Via the daily:
BJC Healthcare, the largest St. Louis employer, is preparing to cut health insurance benefits for some of its part-time employees.
According to two part-time nurses with the BJC system, managers and Human Resources representatives recently began informing certain employees that those who do not work at least 24 hours per week will be ineligible for health benefits.
This change of policy could affect thousands of workers at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Christian Hospital and BJC’s other hospitals, outpatient centers and clinics.
Some health systems and hospitals are tightening their benefits, Kopp said, because “the health care industry is under a lot of strain right now.”
“Pressures are being put on the hospitals to cut their costs,” he said. “The Affordable Care Act is not just about the public paying more to get health care coverage. Hospitals are getting cuts too. They are struggling to remain viable.”
Federal and state cuts “are requiring hospitals to change the way they deliver care,” he said, “to make it more efficient and more effective and to reduce overutilization and unnecessary care.”
Sebelius and HHS will determine what is or is not “unnecessary care.”
Earlier this year, BJC laid off about 160 employees. Steve Lipstein, the health system’s chief executive, said that those cuts were needed in part because of the Affordable Care Act’s reduced federal and state reimbursements for services rendered to Medicare and Medicaid patients.
Obama promised during the campaign that reimbursement rates would not be cut, a promise already broken.