Pecos Offers Employees Unusual Dental Option

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

PECOS - A trip to the dentist may mean a trip across the border for Pecos employees. The city has come up with a unique plan to provide dental care that won't put a big dent in their budget.

It's been a year of budget-slashing for Pecos leaders.

"We're like a lot of small towns in West Texas, we're all crunched on our budgets, we're cutting or budgets, unable to provide a lot of services we would like to our citizens," Pecos Mayor Richard Alligood, said.

They say healthcare is the most expensive item on their budget, and when the City Administrator recommended expanding dental services to outside the U.S., the council jumped on board.

"That money would come back into the general fund where we can look at it and say, we need to use this for a certain program," Mayor Alligood said.

Pecos leaders say by traveling to Mexico, they can save more than half the cost of care in the U.S. plus, they can get appointments faster.

"If you're self-insured and have to emit that on an annual basis to 115 employees, that can get rather large," Mayor Alligood said.

Another reason they're allowing employees to go outside the area for care, is that there is only one dentist in town - and they say his office stays packed. NewsWest 9 spoke with several other city employees. They say traveling to Mexico for care is an option they plan to take advantage of.

"The things we've heard as far as being able to get out on the weekends to see the doctor, it's something that is beneficial to people who can't go out in the week," Pecos Utilities Supervisor, Syndi Hernandez, said.

Their biggest concern was taking business away from the community. At this point, the council will review the new policy by mid-term of this year and evaluate how much they saved.

"I thought it was a good option and if it's going to save the city money, I'm all for it," Hernandez said.