MACOMB — In a special meeting Friday, the McDonough District Hospital Board of Directors was told there is a need to change MDH's employee health insurance carrier from Blue Cross/Blue Shield to United Healthcare. President and CEO Brian Dietz said the decision was caused by a Blue Cross decision to no longer insure the patients of Springfield Clinic, who would be cast out of network, causing higher fees.
"Springfield Clinic is the foundation of our primary care," Dietz said in reference to the Macomb branch, formerly known as Family Practice Associates. Chief Employee Benefits Officer Bill Corbin said every MDH employee would be assigned a health reimbursement account to cover any costs in changing insurance carriers.
"It's not a great time to be doing this," Corbin told the board, "but we really have no choice."
He expressed the desire that Blue Cross and Springfield Clinic could eventually settle their differences. If that happens, Corbin said, MDH would be glad to sign up again with Blue Cross/Blue Shield. MDH is scheduled to sign with United Healthcare on Monday.
Dietz said the MDH decision might help convince Blue Cross that Springfield Clinc has a significant patient base in the McDonough County region.
The hospital president also provided an update to the board on the status of hospital employee COVID-19 vaccinations. Dietz said there are now only 30 to 33 employees unvaccinated. He said 87 percent of MDH staff immediately agreed to be vaccinated.
"Most of our unvaccinated people do not work in hands-on nursing," Dietz said. "Those that do are heavily covered by protective equipment and are tested weekly." He said many of the unvaccinated staff members work in areas such as registration and billing, where there is little public contact. Corbin said some staff members have submitted religious exemption requests.
Dietz noted that 89 percent of COVID-19 patients admitted to MDH have been unvaccinated.