June 15--WOODBINE -- Camden County's employee health insurance program keeps racking up the awards.
The National Association of Counties has announced that Camden will receive its National Achievement Award for Health Care Reform on July 21.
Last month, the Association of County Commissioners Georgia gave similar recognition to the program.
And it's not just associations that are noticing Camden County's program. County Administrator Steve Howard said municipalities inside and outside of Georgia have contacted him for information about what Camden has done to keep health care costs down.
"What we're doing is about collaborations," he said. "I think it's a model. A lot of it is thinking outside the box."
Last week, Chatham County officials visited Camden County to look at the program. Howard said other counties could do the same thing to save money.
When he was hired as county administrator in 2007, Howard said the county's health care cost about $4 million a year and was the fastest growing part of the budget. He said projections estimated the county would pay about $8 million a year by 2013 for health care if something wasn't done.
The county joined with the Public Service Authority and city of St. Marys to build the Living Wellness Clinic, which opened last month at a new site at 710 Charles Gilman Jr. Ave., a more central location in the county. All services for municipal employees and their families are provided in the one location.
It's also given participants a healthier workforce because of the quality care and ease to make appointments.
The program has saved participants $425,000 since 2011. Howard said the program has enabled the county to keep its annual health care costs to around $4 million.
"We've been able to keep health care costs below the national trend," he said. "It's challenging because there are a lot of factors in health care you can't control."
-- Reporter Gordon Jackson writes about Camden County and other local topics. Contact him at email@example.com, on Facebook or at 464-7655.
(c)2013 The Brunswick News (Brunswick, Ga.)
Visit The Brunswick News (Brunswick, Ga.) at www.thebrunswicknews.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services