Mayor, employees at odds over free clinic proposal - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mayor, employees at odds over free clinic proposal

The city made the announcement at Tuesday's city council meeting, catching union leaders by surprise. (Source: WMC Action News 5) The city made the announcement at Tuesday's city council meeting, catching union leaders by surprise. (Source: WMC Action News 5)
"I dismissed it," said retired police officer Scott Reed. "It's not going to aid any of us." (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) "I dismissed it," said retired police officer Scott Reed. "It's not going to aid any of us." (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)

(WMC) - More details are starting to unfold about the city's wellness clinic set to open October 1, 2014.

The city says all employees, retirees, and their dependents will be able to get free health care at the clinic, which will be located at 1803 Union Avenue near the corner of Union and McLean Boulevard.

The city made the announcement at Tuesday's city council meeting, catching union leaders by surprise. It comes while the city faces backlash to the cuts it made to health insurance benefits for city employees and retirees.

"I dismissed it," said retired police officer Scott Reed. "It's not going to aid any of us."

Reed says the clinic is smoke and mirrors, a diversion from the real issue. He spent 27 years on the police force before retiring in April.

"I'm currently on about four or five medications for high blood pressure and injuries that I sustained throughout my 27 year career that without it, I can't get out of bed in the morning," he explained.

Mayor A C Wharton says the clinic is not smoke and mirrors but part of a real solution. He says the contract with Cigna and Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare saves the city money and perhaps keeps fewer people from going to the emergency room, saving those people money, too.

"We're having great difficulty in cutting through the emotions on this. It's just hard to get through that," Wharton said on Wednesday. "If you are covered, you show up at this clinic and because of your status as a retiree here is your health care. You're gonna say what about co-pays. Hey, they are waived. Free drugs. Free shots. If you have children that need allergy shots, they still get that."

The clinic will open October 1 to a clientele that is skeptical at best.

"This wellness clinic is a joke. We need our insurance," said Reed. "The retirees, especially the ones in their 60s, 70s, and 80s, they don't need a wellness clinic. They need a doctor."

The mayor also addressed the proposed half-cent sales tax increase. He says the best thing may just be to let the voters decide on that one.

Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.
Powered by Frankly