Wednesday, July 16, 2008

News From The Health Front

Looking for that Bridge to the 21st Century (via Wicked Thoughts):
In what hospital officials say is a financial decision but union members chalk up to spite, St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital has stopped accepting its own employees’ health insurance.

The hospital stopped taking SEIU 1199’s National Benefit Fund health insurance just before the hospital’s 800 or so service and tech employees were scheduled to switch to it, even though the change had been negotiated into the 2004 contract, union officials said.

“It’s insulting to work at a hospital you can’t get sick in,” said environmental services associate Brandon Weygant.

Many of the workers have had to find new doctors, since their previous physicians are affiliated with St. Luke’s and would not be able to treat them in the hospital, union members said.

“It was a 10 to 15 minute ride to the hospital. Now it’s 45 minutes,” said inventory control worker David Principato. “That could be somebody’s life.”

Hospital officials said spite has nothing to do with it.

The hospital stopped accepting the plan, accessed through Group Health Inc., because payments are chronically late and service is poor, said hospital spokesperson Judi Stokes.

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