District 15 health clinic concept moves forward

St. Francis School District 15’s plans for a medical clinic at the high school is no longer in limbo.

At its April 2 meeting, the St. Francis City Council voted 3-2 to accept the concept for a clinic at St. Francis High School and have the conditional use permit (CUP) and the zoning ordinance amendment brought back to the council for action.

Councilmember Jeff Sandoval and Tim Brown voted no.

This is the third time the district has requested the CUP and the ordinance amendment.

In the past, council members have voiced concerns on how the clinic would impact existing businesses in the city, having a business use in a residential use zoning district and having a for-profit business at a tax-exempt location.

After doing the research, Councilmember Chris McClish said he does not have any issues with the clinic.

The district is trying to cut costs, he said.

Councilmember Steve Kane said he talked to the Fairview chief executive office (CEO) of the St. Francis clinic before making his decision.

The CEO is okay with this and does not think it will impact business and Goodrich Pharmacy will be dispensing the prescriptions, he said.

This clinic is only being offered to a select group of individuals, said Sandoval.

It is not being offered to the part-time employees of the district and if it is not going to be offered to all the district employees, “I am not comfortable with this,” he said.

Other school districts with similar clinics have offered it to students as well as employees, Sandoval said.

“I don’t see the benefit unless it will benefit the whole and not a select few,” he said.

As to whether the clinic would be a for-profit clinic, it is considered a professional contract, according to Tom Larson, district community education and services custodial/maintenance director.

The district will own the equipment and supplies and will contract for the services of the doctor and nurse, he said.

By having the clinic, the district could save nearly $1 million in medical costs over the next three years, Larson said.

While the district has temporarily opened the clinic at Sandhill Center for the Arts in Bethel, it wants to move it to the high school.

The clinic would have a separate entrance and parking at the high school, something not offered at Sandhill, Larson said.

It would also place the clinic where 70 percent of district staff live, he said.

Similar clinics are offered by the Farmington, Robbinsdale and Brooklyn Center school districts.

Tammy Sakry is at [email protected]