PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Huntington Ingalls Industries has as a big plan in the works for 2015, but it has nothing to do with building ships. By July 1, 2015, Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, along with its sister shipyard in Newport News, VA, will establish family health care centers.
Each 10,000 to 15,000 square foot center will provide staffs of 20 people including physicians, nurses, pharmacy workers, laboratory technicians and wellness coaches, all under one roof. Services initially will be available to salaried employees and their dependents, affecting between 8,000 to 9,000 people. Ingalls employs about 11,000, and Newport News about 22,000.
Each center will be run by a third party health care provider, which has not yet been named. Ingalls officials say the centers will be optional and will not affect the current health care coverage provided.
Officials also say that this is a long term investment and will mean healthier employees and a better business climate.
Bill Ermatinger, Chief Human Resources Officer with Huntington Ingalls Industries, said disease prevention will contribute to long term cost savings.
"What it means for both of us is that we're making an investment in each other. HII has decided that we're going to make an investment with our employees as it relates to health care. In return, we're hoping that our employees are making an investment in themselves," said Ermatinger.
By the time the doors open at this health care center in July, it will have been more than two years in the making, but transformations like this take time.
The process is so new, many employees have not yet heard of the plans. Ingalls officials have not yet chosen a site. They have also not released the cost to build the centers, nor the name of the third party health care provider.
Officials say the end result will be better health care access to help people live healthier.
"Having an on-site health center, this is something that is going to make it easier for them to get more engaged," said Ermatinger.