Manatee County looks to open health clinic for employees

MANATEE COUNTY, FL (WFLA) – Manatee County leaders want to transform a decades-old building into a new health clinic that would serve county workers and cost a fraction of what they would typically pay at a traditional doctor’s office.

“Our philosophy has always been let’s get people healthier and that will ultimately reduce the cost to our taxpayers,” said county division manager Kim Stroud.

Stroud has worked for years to get the idea off the ground.

The clinic would be housed in the old Merrill Lynch building.

County workers could stop in for basic medical needs at low to no cost to them.

“They have a headache, a sore throat, a sinus infection. They come in, see a physician, get a script—and they could get back to work,” Stroud tells 8 On Your Side.

The clinic, if approved, would be located next to the County Administration building.

The clinic wouldn’t replace an employee’s primary care physician. It would be used as a quick-care facility.

“But what about the residents?” asked Barbara Makanoff. “They still have to go the emergency room. Get Obamacare,” she said.

Other residents thought providing services solely to county employees targeted a specific group of people.

8 On Your Side learned the county anticipates it will cost nearly $3 million to renovate the building and it will take three years to get a return on the investment.

Some local physicians have voice opposition to the clinic, fearing it may take away from business.

County commissioners need to approve the plan; that’s expected in several weeks.

In December 2014, Pasco County opened two wellness clinics. A county spokesman tells 8 On Your Side the county saved $900,000 in the first year. More than 4,000 employees have already used that county’s facilities.

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