DOZENS OF GREENE COUNTY HEALTH SYSTEM WORKERS LOSING HEALTH, WELFARE BENEFITS
Around 50 employees enrolled in a union agreement with the Greene County Health System are losing their health and welfare benefits because their employer did not make proper contributions to the health fund.
According to a letter sent out to employees by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, their benefits have been rescinded because the Greene County Health System “failed to make timely employer contributions to the fund pursuant to its collective bargaining agreement.”
GCHS Board Chairman John Zippert said it’s true, and the struggle to keep the system up and running has been no secret. Those payments were late, Zippert said, but now they’re all caught up.
But that doesn’t change the union’s mind about terminating coverage for the 40 to 50 GCHS employees who were getting those benefits.
Zippert said there are three options the board is exploring so they can resolve the issue before the end of the month. They are:
- Reaching a new agreement with the union so they can maintain coverage for those employees
- Those employees may pay more money to fall under the hospital’s insurance policy
- Workers would seek coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplace
“We are trying to come up with alternatives and options for (those workers) to have insurance,” Zippert said. “We embrace our employees and we hope they embrace us.”
Some GCHS employees losing their benefits spoke with WVUA 23 on the condition of anonymity because they feared repercussions for speaking out, saying the coverage loss is devastating to them and their families. Many of them have pre-existing health conditions and said they’re unsure what they’ll do if their employer can’t keep their insurance.
But Zippert said these employees won’t be the only ones impacted if the health system is forced to close because it can’t make its ends meet.
“Around 150 people get a paycheck from Greene County Health System,” he said. “We want to keep it open so we can keep paying them. That is part of our goal. It’s not our entire goal. Our first goal is to provide quality health care, and we know we need satisfied and dedicated employees to do that.”