West Virginia Hospitals Are Struggling
The Mountain State has one of the highest rates of sickness and death from COVID-19 in the country. The Delta variant has stressed our already strained health care system, which has seen small hospitals close and pushed larger facilities to the brink of collapse.
Covid-19 has added to the cost of running a hospital. Needs for personal protective equipment have increased, as have the price for specialty items like respirators. Many hospitals have limited or stopped revenue-generating elective surgeries and added beds to accommodate Covid-19 patients. Other existing factors like low reimbursement rates from publicly funded health care plans have placed the fiscal health of our hospitals in jeopardy.
Private Health Insurance and Public Health Care Programs
You can support the prevailing wage movement by signing the petition. Sign your name, share with your friends, and help provide more opportunities for West Virginians.
Private health insurance is crucial to maintaining a hospital’s bottom line. These insurance plans pay hospitals a significantly higher reimbursement rate than public insurance policies, like Medicaid, Medicare, and the Public Employees Insurance Agency, known as PEIA.
Public insurance policies pay hospitals just 32 cents for every dollar of care a person receives. Over 60% of West Virginians are covered by policies like these. Hospitals cannot sustain care by receiving partial payments. They depend on payments from private insurers to stay financially afloat.
The Link Between Prevailing Wage, Private Health Insurance and Healthy Hospitals
Prevailing wage is the minimum hourly wage paid to local workers by contractors working on government-funded infrastructure projects. Prevailing wage ensures local workers are paid fairly – based on a regional survey of rates for their particular level of skill and experience.
Find your West Virginia representatives here and reach out to them to let them know you would like them to support Prevailing Wage.
But what does prevailing wage have to do with the fiscal health of our hospitals? Prevailing wage makes it possible for West Virginia contractors and building construction trade unions to provide workers with quality, private health insurance. So there is a clear link between prevailing wage, private insurance, and the financial health of our local hospitals.
Sure there are still some West Virginia employers who provide private health insurance, but there are over 20,000 union construction workers in our state who receive private health insurance through wage and hour agreements. It’s union contractors and their workers who, in large part, are keeping the doors of our community hospitals open. Think about it the next time you drive past your local hospital. Prevailing wage and access to quality healthcare go hand in hand. It creates new jobs with private insurance and generates significant income for our area hospitals.
Covid-19 has made this a challenging time for West Virginia hospitals. We must do everything we can to support them. Prevailing wage will increase the number of workers covered by private insurance, which means higher reimbursement rates and greater revenue for West Virginia hospitals. West Virginia needs prevailing wage to help mountain state hospitals rebound from Covid-19 and help secure a more healthy future for us all.