advisers about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as he continues to rage against Sessions' decision to recuse himself from all matters related to the Russia investigation.

  3. John McCain to return to Senate for health care vote

    WASHINGTON — The Senate plans to vote Tuesday to try to advance a sweeping rewrite of the nation's health-care laws with the last-minute arrival of Sen. John McCain — but tough talk from President Donald Trump won no new public support from skeptical GOP senators for the flagging effort that all but …

  4. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]
  5. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.