Local 20 Bargaining Update – March 27, 2024

Negotiations reconvened between WHHS and Local 20 for a new 3-year Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) on March 27, 2024.  During that bargaining session, WHHS made a comprehensive economic counter proposal, which included, in particular:

  • A counter proposal on across the board (“ATB”) wage increases as follows: 4.5% retroactive to 2/1/24, 4% on 2/1/25, and 3.5% on 2/1/26.
  • WHHS’s ATB wage proposal amounts to a total increase of 12% over the life of a 3-year MOU.
  • Addition of up to $400 annually as reimbursement for a unit member to obtain or renew a preferred specialty or advance certification that exceeds the minimum requirements of the unit member’s job classification.
  • Adjustment to the years of service for advancement among the steps in the Appendix B – Pharmacy wage scale.

WHHS also offered to consider making equity wage adjustments for the following job classifications if it identifies them as being below the midmarket range even with the ATBs: Clinical Dietitians, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Language Pathologists, and/or Clinical Laboratory Scientists.

In addition, WHHS made a counter proposal on the terms of a new Appendix F to the MOU for the Utilization Review Coordinators, Portal of Entry Coordinators, and Denials and Appeals Coordinators who recently voted to join Local 20, including a proposal to classify such employees as non-exempt and move them to an hourly, straight-time base rate of pay on a wage scale consistent with the current scale for Case Managers.

Finally, WHHS provided additional counter proposals aimed at making movement on the Employment Categories and Earned Time Off sections of the MOU.

WHHS and Local 20 are scheduled to meet again on April 10, April 18, and April 22. WHHS values our dedicated Local 20 staff and remains committed to continuing to bargain in good faith toward a new MOU with Local 20 that balances both WHHS’s fiduciary responsibility to continue to provide high-quality care aligned with the market while also maintaining jobs that contribute to a vibrant local economy.

Local 20 Bargaining Update – March 13, 2024

Negotiations reconvened between WHHS and Local 20 on March 13, 2024.  During that bargaining session, Local 20 made a comprehensive counter proposal addressing all outstanding items that have been put on the table by either party to date, and which included, in particular:

  • Agreement with WHHS for a proposed 3-year contract, as opposed to the union’s originally proposed 4-year term.
  • A counter proposal on across the board (“ATB”) wage increases as follows: 10% on 2/1/24 as an inflation and cost-of-living adjustment, 9% on 8/1/24, 9% on 8/1/25, and 9% on 8/1/26.
  • Local 20’s ATB wage proposal amounts to a total increase of 37% over the life of a 3-year MOU.

Local 20 provided movement on the following items from its opening November 15, 2023 economic proposal are to:

  • Withdraw its proposal to add a 15% differential for any time spent by an employee providing relief in a higher classification;
  • Withdraw its proposal to limit the use of only two travelers per department unless where agreed to by the union;
  • Reduce its proposed increase to the number of ETO days from 2 additional days down to 1 additional day, and withdraw its request for an additional Floating Holiday; and
  • Reduce its proposed adjustment to the per diem differential from 20% down to 15% of the base hourly rate for employees in the Lab, Pharmacy, and Case Management departments.

Local 20 held their position on all other outstanding economic items, including for replacement of flat rate differentials with a percentage rate, proposed adjustments to years of eligible service for step advancements and the addition of two new steps, and for a 4% market adjustment to the base rates for all represented Therapy department positions in addition to the year 1 proposed ATB and cost-of-living adjustment. 

Local 20 represented that it would accept WHHS’s proposed health plan if there is agreement on across the board wage increases.

In addition, Local 20 has made a comprehensive proposal for the newly added positions to the bargaining unit of Utilization Review RNs.  In that proposal, Local 20 proposed the following key economic terms:

  • Regular full-time and part-time Utilization Review Coordinators, Portal of Entry Coordinators, and Denials and Appeals Coordinators to remain as exempt employees;
  • Per diem Utilization Review Coordinators to be classified as non-exempt employees and paid a differential of 20% of the base hourly rate in lieu of benefits, including paid sick leave;
  • All Utilization Review RNs to be placed on a wage scale containing 11 steps with advancement for up to 30 years of service; and
  • All Utilization Review RNs, including per diems, to be entitled to 3 paid days (72 hours) per year for Mental Health Leave or Stress Leave of Absence.

During the March 13th bargaining session, there was tentative agreement to modified language to the Employee Complaints and Grievances article to add a new step 6 providing for arbitration of a grievance.

The next bargaining sessions are scheduled for March 20 and 27, 2024.  During the upcoming sessions, WHHS plans to make an updated presentation on the financial state of the hospital and further counter on economics and other open terms.  WHHS looks forward to continuing to work with Local 20 in an effort to make movement toward a new 3-year MOU.

Local 20 Bargaining Update – March 5, 2024

Washington Hospital Healthcare System (“WHHS”) and ESC/IFPTE Local 20 (“Local 20”) reconvened for negotiations over a new Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) on February 28, 2024.  During this bargaining session, the parties signed a tentative agreement to update the bereavement language in the contract, including to add language for reproductive loss leave, consistent with recent legislative changes under California law.  In addition to updated bereavement leave, there was also a tentative agreement on the following non-economic items to date:

  • Revised language for union membership
  • Updated language for providing meal and rest breaks
  • Revised language for employee representatives (stewards) to provide more uniformity across the represented departments
  • Revision and update to the section on professional practices committee to align it with the current practices of the Labor Management Committee

There was also notable progress toward a tentative agreement on the expansion of the employee complaints and grievances procedures to add an additional step for arbitration.

The next bargaining sessions are scheduled on the following dates: March 13, March 20, and March 27.  WHHS looks forward to receiving the union’s response to WHHS’s opening proposals on economics and its proposal on the new health plan at the upcoming sessions and to continuing to work in good faith towards a new MOU with Local 20.

CNA Bargaining Update – Feb. 22, 2024

Nurses Fail to Ratify Tentative 4-Year Agreement Reached Between CNA and WHHS, Leaving Generous Wage Increases and Retroactive Pay On the Table

After 8 months of tough negotiations, Washington Hospital Healthcare System (WHHS) and the California Nurses Association (CNA) reached a Tentative Agreement on a new, four-year contract during their last bargaining session on February 15, 2024.  CNA negotiators and the nurse bargaining team represented that they “unanimously and proudly recommend this agreement for full ratification vote.”  However, on February 20, 2024, the nurses surprisingly voted the agreement down.

The Tentative Agreement reached by the parties on February 15, 2024 involved the nurse bargaining team’s acceptance of WHHS’s Last, Best and Final package proposal.  Some key highlights of the Tentative Agreement the nurses voted down, which are now directly at stake and subject to either unilateral implementation or withdrawal by WHHS include:

  • 20% across the board wage increase over 4 years (which actually amounts to an average wage increase of 21.6% over the life of the contract when step advancements on the nurses’ wage scale are taken into account)
  • Delayed implementation of new health plan to July 1
  • Change of uniform color from white to navy blue with a one-time $100 stipend
  • Reduction in the number of months that disciplines remain on record
  • Paid time without a patient assignment to complete mandatory clinical in-service education
  • Increase in hourly differentials for evening shift to $7.30, night shift to $11.75, charge nurse relief to $5.00, and the nurse preceptor role to $4.00
  • Maintenance of current contract language on floating and like areas for floating.

Importantly, by failing to ratify the Tentative Agreement on February 20, 2024, the nurses have lost the opportunity to receive retroactive pay back to July 1, 2023, which amounts to an individual loss of approximately $4,000 to $6,000 per nurse, depending on hours worked.

The Tentative Agreement is an agreement that the nurse bargaining team claimed to be “proud of” as it would have guaranteed WHHS’s nurses receive market competitive compensation and benefits in addition to securing a number of other enhancements including for improved staff and patient safety and a long sought after change in uniform color.  WHHS management is very disappointed that such an unprecedented agreement could be rejected by the nurse bargaining unit.

Given that WHHS is a public entity employer and the Tentative Agreement involved acceptance of its Last, Best, and Final offer, there is now a legal process that the parties must follow before anything more can happen.

There are no additional bargaining dates scheduled between the parties at this time.  As such, the nurses will also see no wage increases for the foreseeable future.  

Local 20 Bargaining Update – February 14, 2024

Washington Hospital Healthcare System (“WHHS”) is pleased to provide an update on the progress of our labor negotiations with ESC/IFPTE Local 20 (“Local 20”).

On February 14, 2024, negotiations continued between WHHS and Local 20 for a new Memorandum of Understanding.  During this bargaining session, WHHS made a detailed presentation on the new proposed health plan that WHHS plans to implement in 2024 across its entire organization. 

Since 2015, health coverage premium (benefit) rates have:

  • Remained unchanged at WHHS
  • Increased between 3 and 4 percent annually across the United States
  • Increased by more than 8 percent annually on average across California

WHHS has worked diligently over the last approximately two years to design modernized employee health plans that will allow employees to choose options that best meet their unique, individual and/or family health care needs. The proposed health plan has a core plan that is no cost to the employee and offers reduced contributions at all other levels. Employees will also have optional “buy up” opportunities for medical, dental, and vision benefit plans, depending on employee and family needs.

Medical/Rx Program Enhancements

Some key features of the proposed core health plan are as follows:

  • No changes in the Blue Shield provider network.
  • Additional WTMF providers (105 providers vs. 39 today) are added to  Tier 1 (Washington Hospital Healthcare System Tier)
  • Each employee can receive no-cost specialty footwear at Haller’s Pharmacy (1 pair per year)
  • Addition of hearing aid coverage
  • Addition of Telehealth through Teladoc
  • Addition of Tier 1 pharmacy – Haller’s Pharmacy
    • Lower out-of-pocket copayments
    • Mail order available
  • Addition of wellness programs that provide proactive benefits
    • Wellness programs include tobacco cessation; diabetes management; musculoskeletal; weight loss plan; mental/behavioral health – custom for each member! 
  • Addition of employee discount program – discounts on electronics, exercise equipment, amusement park tickets, gym memberships, and more.

Additionally, the portable employer paid life insurance for employees will increase from $10,000 to $50,000.

WHHS emphasized the importance for the organization of implementing the new health plan and how competitive it is in the market. WHHS staff can view the proposed 2024 Healthcare Benefit Plans, December 20, 2023 Forum recording presentation, and download the following information by clicking this link: 

WHHS looks forward to continuing to work towards a new MOU when negotiations reconvene at the parties’ next scheduled bargaining session on February 28, 2024.

Local 20 Bargaining Update – Jan. 31, 2024

Negotiations reconvened between Washington Hospital Healthcare System (“WHHS”) and ESC/IFPTE Local 20 (“Local 20”) for a new Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) on January 31.

Back on November 15, 2023, Local 20 made a comprehensive opening proposal that included over 30 individual economic asks, including significant increases in differentials, accelerated step movement with additional proposed steps, and proposed across the board (ATB) wage increases that alone amounted to a 50% increase in base wages over a proposed 4-year contract period.   

During the January 31 bargaining session, WHHS made its opening economic counter proposal for a 3-year MOU, which included, in particular, a counter proposal on ATB wage increases of:

  • 4% in year 1,
  • 3.5% in year 2, and
  • 3.5% in year 3. 

WHHS has offered for the wage increases in this proposal to be effective on February 1 of each year of the MOU.  Notably, these are the largest wage increases that WHHS has presented to Local 20 in recent history.

WHHS did not make any other notable economic counter proposals at this time due to the significant number of opening economic proposals made by Local 20, their related costs, and the lack of market data to support them.  As such, WHHS strongly encouraged Local 20 to prioritize its economic asks so that WHHS will be in a better position to respond and put its valuable dollars into the areas that will truly add value to Local 20 members and the hospital.

During the January 31 session, WHHS also made a comprehensive proposal addressing proposed modifications to the sections governing Work Schedules and Hours of Work in each of the represented departments (i.e., Section 10 of each of Appendix A-E).  In addition, the parties reached another tentative agreement on revised language for the Labor Management Committee, previously referred to in the MOU as the Professional Practices Committee.

The parties are also continuing to make movement on other open items, including proposed modifications to the following sections of the MOU:

  • Employment Categories,
  • Earned Time Off,
  • Educational Leave,
  • Bereavement Leave, and
  • Employee Complaints and Grievances.

Finally, at the parties’ next scheduled bargaining session on February 14, WHHS plans to make a presentation on a newly proposed health plan that it has worked diligently to design over the last year.

WHHS values its dedicated Local 20 staff and is committed to continuing to bargain in good faith toward a new MOU with Local 20. In doing so, WHHS must balance its fiduciary responsibility to continue to provide high-quality care aligned with the market while maintaining jobs that contribute to a vibrant local economy. 

CNA Bargaining Update – Jan. 22, 2024

Negotiations reconvened between WHHS and CNA for a new 4-year Memorandum of Understanding on January 22, 2024, the parties’ first meeting since their last bargaining session on December 14, 2023. Despite proposals continuing to be passed across the table by both parties and the Hospital explicitly advising that it has not yet extended a Last, Best, and Final Offer, CNA and the Nurses’ Bargaining Committee threatened a strike vote before the parties’ next bargaining session, which is scheduled for February 15, 2024.

CNA and WHHS’ efforts to schedule bargaining dates did not move as quickly as hoped. This set sessions behind despite continued movement by WHHS on key proposals, including across the board wage increases. During the January 22 bargaining session, CNA made a comprehensive counter proposal addressing all outstanding items that have been put on the table by either party to date, and which included, in particular:

  • A counter proposal on across the board (“ATB”) wage increases of 7% in year 1, 6% in year 2, 6% in year 3, and 4% in year 4 of the MOU.
  • This is a 0.5% total reduction from their last ATB wage proposal, which the union made over two months ago on November 10, 2023.

The other items that CNA provided movement on are to:

  • Withdraw their proposal seeking to extend paid sick leave benefits to per diems,
  • Withdraw of their proposal seeking to increase the minimum number of nurses that must be allowed off per week on vacation in certain units, and to
  • Increase the Charge Nurse Relief differential from current $4.25 to $8.00 (a decrease by $1.00 from CNA’s last proposal).

CNA held on their position on all other outstanding items.

On January 22, it was important for WHHS management to at least respond on across the board increases to show continued movement on wages, which the union has identified as one of its priority economic items. As such, WHHS countered with the following across the board wage increases:

  • 5% in year 1,
  • 4.5% in year 2,
  • 4% in year 3, and
  • 4% in year 4 (a total increase of 1.5% from its last proposal).

WHHS further expressed that it plans to respond to a number of the other outstanding items at the parties’ February 15 bargaining session and is hopeful that a contract settlement can be reached on that date.

Finally, WHHS strongly conveyed to CNA that any strike vote at this point would be premature given WHHS’s continued efforts to bargain in good faith and move the negotiations forward, CNA’s repeated acknowledgement of how respectful the negotiations have been to date, and the fact that the WHHS has not yet given a last, best and final offer.

WHHS further emphasized the importance for the organization of implementing the new health plan and how competitive it is in the market. Healthcare System staff can view the proposed 2024 Healthcare Benefit Plans by visiting the My WHHSIntranet homepage using the WHHS network. Staff can view the December 20, 2023, Forum recording presentation, and download the following information: 

Local 20 Bargaining Update – Jan. 17, 2024

Washington Hospital Healthcare System (WHHS) is also pleased to provide an update on the progress of our labor negotiations with ESC/IFPTE Local 20 (“Local 20”).

Negotiations continue between WHHS and Local 20 for a new Memorandum of Understanding. We have been negotiating for a new contract since November. Notable progress has been made since then in a number of areas. Our last bargaining session was on January 17, 2024 and the next bargaining session will be on January 31, 2024.

To date, we have reached tentative agreements on the following non-economic items:

  • Updated language to provide meal and rest breaks
  • Updated union membership language
  • Revised language for employee representatives (stewards) to provide for more uniformity of representation across the represented departments.

At the parties’ next bargaining session on January 31, WHHS is preparing to make its opening proposal on economics, which will include WHHS’s opening offer on across the board wage increases, in response to the comprehensive and extensive economic proposals made by Local 20 on November 15, 2023. WHHS is then planning to make a presentation on a newly proposed health plan that it has worked diligently to design at the parties’ bargaining session on February 14, 2024, which is the next scheduled session after January 31.

In addition to the January 31 and February 14 dates, the parties are also scheduled to meet on February 28, March 5, March 13, March 20, and March 27. WHHS values our dedicated Local 20 staff and looks forward to continuing to work towards a new Memorandum of Understanding with Local 20 over the coming months.

CNA Bargaining Update – Dec. 19, 2023

Keeping you updated. 

Negotiations reconvened between WHHS and CNA for a new 4-year Memorandum of Understanding on December 14, 2023, following a one month hiatus.  Though earlier dates were offered by WHHS following their last bargaining session on November 14, the parties mutually agreed to meet on December 14.

WHHS was the last to make a counter proposal on economics.   Specifically, on November 14, WHHS offered the following:

1. Across the board wage increases of 4.5% in year 1, 4% in year 2, 4% in year 3, and 3.5% in year 4.

2. A 25 cent increase in differentials as follows:

  • Evening – Increase from the current $7.05 to $7.30
  • Night – Increase from the current $11.50 to $11.75
  • Charge Nurse Relief – Increase from the current $4.25 to $4.50
  • Preceptor Pay – Increase from the current $2.75 to $3.00.

3. A modified proposal on Floating to include new procedural safeguards and adjust the previously proposed “like area” grouping in the area of perioperative services in response to some of the concerns expressed by the nurses.  WHHS also proposed an increase to the float premium from $2.50 to $4.00.

WHHS was also the last to respond in writing and provide proposals and counter proposals on benefits, vacations, reporting time for per diems, and the regularly scheduled three-day option. These proposals were provided on November 14 to the CNA bargaining team.

Despite the one month time period between bargaining sessions, CNA made no written proposals or counter proposals during the bargaining session on December 14.  Rather, the union verbally informed WHHS that it was not prepared to move on compensation or benefits and was holding on its last existing proposals, including those on holidays, floating, and vacations.

Immediately following the December 14th bargaining session, WHHS requested that CNA provide available dates for further bargaining in January. We are scheduled to meet again on January 22, 2024.

WHHS values its dedicated and qualified staff and remains committed to bargaining in good faith toward a new Memorandum of Understanding with its nurses that includes agreements on competitive benefit plans within market range as required by Board policy along with reasonable and fair wage increases. 

Healthcare System staff can access information about the proposed benefit plans for 2024 by visiting the WHHS intranet homepage. Documents available for download are: WHHS Core Choice 2024-1, FAQs – 2024 Benefit Plans, and Washington Hospital Healthcare System Benefit Program FAQs.

CNA Bargaining Update — Dec. 4, 2023

Washington Hospital Healthcare System (WHHS) is pleased to provide an update on the progress of our labor negotiations with CNA.

Negotiations continue between WHHS and CNA for a new 4-year Memorandum of Understanding. We have been negotiating for a new contract since May. Significant progress has been made since then in a number of areas. Our last bargaining session was on Nov. 14, 2023. Though earlier dates were offered by WHHS, the next bargaining session will be Dec. 14.

We have reached tentative agreements on a number of non-economic items, including:

  • Updated language to provide meal and rest breaks
  • Updated bereavement leave
  • More detailed language regarding infectious disease prevention
  • A new section on workplace violence prevention
  • The addition of an article that permits up to four nurses per year to participate in the Registered Nurse Response Network
  • A revision to the letter of understanding governing 12-hour shift schedules to provide the ability to adopt mixed units of 12-hour and 8-hour shifts
  • A change in the seniority definition for per diem nurses, providing one year of seniority credit for each 2,000 hours worked (currently one year of seniority credit is awarded for each 3,000 hours worked)

Additionally, we have reached a tentative agreement on In-Service Training:

  • CNA has accepted WHHS’s proposed modifications to in-service training, including that (a) nurses’ mandatory clinical in-service education will be held during uninterrupted time not in conjunction with a patient or work assignment; and (b) nurses will be eligible to receive up to two (2) hours of straight time pay outside of the nurse’s work schedule to complete the mandatory clinical in-service education (not including annual hospital-wide mandatory education), with approval of the nurse manager, in the event that a nurse is not allocated sufficient designated time during the work schedule without a patient assignment to complete such education.

We continue to bargain on several economic items including:

  • Across the board wage increases
  • Proposed modification to floating procedures and clinical competency safeguards
  • Proposed changes to the Employee Health & Welfare Benefits plan

Below is a summary of where we stand on several remaining open items:

Across the Board (ATB) Increases: On Nov. 14, WHHS offered ATBs of 4.5% year 1, 4% year 2, 4% year 3, and 3.5% year 4.
Floating: On Nov. 14, WHHS modified its proposal to adjust the previously proposed “like area” grouping for perioperative services in response to some of the concerns expressed by the nurses. WHHS has further proposed an increase to the float premium from $2.50 to $4.00.
Benefits: WHHS continues to bargain in good faith towards an agreement that provides a competitive Health & Wellness Benefits Plan aligned with the market.

Since 2015, health coverage premium (benefit) rates have:

  • Remained the same at WHHS
  • Increased between 3 and 4 percent annually across the United States
  • Increased greater than 8 percent annually on average across California

WHHS has worked diligently to design employee health plans that will allow employees to choose options that best meet their unique, individual and/or family health care needs. The proposed health plan has a core plan that is no cost to the employee and offers reduced contributions at all other levels. Employees will also have optional “buy up” opportunities for medical, dental, and vision benefit plans, depending on employee and family needs. (See FAQ document for exact amounts.)


Medical/Rx Program Enhancements
Some important points regarding the proposed health plan:

  • There are no changes in the Blue Shield provider network.
  • Additional WTMF providers (105 providers vs. 39 today) are added to Tier 1 (Washington Hospital Healthcare System Tier)
  • Each employee can receive at no-cost specialty footwear at Haller’s Pharmacy (1 pair per year)
  • Addition of hearing aid coverage
  • Addition of Telehealth through Teladoc
  • Addition of Tier 1 pharmacy – Haller’s Pharmacy
    – Lower out-of-pocket copayments
  • Addition of wellness programs
    – Wellness programs include tobacco cessation; diabetes management; musculoskeletal; weight loss plan; mental/behavioral health – custom for each member!
    – Addition of employee discount program – discounts on electronics, exercise equipment, amusement park tickets, gym memberships, and more.

Additionally, the portable employer paid life insurance for employees has been increased from $10,000 to $50,000, and Long Term Disability (LTD) that is also employer paid increased from $1,500 to $2,000.

WHHS values our dedicated CNA staff and continues to work towards a new Memorandum of Understanding with our nurses. In doing so, WHHS must balance our fiduciary responsibility to continue to provide high-quality care aligned with the market while maintaining jobs that contribute to a vibrant local economy. We are hopeful that together we will reach an agreement in the coming weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions re: WHHS 2024 Health Care Benefits Program

Q1: Why is the medical care benefit plan changing?

A1: The medical care benefit plan currently offered by WHHS is not in line with the market.  Board policies require that our benefit plans fall within the market range.  The new plans show progress to better aligning us with the market range.

Q2: I do not live in Fremont, and cannot receive care in the Washington Hospital Healthcare System.  How will the benefit plan changes impact me?

A2: There will be no change from the current benefit plans.  Blue Shield has been the Tier 2 provider network for many years, and will remain the Tier 2 network.  Therefore, you will be able to continue to access your Blue Shield provider(s) the same as you do today.

Q3: Is the Blue Shield provider network changing?

A3: No, we will continue to use the same Blue Shield network used under the current WHHS medical care benefit plans.  You will be able to continue to see your current doctor(s) as long as he/she continues his/her relationship with Blue Shield.

Q4: What is the difference between Tier 1, 2 and 3?

A4: The Tiers do not change from the current benefit plans.  The Tier differences are:

Tier 1 = Washington Hospital Facilities (including surgery centers), outpatient clinics, hospital affiliated providers (i.e. Dr. Dearborn and Dr. Sah), Washington Hospital based providers (i.e. Washington Radiology Medical Group, Sound Physicians) and Washington Township Medical Foundation Providers.

Tier 2 = Blue Shield of California PPO Providers and Facilities

Tier 3 = Providers not in Tier 1 or 2

Q5: How much will my bi-weekly contribution be with the new plans?

A5: The bi-weekly contribution for the new base benefit plan (Core Choice) will be slightly less than what the majority of employees are currently paying for their WHHS benefit plans.  Bi-weekly contributions for the Core Choice plan are as follows:

There will also be a “buy-up” option (Choice Plus) available.  More information related to the Choice Plus plan will be available during Open Enrollment.

Q6: What if I don’t make a selection during the Open Enrollment session?

A6: We encourage all employees eligible for the open enrollment to actively select a plan. Employees that do not select a plan during the January – February 2024 Open Enrollment session will automatically be enrolled in the Core Choice Plan.

Q7: How do the plan options differ from my current WHHS Employee plan?

 A7: The Plan designs are very similar to your current plan but there are some differences from the current plan.   For example, all WTMF physicians are included in the WHHS Tier 1, which means you will have a fixed copayment for all WTMF Physicians and none of the services you receive from a WTMF physician will be subject to deductibles. 

At your request, we can further discuss changes.  Please submit any specific inquiries to Benefits@whhs.com

Q8: How will the plan options differ if I use WHHS services, such as lab or imaging?

A8: With the exception of ER services, both new plans will be similar to your current plan.  When an employee or dependent receives services at a Washington Hospital Facility, the facility co-pay will be $0.  Copays for lab, x-ray, and urgent care at Washington Hospital will continue to be $0.  As in the past, you will still be responsible for the copays associated with other physician services, such as physician office visits.

Q9: Is there a change with Delta Dental, VSP Vision Plan, or the Rx Plan?

A9: No, all these plans remain as part of your benefits. However, there will now be Dental and Vision buy-up plans available.

Q10: Can I enroll my dependents into one plan and enroll myself into the other plan?

A10: No, dependents must follow the same plan as the Employee.

Q11: Is there a copay for annual preventive care?

A11: There is no charge for certain covered annual preventive care received from a Tier 1 or Tier 2 provider, including

• Routine physical exam
• Ear/eye exam for dependent child through 18 years of age
• Immunizations according to age schedule
• Routine mammograms

Q12: Can I change plans if I have a new baby (or adopt), lose other coverage or marry before the next open enrollment session?

A12: Yes, qualifying life events such as marriage, birth/adoption, or loss of other coverage enable employees to make mid-year benefit changes.

Q13: If I don’t like the plan I select, when can I switch plans?

A13: After open enrollment in January – February 2024, Employees will have an opportunity to reassess plan options and switch during the next open enrollment, which takes place in November 2024 for a January 1, 2025 effective date.  However, qualifying life events such as marriage, birth/adoption, or loss of other coverage enable employees to make mid-year benefit changes.

Q14: Can I opt out of Washington Hospital health benefit plan options if I can receive health benefits through another source (like my spouse)?

A14:  WHHS provides coverage for all benefit eligible employees.  At this time there is no waiving of coverage for our employees.   However, WHHS employees do have the option to waive coverage for a spouse or certified domestic partner.

Q15: Does out-of-state coverage change?

A15:  No, the out-of-state coverage does not change.

Q16:  How can I find an in-network provider for medical, dental, and vision services?

A16:  You can find instructions on how to search online for in-network providers on our intranet:

            –Path:  Employees > Human Resources > Benefits

            –Hyperlink:  Benefits – Home

Q17:  If WTMF doesn’t have a physician trained in a specialty that I require and I am referred to a non-WTMF doctor, will the services be covered as Tier 1 or 2?

A17: In this instance, the physician would be covered at the Tier 2 level if the physician is a participating provider in the Blue Shield network.