Salinas Valley Health NICU
Dr. Robert Castro checks on a patient in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of Salinas Valley Health Medical Center. NICU services are now available to members of the Municipalities, Colleges, Schools Insurance Group (MCSIG) PPO Select Plan, following an agreement with the hospital. (Contributed)

MONTEREY COUNTY — Educators in Monterey County now have the affordable, local healthcare services they need and deserve thanks to an agreement between Salinas Valley Health and Municipalities, Colleges, Schools Insurance Group (MCSIG).

“Salinas Valley Health recognized that many teachers and other educators in our area were falling through the cracks of unaffordable commercial health insurance plans and low cost government healthcare programs,” said Allen Radner, MD, Salinas Valley Health interim president/CEO. “The situation was unacceptable. We listened to concerns and diligently worked with MCSIG to provide educators with local, quality care at no additional cost to them.” 

The agreement provides members with expanded care options at Salinas Valley Health Medical Center and Clinics with no additional premium costs to the current PPO Select Plan for MCSIG members. The agreement took effect March 1, and members are able to use their current insurance ID cards until new ones are issued.

“MCSIG is constantly looking for ways to provide better coverage for our members at affordable rates,” said MCSIG Executive Director Neddie Sarmiento. “We are pleased with what we were able to accomplish working collaboratively with Salinas Valley Health. The result is a win-win for our educators and their families.”

Salinas Valley Federation of Teachers President Kati Bassler and MCSIG Board President Steve McDougall spearheaded efforts to bring the right people to the table to explore solutions. MCSIG’s PPO Select Plan is the lowest cost plan offered to members and excluded services at Salinas Valley Health Medical Center and other Monterey County hospitals.

“Educators dedicated to helping our children reach their full potential now have access to the comprehensive network of high quality health care services offered at Salinas Valley Health,” Bassler said. “We reached this agreement in record time because we have local healthcare leaders who wanted to address this inequity and worked with MCSIG to cut though the financial challenges and red tape to better serve our educators and our community.”

Long-time teachers like Jen Villa are relieved the discussions resulted in an agreement that better supports the health and medical needs of local educators. Villa notes that people entering a career in education simply don’t make enough to sign up for more expensive health insurance options, and is thrilled that MCSIG members can now access quality care in the area where they live and work.

“Prior to this agreement, when I went into labor with my first child, I rushed to another county to deliver my baby,” said Villa, who teaches in Salinas. “It’s a weight off our shoulders that we can now receive nationally recognized quality care in the same county where we live and are helping to educate the next generation.”

“We are proud of how Salinas Valley Health has served the community for 70 years,” added Dr. Radner. “This agreement is another example of how we are able to respond to the needs of our local population and achieve outcomes that build on our mission to serve everyone in our community.”

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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