Published: May 05, 2010 12:04 AM EDT

It's your money, and Charlotte County Public Schools employees are trading doctors' visits for in-house clinic visits. Officials say it's not only saving time, it's also saving money.

What used to be unused labs and classrooms at the Technical School in Murdock are now a health clinic.  And for public school employees, seeing the doctor can be as simple as stopping by on your lunch break.

"You call, you get an appointment right away, I think it's just wonderful," said employee Cheryl Charles.

The clinic recently opened. Employees can stop in and - for free - get just about anything they'd see their primary care doctor for.

"We can draw blood, we can do minor surgery, we can do pap smears, we can dispense many of their medications," Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner Darren Blakeslee said.

The clinic is being widely used by many of the district's 2,400 employees. But there was some initial resistance. Some worried about "big brother" watching over their shoulders, however all health information is confidential. It costs $600,000 in taxpayer money a year to operate, but the district says that money will come back.

"Those claims will not go into our insurance claims so that is where we see that will help us in the long run," Manager of Human Resources and Employee Benefits Carrie Klum said.

The savings could lower premiums, which means less money paid for insurance. The clinic is not meant to replace the family doctor, just to make life a little better. This has become so popular there's talk of adding x-rays and opening clinics in Englewood and Punta Gorda within a year.