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W-2 Arithmetic and Insurance Trouble Add Up to Americore Woes

From The Lee Daily Register -

It’s mid-February, and that means that just about everyone who’s getting one now has their IRS Form W-2 in hand. For the vast majority of Americans, receiving the W-2 is a routine part of filing tax returns, and the forms are usually correct. Keeping up with employee wages is simple arithmetic.

Doing it wrong is not only a great way to run your business into the ground, but can also land you in hot water with the Federal and state governments. Americore Health apparently didn’t get that memo. Many of the W-2s the company prepared for its employees in Kentucky and Pennsylvania denote incorrect wage information.

Americore has a long history of retaliating against employees who speak to the media. For that reason, we have not identified any employees in this story by name. The story they told us was singular: Americore W-2s are a mess because wages were not properly tracked through much of 2018.

Payroll Problems Lead to W-2 Snafus

Longtime readers of The Lee Daily Register know that payroll problems at Americore are nothing new. LDR reported the first late payroll at an Americore hospital in June 2017 at Pineville Community Hospital (PCH)¹ in Pineville, Kentucky. Americore acquired Ellwood City Medical Center² soon afterward. Since then, Americore has missed at least 11 payrolls in Ellwood City and nearly as many in Pineville—mostly since August 2018.

Sometimes Americore distributed bad paychecks on regular payday. At other times, the company had no paychecks to hand out.

When Americore eventually paid its workers, there were more problems. Sometimes the checks bounced. Other workers told us that Mr White wired money directly into their bank accounts. The wire transfers came to a stop when White could not pay the transfer fees. Sometimes personal checks were written to employees. Neither the transfers nor the personal checks ever came with stubs. Employees had no proof of tax withholding or deductions for health insurance, retirement, or other benefits.

It is for this reason that W-2s are incorrect. Most of the W-2s that have been reported to us because the wages indicated on the W-2 are lower than what the employees actually received. One employee received a W-2 for two weeks wages, even though the person worked there for four months in 2018.

Other employees reported being paid less than what was on their W-2. In all cases, employees are confused. “This is just one more way that Americore and Grant White are making life hell for employees. If I get penalized because of Mr White’s incompetence, I’ll sue him and his company. He can count on that,” one employee told us recently.

Insurance Lapse

Insurance claims for the month of December are another big problem. Americore’s employee health insurance plan lapsed effective December 1, 2018 due to non-payment. At no point did any person in Americore leadership inform employees of this lapse of coverage until early January 2019. Americore now insures its employees with its own services. Employees have told the LDR that they have no idea what the specifics of this plan are, despite it going into effect on February 1 this year.

We have been told that Mr White is paying employee medical bills incurred during December 2018 with a credit card. We do not have specifics beyond that.

LDR attempted to contact Mr White about this story, but were unsuccessful, as usual. Mr White has not returned a call or e-mail from us since early Oct 2018.

More for Lee County, Va—

The Lee County Hospital Authority voted in January to separate itself from Americore and pursue a relationship with Ballad Health in its efforts to reopen Lee County’s only hospital. The Hospital Authority was supposed to have the Ballad agreement ready for a vote last week, but the meeting was postponed with short notice. Hospital Authority attorney Jeff Mitchell replied, “We aren’t ready” when asked about the reason for the postponement.

This week, the Lee County Board of Supervisors called a special meeting to take place today, February 13 at 5 pm to discuss the Americore separation and the $1.5M owed to Lee County taxpayers as a result of the effort to reopen the hospital. The meeting will be in Room 208 of the Lee County Courthouse in Jonesville, Virginia.

The Hospital Authority announced that they will meet Thursday February 14 at 1pm at the Community Center in Pennington Gap, Virginia.

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