City administrator: Council’s decision about shared clinic to be postponed
Reilly blasts Scrima over delay

By Sarah Pryor - Freeman Staff

March 11, 2014

WAUKESHA - City Administrator Ed Henschel said the Common Council would likely have made a decision on a municipal health clinic shared by the city, Waukesha County and the Waukesha School District next week. But now that’s not the case, because city officials want more information about another option from ProHealth Care.

After accepting Requests for Proposal (RFPs) from several companies including ProHealth Care, the county had selected North Carolina-based Healthstat to operate the proposed shared clinic at the former Department of Public Health building adjacent to the Waukesha County Courthouse, 515 W. Moreland Blvd.

The clinic is projected to save about $1.1 million in health care costs for the city over a five-year period.

At the last council meeting, however, the top brass at ProHealth Care presented an alternative “distribution model” to the Common Council and suggested that a proposed shared clinic for employees of Waukesha County, the city of Waukesha and the Waukesha School District would be a bad idea.

“We appeared before the Waukesha Common Council because we were told that city officials were interested in hearing about options beyond an on-site clinic,” said ProHealth Care spokeswoman Sandra Peterson.

Mayor Jeff Scrima asked for ProHealth Care’s presentation to be added to the council agenda.

He said on Monday that the city would be “open-minded and prudent” to fully hear out what ProHealth Care is offering before making any final decisions.

In a recent email to all city employees, Scrima said the county is trying to “force this new government health clinic through, in order to save themselves money on the backs of city and school district employees,” possibly sacrificing quality and employee choice for care.

City Alderwoman and County Board Supervisor Kathleen Cummings has also urged reviewing any ProHealth Care option before making a final decision.


Reilly slams Scrima

Local attorney Shawn Reilly, who is challenging Scrima for the mayoral seat in the April 1 election, slammed Scrima in a Monday press release, calling his role in the process a “last-minute health care hijacking.”

Reilly said Scrima has “once again (thrown) a last-minute monkey wrench into a project the city has worked on for more than a year, risking a guaranteed $1.1 million in city savings.”

Henschel said he had sat down with city, county and school district representatives and gone through the intergovernmental agreement page-by-page, making significant changes. So the agreement would likely have been ready for council review at the next meeting, had the desire for more detail regarding ProHealth Care’s option not arisen. 

Reilly questioned Scrima’s timing, and pointed out that Scrima signed a resolution in July 2013 in support of the further evaluation and development of a shared on-site clinic.

“Why did he wait until the meeting before (an agreement was to be considered) to express those concerns?” said Reilly, who supports the shared clinic. “The county and school district have had the rug pulled out from under their feet. Scrima is creating chaos, confusion and indecision in City Hall.”


Scrima, Henschel weigh in

Asked about the timing, Scrima said he and Henschel had been talking to ProHealth about the proposal for months. He also noted that no decision had been made yet.

“The simple truth is that the city has not decided yet to make our employees use the county’s government health clinic because we ... and our employees who will be directly affected don’t have all the information on the county’s clinic,” Scrima said.

“In addition, ProHleath Care said in their presentation last week ... they clearly offered an alternative solution which would meet or exceed the proposed county clinic savings to the city.”

Henschel said that very statement from ProHealth Care officials made him wary.

“Their credibility, in my mind, at Tuesday night’s council meeting was drawn into question when their CFO said they’d match or exceed any savings the city would get from HealthStat without knowing the numbers at that point,” Henschel said. “That’s not the way the public sector works.”

Henschel was also quick to point out that employee participation in the clinic would be voluntary.

He said it’s not clear when the city will evaluate ProHealth Care’s proposal, because it has not yet received such a proposal.

“We have told city officials that if they wish to explore an agreement for health care services that would be far more comprehensive than a single, one-doctor clinic, we would be happy to have that conversation. We have not provided a specific proposal to the city, and the city has not requested one,” said Peterson.