Franklin Community Schools could save $1 million with hospital partnership

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FRANKLIN, Ind. (Dec. 16, 2015) - Franklin Community Schools stand to save roughly $1 million in payroll and other costs associated with health care as part of a new deal with Johnson Memorial Health.

The Franklin Community School board unanimously approved the five-year contract, in which Johnson Memorial will become the official health care provider for the district. Under the deal, J.H.M will train and pay all school nurses in clinics and athletic trainers for sports teams.

“So we’re getting state of the art training for concussions and different things to help our student athletes as well,” said Franklin Schools Superintendent Dr. David Clendening. “So our students win and I do believe our community wins with this partnership.”

With the nurses and trainers no longer on the Franklin Schools payroll, the district stands to save roughly $200,000 per year.

“Estimating over a million dollars over the five year period in payroll costs and other expenses,” Clendening said.

The contract is retroactive to August 1, 2015, but the nurse transition did not take place in time for that date. Johnson Memorial Health CEO Larry Heydon said the health network will pay the district $200,000 to reimburse the cost of paying for nurses during the current school year. Starting next school year, nurses and trainers will be wearing JMH name badges, and they will be on the health network’s payroll.

Heydon said the deal is a chance to extend Johnson Memorial’s role in benefiting the Franklin Community. It also provides a marketing opportunity as students and parents begin seeing more hospital logos around schools and school activities.

“We obviously want to create greater access for our services,” Heydon said. “And this allows us to have better access to promote our brand, our name in the school environment.”

Heydon and Clendening said the deal could also include some new classroom opportunities. Students who are interested in the medical field could take part in a sort of “medical boot camp,” spending time in Johnson Memorial’s emergency room to see what it’s really like. Clendending said students could also have opportunities to study the business side of the medical field.

It’s not yet clear where the saved $200,000 will be redirected each year. Clendening said it could be used to pay for a new public relations position being created for the district. Discussions about which programs could receive the rest of the money are ongoing.

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