Feature Story: Is Better Access the Key to Better Health?

BluMine Heath’s on-site services help keep employees healthy

By Dawn Marie Yankeelov

Affordable employer health-care benefits remain on many employees’ wish lists for 2021. On the other side of the coin, employers are looking to save money on health claims and have healthier employees.

An expanding direct primary care (DPC) model by BluMine Health understands just how significant the return on investment can be for both employees and employers.

Louisville-based BluMine Health began operating six years ago as Alternative Health Solutions (AHS), offering companies a health and wellness model through onsite clinics or shared-site care centers. The company was formed with the idea that access is the key to unlocking better numbers for both employees and employers, said Michael Dees, who founded AHS with a group of angel investors in the region.

In January 2019, the company entered into a joint venture with Paducah-based HealthWorks Medical to form BluMine Health. HealthWorks, founded by Dr. J. Kyle Turnbo in 2007, provides a similar DPC health-care model, coupled with wellness, occupational and safety services for employers in clinics in Paducah and Murray. The company also has clinics in Union City, Tenn., and New Orleans.
BluMine, which now has 55 employees, offers primary care under a lead nurse practitioner with personalized service at 11 primary care clinics (eight shared sites and three on-site facilities for clients) in the region thus far, and growth continues with an eye on the contiguous states.
Pegasus Packaging in Shelbyville swears by the BluMine model, especially because there is no added cost to employees. The company has 90 employees in Shelbyville as well as personnel at other locations in the region who also access BluMine services.

“This is a perk. We do offer Humana insurance, but this allows for families to access primary care where they live and work,” said Donna Meador, HR manager and chief healthy-at-work officer for Pegasus.

“It’s also extremely convenient for employment drug screenings, for emergency care (occupational work injury services) or to map out a plan to get into shape for employees,” added Meador, a registered nurse who previously served as vice president of clinical services for Jewish Hospital Shelbyville and as director of quality, patient safety and health professions for the Kentucky Hospital Association.

Focus on convenience

One of the first BluMine clients was the City of Jeffersonville, Ind. Mayor Mike Moore said the program covers 412 employees, and for many BluMine is within walking distance.

“It’s almost like having a small-town doctor’s office at your beck and call,” Moore said. “This kind of care has almost been left behind in our world. It’s the service and the convenience that has been huge for this city.”

Jeffersonville’s main offices are headquartered in an old quartermaster depot, and BluMine has had a primary care center directly behind city hall for five years.

“If you are trying to not only recruit but retain good workers in a competitive workplace, offering this is one of the best kind of perks,” Moore said. “We are definitely using BluMine Health as a tool for quality care.”

Dawn Marie Yankeelov, president of Aspectx, is a freelancer for The Lane Report, Kentucky’s premier business magazine.