Michael Skolnik resigns from THT Health
The Clark County Teachers Union’s nonprofit health insurance plan CEO resigned amid “organizational changes” intended to address “an already difficult financial situation.”
In a brief interview with the Review-Journal on Monday, Michael Skolnik confirmed that he had tendered his resignation as CEO of THT Health, formerly known as the Teachers Health Trust, on Sunday, effective Monday. He directed further inquiries to his lawyer.
Lawyer Allison Powers has confirmed Skolnik’s departure but did not elaborate on the circumstances that led to him.
“While he had hoped to be able to continue his work to usher in confidence in a new era as an innovative health plan, circumstances do not allow it,” Powers said via email. “Mr. Skolnik wishes all the best for the future of the trust and his former colleagues.”
THT Health provides health insurance coverage to about 40,000 teachers in the Clark County School District and other licensed professionals and their families, according to its website. It has a history of financial and legal struggles over its benefit management.
In recent weeks, teachers have again started to voice concerns on social media that the health trust is delaying payments to their medical providers by weeks or months.
Fifth-grade teacher Christian Haworth shared a letter he recently received from his therapist’s office saying the provider was at risk of bankruptcy due to late payments from THT Health.
The letter says it took five months or more for the provider to receive payment for the services and asked patients to advocate for the insurance company “to be more diligent and legal in its reimbursement practices for healthcare professionals. “.
Since sharing the letter, Haworth said he has heard from other teachers in similar positions whose bills have not been paid or who have been withdrawn from their suppliers. He said he had also contacted a representative for THT about the matter, but had not received a response.
It is “incredibly frustrating,” said Haworth, that teachers have to consider whether they risk losing their health care providers after all the unknowns of the past year.
Jamie Tadrzynski, a high school social studies teacher, told a school board meeting in April that some teachers had been abandoned as patients by their doctors’ offices due to insurance default issues.
Tadrzynski was dropped as a patient from dentist and ophthalmologist offices in February due to non-payment of insurance. And on Friday, Tadrzynski received a letter from an obstetrics and gynecology office saying the health trust had not paid for the medical practice and the notice described the charges still due.
“It’s disheartening because it gives us the impression that we are not worth it for the district,” Tadrzynski told the Review-Journal on Monday, and is not valued as human beings when the need arises. base are deleted.
There is also weariness among local medical providers about health confidence and this makes it difficult for teachers who are abandoned as patients to find a new provider, Tadrzynski said.
“There’s just this knowledge that Teachers Health Trust doesn’t pay for and no one wants to take that responsibility,” Tadrzynski said.
The Review-Journal did not immediately receive responses from the school district or the health trust to a request for further information on the situation.
The teachers’ union, the Clark County Education Association, did not mention Skolnik’s resignation in a statement on Monday, but referred to the financial challenges of the pandemic: “As a not-for-profit, self-funded health plan, The Teachers Health Trust incurred the increase in COVID-19 related medical expenses but maintained the same funding levels. This has contributed to an already difficult financial situation for the nonprofit organization. “
Ongoing “ organizational changes ”
The association said it is currently in negotiations with the school district to remedy the situation and “in the process of making organizational changes that will meet the challenge of today’s healthcare market.
A membership update posted online April 23 on the Health Trust website indicates that THT Health is “currently in a transition phase.”
Healthcare providers may see a deadline when they check benefits, he advises, but “that doesn’t mean your benefits will be terminated. You still get active benefits from THT Health.
This is not the first time that the trust has found itself mired in financial or legal difficulties.
A series of changes to the trust in 2017 aimed to address the trust’s multi-million dollar deficit and included a $ 9.8 million increase in district contributions, as well as increased costs for teachers.
Also in 2017, teachers filed a class action lawsuit alleging breach of contract and consumer fraud that was ultimately dismissed.
Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at [email protected] or 702-387-2921. To pursue @julieswootton on Twitter. Contact Aleksandra Appleton at [email protected] or 702-383-0218. To pursue @aleksappleton on Twitter.