TMH approves changes to health insurance |

TMH approves changes to health insurance

Employees at The Memorial Hospital who are covered under its self-insured health-care plan will be asked to pay for more services effective Jan. 1, according to a unanimous decision Tuesday night by TMH board members.

The changes will affect 110 hospital employees covered under the plan, but hospital officials said the move was necessary to recoup health-care costs that were heading toward $1 million a year.

“With the plan right now we’re having to pay out more money than we’ve budgeted,” TMH board member Melton Sullivan said. “Employees who don’t use the plan too much will be the least impacted. Obviously, the ones that use it the most will be the most impacted. What this plan really does is ask that employees do as much as they can in our facility.”

Employees currently are covered under a plan that pays 80 percent of health care costs after paying a deductible. They are offered a 10 percent discount for having services done at TMH. Specifics of the new plan will be outlined to hospital employees in upcoming meetings, hospital officials said.

Health care professionals generally use health care insurance more than other segments of the population, said Alice Rigney, director of human resources. That, coupled with some catastrophic claims in 2004, has forced the hospital to increase its insurance budget by 20 percent, she said.

“It is kind of ironic that a health care facility is having trouble paying for its (insurance) costs,” Rigney said. “Anytime you change employees’ benefits they can get upset, but we’re just putting our plan in line with everyone else’s.”

TMH has 175 employees and 135 are eligible to enroll in its health-care insurance. Employee plans run through April 1.

In other business, board members:

n Approved a grant contract and hospital match of $35,000 for a bone densitometry machine.

n Approved a holiday bonus for TMH employees.

n Approved a 5 percent budget increase in spending.

n Approved Dr. Michael Crane from provisional to active staff; Dr. James Summers from provisional to associate staff; and Dr. Michael Janssen from provisional staff privileges to Class 3 Orthopedics.

n Accepted an Administrative Compensation Plan with variable terms. The plan would compensate hospital Administrator Randy Phelps according to a set of board-approved objectives, evaluations, and a market survey of comparable chief executive officer pay and up to a 10 percent bonus for exceeding expectations.

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or

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