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Newport to Join Covington, Kenton Employee Clinic, Eliminates 911 Landline Fee

The Newport City Commission voted unanimously Monday night to join the City of Covington and Kenton County in participating in the CareHere CTK Health & Wellness Facility.

That clinic opened in May and provides the government workers and their families with primary care services, a pharmacy, and occupational health services.

The County and Covington joined the program to save money on health care costs, a point that a representative of CareHere, which operates the clinic, made to Newport's leaders on Tuesday. The city commission was told that it could save approximately $425,000 over the next four years by participating.

The facility is located inside the Kenton County Building in Downtown Covington. "It's good to be saying Newport doesn't have a health care crisis as many areas do," the representative told the commission. "You've taken good, appropriate action in the past to maintain inflation at a very low rate for the City of Newport."

The company as spent that past two years working with private entities that sponsor doctor's offices and build health & wellness offices. "Their motivation is cutting health care costs," the representative said.

A facility is also being created in Florence for city employees there and while, depending on future partners, one may be built in Campbell County, Newport employees will go to Covington if they choose to be a part of the plan.

"Your employees will be able to go this facility for zero office co-pay," the rep said. "It benefits us when employees go here instead of going out somewhere in the community." 

The Cities of Covington and Florence paid to build out the facilities and so they need partners to join in to cover those costs. As for the employees taking advantage of the services, "Both Covington and Kenton County are meeting target projections of users and savings projections," the rep said.

The City also approved an agreement with Custom Design Benefits to act as the city's third party administrator of health and dental insurance needs.

Other notes from the Newport City Commission Meeting:

  • The city commission approved the elimination of landline fees for 911 services. The monthly fee had been $3 but because Newport and Campbell County share a dispatch center and the county recently approved a $45 annual fee on property owners to fund the center, the city had to move to be in line with the change. "It's not too difficult to see in foreseeable future that landlines are gone like the horse and buggy sold at antique shops in the near future I'm sure," City Manager Tom Fromme joked.
  • Property assessment moratoriums were granted for properties at 624 Park Avenue, 719 Monroe Street, 568 East Fourth Street, and 111 East Tenth Street. These are properties that will soon be renovated by their owners and the moratorium will allow them to be taxed at their current value for five years instead of at the increased post-renovation value. "It's been a good program," Fromme said. "I do believe it encourages rehabs in the City of Newport." One of the owners, Richard Sims, has renovated nearly sixty properties, Mayor Jerry Peluso said.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News