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VOL. 36 | NO. 20 | Friday, May 18, 2012




Tenn. firm wins state employee clinic contract

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HELENA, Mont. (AP) - The Schweitzer administration has chosen a Tennessee firm to set up and run a health clinic for state employees in Helena.

CareHere of Brentwood, Tenn., won the contract, edging out MiCare of Montana, Lee Newspapers of Montana reported. State officials said the contract will be signed after details are worked out.

Officials with the state and CareHere said they intend to open the clinic by the end of August.

CareHere President Ernie Clevenger said it was an honor to win the contract. CareHere has more than 110 clinics in 18 states, Clevenger said.

CareHere partnered with EBMS, a Billings-based benefits management company, to set up on-site medical clinics in Billings and Laurel. CareHere still manages the electronic records for those clinics. EBMS, Western Montana Clinic in Missoula and a benefits consulting firm in Helena collaborated for the MiCare bid.

Missoula physician and MiCare spokesman Tom Roberts sa id the Montana partnership planned to file a formal response on Monday.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer has said the proposed clinic will offer primary health care for 11,000 state employees and their dependents in Helena. The administration says the clinic will save money and help improve employee health because physicians will be paid a salary and the clinic will help manage chronic diseases and offer wellness programs.

Republican legislative leaders have criticized the clinic proposal, arguing it should not go forward without legislative approval. The Legislature does not meet until January, when Schweitzer will be out of office.

Schweitzer, a Democrat, said legislative approval isn't required because setting up the clinic is part of the administration of the state employee health plan.

Clevenger said CareHere plans to start recruiting physicians and other medical personnel as soon as possible, and will then begin looking for a site.

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