The union and the Seafarers Health and Benefits Plan are moving ahead with strategies to expand the network of SHBP-contracted clinics. To that end, officials from the SIU and the SHBP were scheduled to meet in late October with representatives from the SIU-contracted companies comprising the American Maritime Association.
As reported at the October membership meetings, the extended network will greatly expand the number of clinics available to Seafarers. This will allow members to complete their physicals, functional capacity tests and other medical procedures closer to home. Seafarers also will be able to take follow-up exams that are re-evaluations rather than additional comprehensive physicals (a result of the standard contracts negotiated and ratified earlier this year).
Additionally, Seafarers will have the option of utilizing the members-only portal on the union’s website to initiate clinic services.
The expanded network tentatively is scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2013. Details will be reported in the LOG, on the website and at regular membership meetings.
Meanwhile, rank-and-file members and officials from the union and the SHBP are visiting some of the new medical facilities and completing some of the tests in order to help verify the quality of the clinics and the fairness of the procedures.
SIU Vice President Contracts George Tricker stated, “We are aggressively working towards putting the final touches on improved clinic services that, once enacted, will provide greater access for our membership and eliminate the need for pre-sign-on physicals.”
Seafarers Plans Administrator Maggie Bowen pointed out that expanding the network “is designed to offer greater accessibility to participants. Also, like our current clinics, the new additions are very high-quality facilities.”