OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Many Ocean Springs School District employees now have access to health care with no appointments needed, no long waits, and no copay. Wednesday, district leaders gathered for the grand opening of the district's new Primary Care Clinic.
Grant Dickinson was among the clinic's first patients. He was walking along a nature trail over the weekend when his left toe hit a tree root.
"Lost a toenail, scraped it up pretty bad," said Dickinson.
As the director of student services for Ocean Springs schools, he went to the district's new Primary Care Clinic. He said the move took the sting out of high medical bills.
"Got everything taken care of. It's a huge benefit of not going into the emergency room and spending a small fortune," said Dickinson. "In years past, I've spent at least $75 to $100 just to see the doctor. Another $50 to $60 in prescription fees. It almost kept me from going to the doctor until it was the last resort."
The school district hired Medical Analysis for $90,000 this year to operate the clinic next to Ocean Springs Hospital. The clinic opened when school started two weeks ago.
"I think it's a momentous day. It's groundbreaking day," said Ocean Springs School Board Member Dr. Lena Melton.
District employees and their dependents who are covered under the state's health insurance plan can come in to see a nurse practitioner at little or no cost.
"We're trying to make sure we're providing those opportunities to our teachers to stay healthy and to stay with us," said Superintendent Dr. Bonita Coleman.
The clinic offers other free services like physicals, screenings, diabetes and stress management programs, and flu shots.
"It's convenient, accessible health care at the right price," said Todd Garlington, Medical Analysis Business Development Vice President.
The less time teachers spend in the exam rooms means they can quickly return to the classroom.
"Our goal is to get them in and out the door in 30 minutes," said Coleman.
"Great care, easy, cheap. It's awesome," said Dickinson.
The clinic is located on Bienville Blvd. It is open during regular business hours.
There is a copay for district employees not under the state's insurance plan. Several other coast school districts have similar clinics, including Biloxi, Gulfport, and Harrison County.