GOUVERNEUR E.J. Noble Hospital will temporarily provide prescription coverage for employees through its own pharmacy after severing ties with its insurer.
Id call it a mutual parting of the ways, hospital Administrator Charles P. Conole said. Weve been paying our bills, but they want the money almost upfront. We want to make an assessment to see if we can handle it internally.
Hospital employees received a letter Wednesday telling them that the hospitals coverage through Benecard was suspended temporarily but that employees could receive prescriptions through the hospital.
The most E.J. Noble owed Benecard at one time was $20,000, and always keeping current was difficult with the state of the economy, Mr. Conole said.
I just paid them $6,000 last week, he said.
The switch to the hospital pharmacy also will allow administrators to examine use patterns to ensure that employees are not taking advantage of their accessibility to doctors, Mr. Conole said.
He said he wanted to see if the hospital pharmacy, which is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, could handle all employee prescriptions, as is done at some larger medical centers.
All prescriptions can be filled through the hospital pharmacy.
If not, well work out a compromise, Mr. Conole said. Well see how it works. This will give us a chance to regroup and see how we want to handle it in the future.
Service Employees International Union Local 1199, which represents more than 100 employees at the hospital, is aware of the situation.
The switch should not be a problem as long as union members receive whatever they need at the same price they have been paying, said Kathy M. Tucker, union vice president.
I told the union rep to keep an eye on it, but I havent heard of any problems yet, she said.