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Rockford Looks To Open Wellness Center For City Employees

Although it is vacant right now, the Fran Kral building could be transformed into a healthcare clinic and wellness center for city employees by the summer of 2014.
ROCKFORD- Although it is vacant right now, the Fran Kral building could be transformed into a healthcare clinic and wellness center for city employees by the summer of 2014.

Julia Scott-Valdez, the city of Rockford administrator said the project has been in the works for years. “we have been researching bringing a wellness center to our employees for 2 years, and have done a lot of research on the potential healthcare vendor”

The city currently spends around $18 million annually on health care costs for their employees, and the clinic would drastically cut those costs. “because our tax payers pay for our health insurance, we had to find some ways to help manage costs, and this wellness center should do that for us. Said Scott- Valdez.

The city wellness employees searched Rockford to find the best location they could for the potential wellness center. The wellness committee visited seven potential locations around Rockford. The Fran Kral building in downtown was eventually chosen. The city bought the Kral building after it closed back in 2012, and was going to use it for
geo-policing, but they now think the building would be better used as a wellness center.

The City of Rockford said the Fran Kral renovations will cost $256,000, and the money will be taken from the city health care fund.  Larry Morrissey, the Mayor of the City of Rockford said “we were in the red several million dollars, and now we have a reserve, we will utilize some of that reserve to build a clinic because we spend over $15 million every year, and it is in our interest to improve our bottom line financially, and to improve the health of our employees.”

The City of Rockford said the cut backs on insurance and health costs will leave more money for other projects.  “every penny we save, helps save the general fund, and if we can help the general fund, that means perhaps we can look at hiring more police officers, putting more street lights in, putting in some of the programs that our citizens want.” Said Scott-Valdez.

If the council approves of the Fran Kral location, Scott-Valdez said the city will work to expand the services for residents as well. “the mayors goal is to eventually build up a concept of our center into something that would also be community based”

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