Town of Massena handed $1.6M in settlement involving health insurance payments
BY JEFF CHUDZINSKI
North Country This Week
MASSENA — The Town of Massena and St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES have finally come to an agreement on a long standing lawsuit surrounding health insurance payments to the now former Massena Memorial Hospital.
According to Town Supervisor Sue Bellor, the settlement is for $1.6 million.Town officials signed off on the settlement during an executive session following the town board’s Jan. 18 meeting.
A joint statement was recently released by both sides.
“The Town of Massena and the St. Lawrence-Lewis Counties School Employees Medical Plan are pleased to have reached a mutually satisfactory resolution to the lawsuits alleging that Massena Memorial Hospital was underpaid by the Plan for services provided to persons covered by the Plan between 2011-2018. This settlement allows the Plan and Town to continue providing services to the people of the North Country without consuming additional public resources,” the statement reads.
The town and BOCES had been in mediation for months following failed attempts to negotiate a settlement previously, officials previously said.
According to Deputy Town Supervisor Pat Facteau, the dispute began after hospital administrators alleged BOCES was not reimbursing the hospital properly for outpatient care as contractually obligated.
Facteau previously said that based on calculations the reimbursement rate was likely in the ballpark of 62% or so and not the contractually obligated 92%.
A lawsuit was initiated in 2017 by Massena Memorial Hospital, which then carried over to the Town of Massena following the sale of Massena Memorial Hospital to St. Lawrence Health in 2020.
At the time of the initial filing, hospital officials alleged BOCES owed in excess of $3.7 million.
The lawsuit, much like the trailing liabilities from the sale, fell to the town to resolve in the end.
The contract between Massena Memorial Hospital and BOCES was first signed in 1997.