It hasn't been named yet. The hours of operation haven't been set. And remodeling needs cover everything from waiting-room chairs to examination-room sinks.
Still, the Pasadena ISD's first on-site health clinic remains on track for a Feb. 1 opening at the new Frank Braden Center, part of the district's sprawling support facility on the Sam Houston Parkway at Pasadena Blvd.
When it opens, the clinic will offer basic health-care services to covered district employees and their dependents at no cost. The clinic will even offer free prescription services for many generic drugs.
"We are excited about the health clinic," said Dr. Kirk Lewis, Pasadena ISD's superintendent of schools. "Most importantly, it will provide our staff with an affordable health care option for illness and preventative care."
Lewis pointed out several other benefits of the clinic plan.
"Flexible hours will allow staff members to arrange well-doctor appointments after school so that they will not have to miss work. In addition, the plan will save the district and, therefore, taxpayers, money because of decreased insurance bills."
The Pasadena ISD Board of Trustees last month approved a contract with First On-Site to establish the district's first on-site health clinic. The district will provide $750,000 in initial funding for the clinic with the expectation that those costs will quickly be recovered in the form of lower health-care costs to the district.
Employees covered under the district's health insurance plan will also benefit in both cost and convenience. If the clinic proves successful, district officials say, additional on-site facilities may be added later at other district locations.
The idea is simple. Pasadena ISD employees who have either Plan 1 or Plan 2 health-care coverage through the district may opt to receive services at the on-site facility rather than through a family doctor or another provider. Those employees may make an appointment or be seen on a walk-in basis. Covered dependents may also receive services.
Those services will require no co-pay. Nor will there be a charge for the pre-packaged, generic drugs the new clinic's pharmacy will offer.
The clinic will be staffed by a doctor, a physician's assistant, a nurse and a receptionist. Initially, the clinic will be open 40 hours a week, although those hours have not been set. The district hopes to stagger the hours to provide services into the evening on some days and on Saturdays.
Those hours may be expanded later if demand warrants it.
The district will provide the site and pick up staff salary costs. First On-Site will handle the administrative responsibilities.
The district has already submitted plans for the remodeling of a 2,400 square foot area of the Braden Center. Crews will soon begin installing walls, plumbing and other amenities.
"We're seeing many cities and businesses take advantage of the benefits of on-site health-care services," said Jerry Dennis, the Pasadena ISD's human resources director.
"School districts have done it and they swear by it. Because health care costs continue to rise, and considering the changes we had to make in our own medical plan, we thought this was something we should take a look at."
A major goal of the on-site clinic, Dennis said, will be to provide convenient preventive care. Covered employees and dependents will be encouraged to come in for regular physical exams.
"We know that some of our employees don't have a family doctor," Dennis said. "Hopefully, those people will make an appointment and take advantage of the chance to get their blood pressure checked and do all of the little things that can prevent big problems later."
The district plans to set a modest fee structure for employees and dependents not covered under the district health-care plan who would like to access the clinic. A billing plan is being formulated for district employees who are covered under a spouse's health plan.
The clinic is not intended for urgent care or medical emergencies.
"If someone thinks they are having a heart attack or stroke, they should go to the emergency room," Dennis said.
Dennis emphasized that the district will take no role in any treatment issue and will not have access to any medical information.
"We have no rights to any information, nor do we want any," Dennis said.
District officials hope to see at least a 50 percent reduction in health-care expenses paid to conventional providers for each employee who chooses the on-site clinic as an alternative.
District officials are also eager to measure the demand for clinic services.
"If we find that there is a long waiting period to get an appointment, we may need to add more hours," Dennis said. "And after that, we may look at opening another clinic."
Dennis said the district expects to diagnose some initial growing pains.
"We may have issues, but we will work through them as we go," Dennis said. "We are going to do the best we can for our employees."