The Mequon-Thiensville School District celebrated the opening of the MTSD Health and Wellness Center—its employee health clinic—with an open house for employees on Tuesday, March 19, 2019. Employees came out to see the new facility, meet care providers, and learn more about the center’s offerings. The center officially welcomed its first patients on Wednesday, March 20.
The MTSD Health and Wellness Center provides a number of benefits to the school district’s staff members, their spouses, and dependents over the age of two, including no charge for clinic services, and same-day appointments.
“We compete with many other schools to recruit and retain high performing staff,” said Sarah Zelazoski, executive director of Human Capital. “Employee health clinics are quickly becoming an important part of total compensation for staff members. The value of offering no-cost health care which is convenient for employees is a tremendous benefit to staff members.”
The district projects that the MTSD Health and Wellness Center will benefit the school district in health care savings. Over 75 percent of the district’s operational budget is allocated for employee’s salaries and benefits. Strategies to control the escalation of necessary expenses such as medical insurance for employees are effective ways to minimize the need to allocate resources away from student support initiatives. Every illness or injury treated at the center saves costs on the district’s medical insurance plan and helps to keep annual expenses from increasing. The district also projects that the center will also have an impact on staff absences and decrease the reliance on substitute teachers, ultimately benefiting students.
The MTSD Board of Education unanimously voted to move forward with the Health and Wellness Center in October 2018. A contract with Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Workforce Health as a partner to run the center was also approved in October 2018.
“This is a partnership with Froedtert & MCW Workforce Health,” said Matthew Joynt, superintendent of schools. “The partnership provides opportunities for collaboration in categories such as health and wellness training, and benefiting a number of stakeholders, including staff members, students, and even community members.”
“Forward-thinking school districts and employers understand the value of having health care options on-site,” said Patti Kneiser, vice president of Employer Services for Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network. “Our team is proud to collaborate with organizations like the Mequon-Thiensville School District to bring high quality care and health care services to their faculty and staff so that they can carry on with the important work they do with students. We want to keep everyone healthy and learning.”
The center was constructed in the Range Line School facility, increasing the district’s financial equity through enhancements in a formerly vacant and unfinished space. The total cost to build the center was estimated at $225,000. The district’s total contribution will not exceed $91,664. The district’s insurance provider, WEA Trust, contributed the balance of the total cost of construction. MTSD will not incur any ongoing annual operating expenses; those costs will be paid by WEA Trust.
The district’s financial contribution to the construction of the center will be paid through the use of assigned fund balance. The district’s fund balance will remain above 20 percent, sufficient to maintain the district’s Aaa bond rating by Moody’s. MTSD is one of only three districts in the state to hold the highest possible rating.
MTSD has developed performance targets to monitor the effectiveness of the center, including annual savings, patient satisfaction, utilization rates, and reductions in short-term employee medical absences requiring substitute teachers.
“We are truly excited by this opportunity to provide a benefit to employees while also taking an innovative approach to control increasing health care costs,” said Zelazoski.