Hartford city hall opens health clinic

Across the country, health care providers, insurers, employers and politicians say they are trying to make it easier to be healthy. It’s even one of the cornerstones of the controversial Affordable Care Act, in which preventative care comes at no extra cost to the patient.

Now, Hartford City Hall is joining in — with a 1,000 square foot clinic paid for and operated by St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center. There will be a nurse there during working hours five days a week to help city and state employees, and their families, who aren’t feeling well.

“What we’re trying to accomplish, I think, first of all, is to make sure that our employees are healthy, that we provide resources so that they can learn how to meet any health challenges that they may have, but also to acquire the knowledge that they need,” Mayor Pedro Segarra said.

But it’s also a way to save money.

“We had a call yesterday from a department, and it was something minor, a bug bite, and they were referring her to the ER,” said Rich Pokorski, a city benefits manager. “And an ER cost for the City of Hartford averages around $1,100, $1,200 a visit. Whereas if the visit was here at our walk-in clinic, it’s a fraction of that cost.”

The clinic officially opened two weeks ago.