Alabama county votes to terminate, then extend, contract with MDLive: 4 things to know

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The Morgan County Commission in Alabama unanimously voted to reverse its decision on whether to provide telehealth services to county employees during a budget hearing Aug. 9, the Decatur Daily reports.

Here are four things to know about the decision.

1. The Morgan County Commission voted to terminate its contract with MDLive, a Sunrise, Fla.-based telemedicine provider, July 27. The roughly $14,000 annual contract suffered from poor participation this past year, with Ray Long, the commission's chairman, noting only about 15 of the county's 390 employees used the service.

2. Randy Vest, commissioner of District 2, argued to extend the contract as a way to address rising healthcare costs. He said lack of participation resulted from employees not understanding the telehealth service.

"I think that really could be a great tool to help offset some of the costs if we could just get some of our employees to utilize it, and think maybe education is where we failed," he said, according to the Decatur Daily.

3. At the Aug. 9 budget hearing, the commission voted to extend the telehealth contract for one more year. Mr. Long said the commission would host mandatory meetings for its employees to educate them on how to use the service.

4. Morgan County is slated to complete fiscal year 2017 roughly $880,000 over its healthcare budget, the report states. Outside of telehealth, other suggestions to cut costs have included contracting a free clinic for employees. However, this service would cost the county about $300,000.

"We've got to look for a way to scale back our healthcare costs or we're going to be hurting," Mr. Long said, according to the Decatur Daily.

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