GREENBURGH, NY, July 26, 2010 — Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner today divulged that hundreds of Westchester County employees were being denied medical care because of a breakdown in negotiations between Empire Blue Cross / Blue Shield and Stellaris Health Networks. Supervisor Feiner points out that employees and local government are paying for insurance so they can access Lawrence Hospital Center, Northern Westchester Hospital, Phelps Memorial, and White Plains Hospital but are denied because of a contractual dispute. Supervisor Feiner is seeking an immediate meeting with Empire Blue Cross / Blue shield President Mark Wagar, among local officials to discuss the breakdown in negotiations between Empire Blue Cross / Blue Shield and Stellaris Health Network. Greenburgh town employees and retirees (as well as employees and retirees who work or worked for other localities in Westchester) are being denied health care services from Lawrence Hospital Center, Northern Westchester Hospital, Phelps Memorial and White Plains Hospital because of the contract dispute. Employees can’t get the surgeries they paid for at the hospitals of their choice even though the Town of Greenburgh, among other municipalities, are paying for the insurance. Mr Feiner hopes to host a meeting with other mayors / town supervisors / municipal officials and hopes that pressure from elected officials will lead to the conclusion of negotiations and the resumption of service.
From: Paul Feiner
Sent: Monday, July 26, 2010 8:48 AM
Subject: Can we meet to discuss negotiations between Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield and Stellaris Health Network
Mark Wagar, President & CEO
Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield
One Liberty Plaza
New York, NY 10006
Dear Mr. Wagar,
I am writing to express my concern that negotiations between Empire BlueCross BlueShield and Stellaris Health Network have not reached a successful conclusion. It is not acceptable to the town of Greenburgh that our employees do not have access to the four (4) hospitals that comprise the Stellaris Health Network.
The provider network that we originally bought from Empire BlueCross BlueShield is not the network of providers that we can now access. The exclusion of Lawrence Hospital Center, Northern Westchester Hospital, Phelps Memorial Hospital Center, and White Plains Hospital Center, severely restricts the choice of hospitals where our employees can seek their medical care. Representatives from a majority of the towns and municipalities throughout Westchester County recently hosted a meeting with representatives from Stellaris and the network’s hospitals. Those in attendance now have a better understanding of the issues that challenge the hospitals and why they cannot accept inadequate rates of reimbursement. It is unfortunate that Stellaris is not sure that your organizations will ever reach an agreement. There is no doubt in any of our minds that it would be better for our employees, and for that matter, all of the residents of Westchester County if the Stellaris Health Network Hospitals were participating provider with Empire BlueCross Blue Shield.
In the meantime, however, there continues to be limited access to high quality hospitals in the area. Therefore, I request that you make yourself available for an in-person meeting to further discuss the situation and the impact on the town of Greenburgh. I would be pleased to arrange meetings with the other Town Supervisors and Mayors who currently offer employees Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield. Please contact my office at 914-993-1540 to arrange a time to meet.
Greenburgh Town Supervisor