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Hospital explains high-overtime earners

Feb. 13, 2013 @ 11:56 PM

HUNTINGTON -- An audit presented to West Virginia legislators on Monday showed a handful of employees receiving six-figure overtime compensation at Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital in Huntington.

That overtime pay along with that of more than 3,300 state employees who each received at least $5,000 in overtime compensation, according to the report, is not figured in determining the required Public Employee Insurance Agency premium tier classification, which could be costing the health insurance plan money each year.

Four of five employees classified as receiving between $100,000 and $199,999 in overtime compensation were Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital workers.

According to an answer to an inquiry made with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, three of the four were "highly skilled, trained, licensed physicians" who earned between $124,000 and $172,000 in excess of their regular base earnings. The other employee, a nursing supervisor, was listed in the report as receiving $100,701 in overtime, but Marsha Dadisman, director of communications for WVDHHR, said that figure includes the employee's salary and other earnings.

The audit also highlights overtime compensation in a variety of amounts ranging from $26,537 to $42,601 for 12 additional employees of the state hospital. DHHR officials gave no further elaboration on the compensation. The employee who earned $100,701 was not enrolled in a PEIA health plan, and another earning $26,645 retired effective April 1, 2012.

Members of the audit team concluded that by receiving additional compensation, many employees would likely be in higher PEIA payment tier classifications if both the base salary and compensation coded as overtime had been included in determining the required PEIA premium payment. Auditors recommended that PEIA look into adding additional compensation received by employees in the determination of payment tier classifications, and that state agencies try to limit the amount of overtime employees receive when possible, citing "excessive spending" on overtime compensation.

Legislative auditor Aaron Allred said of the 3,346 state employees receiving a total of $16.7 million in overtime compensation, many should be paying more in PEIA premiums.

"If half of them should be paying another $1,000 in premiums, that's $1 million that should be going to PEIA," Allred explained.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow H-D reporter Beth Hendricks on Facebook or Twitter @BethHendricksHD.

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