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Memo summarizes hospital situation

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 16 - January 15, 1998

(Editor's note: The following memorandum regarding health-insurance arrangements with local hospitals was provided December 22 by Linda Woodard, director of Personnel Services.)
Subject: Health Benefits Update--Trigon Care Network for Columbia Hospitals in Roanoke and the New River Valley
You may have heard media reports last week about possible changes in the university's health-insurance arrangement with local hospitals. Trigon, which manages the state's network for Key Advantage and Cost Alliance plans, and Montgomery Regional Hospital, Pulaski Community Hospital, and Lewis-Gale Medical Center have been unable to successfully negotiate contracts. We do not know the details, but do know that Trigon is currently stating that they will no longer include these hospitals in its network of preferred-provider hospitals effective June 30, 1998. A preferred-provider hospital is one which participates in the Trigon network, enabling enrolled employees to benefit from reduced costs for services.
We realize that employees have concerns about their immediate and longer-term access to services from these hospitals. The announced changes will not affect university employees enrolled in Key Advantage or Cost Alliance health-care plans until June 30, 1998. Employees will continue to have the same access until June 30 to the three hospitals without penalty as their current health-care plan provides.
After June 30, if the above contract changes are confirmed and no other options are provided, employees could continue to use the services of the three (above-mentioned) Columbia hospitals, but with the employee being responsible for the additional costs. The regular open enrollment for health-care plans will occur during April 1998, and at that time employees can evaluate their health-care options.
University employees in the Roanoke and New River Valley communities are currently enrolled in one of the following plans. Only Key Advantage and Cost Alliance are affected by the changes in the Trigon contracts; Healthkeepers and Southern Health are not affected. Key Advantage and Cost Alliance are state-wide plans administered by Trigon. Healthkeepers is a health-maintenance organization offered in four regions in the state including Roanoke and the New River Valley which includes Carilion hospitals. Southern Health is a health-maintenance organization offered in Roanoke and the New River Valley which includes Columbia hospitals.
Eight Carilion facilities will still be under contract as preferred providers for these communities. The hospitals are: Roanoke Memorial Hospital, Roanoke Community Hospital, Bedford Memorial Hospital, Franklin Memorial Hospital, Giles Memorial Hospital, Radford Community Hospital, St. Alban's Hospital, and Mount Regis Center.
Please know that the university will continue to focus on this very important issue and will do everything possible to ensure that our employees have accessible health care. We will provide more information to our employees after the first of the year.