2011-03-18 / Top Stories

PHC Health Benefits Saved Again

Employees Will Change Plans
By Howard Schwach

For the second time in just four months, health benefits for the staff at Peninsula Hospital Center were saved just before employee benefits for 800 workers were set to expire.

Just before midnight on March 14, officials at MediSys, the healthcare conglomerate that sponsors the local hospital and Local 1199, the union that represents its workers, made a deal that moves all of the employees to a new health care plan – Blue Cross, Blue Shield – from the union plan.

“We have been working with the union to come up with this plan,” said Olie Pedersen, a spokesperson for MediSys. “All of the staff will move to the executive, non-union plan that presently is in place at Jamaica Hospital. In effect, they will become a subgroup under the Jamaica [Hospital] plan. They will all keep their benefits.”

In a statement prepared for The Wave, Michael Hink, another MediSys spokesperson, wrote:

“A temporary resolution has been put into place that will allow for a continuation of medical benefits to the hundreds of 1199 employees at Peninsula Hospital and their families. Effective as of Wednesday, March 16, Peninsula Hospital union members will be required to move their benefits to another insurance provider. Employees will receive the same plan that is currently offered to executive and other non-union employees at Jamaica Hospital and other MediSys entities.

“The transfer of coverage being put into place for union employees will assure a continuation of coverage with no disruption of benefits and was only done after every other attempt to reach an agreement was exhausted.”

The first deadline impacting PHC workers came in November of 2010, when the hospital struck a deal with the health care workers union to save their nearly 800 employees from losing the union-supplied health care coverage.

At that point, the hospital, located at Beach Channel Drive and Beach 51 Street, reportedly owed the union back payments to cover employees under the union’s healthcare plan. Estimates were that the hospital owed the union several millions of dollars.

That deal fell apart earlier this year when the hospital did not make the required payments.

Pedersen said that the transfer to another plan would allow MediSys to take care of its obligations with the union plan.

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