Lewis Hospital Eyes Change In Pensions


Story Updated: Nov 12, 2012

The latest cost cutting at Lewis County General Hospital is taking place right at the top.

The hospital's administrative team is offering to opt out of the state retirement system, which could save the hospital $100,000 a year.

"The pension has been an anvil here and any relief we can provide, we certainly need to look at that," said hospital chief operating officer Eric Burch.

The plan would remove the eight from the county's employment and have them form a private company, which would then contract with the hospital.

Administrators who were 'vested' in the state's retirement system wouldn't lose what they've accumulated - they simply wouldn't continue to add to it.

The private company would provide its own retirement plan.

The move would not apply to other hospital workers. said Burch.

"I think this is a measure we're taking to try to avoid that," he said.

The state comptroller's office and the Department of Health would have to approve the switch.

Separately, the hospital has a new plan in place for providing emeregency room care.

The hospital is contracting with a national group to manage its emergency room, but the local emergency room staff is likely to stay.

"They're working right now with the existing group that has basically expressed an interest in working with N.E.S. (the new group) to go in under them as a subcontractor," Burch said.

The hospital's continuing financial problems have forced officials to bring in outside consultants and consider measures like changing how the hospital is governed.


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