Philadelphia City Council weighs health-care costs

Philadelphia City Council held a hearing Thursday on cutting the city’s health-care costs.  Councilman Bill Green, who said the city’s employee health-care costs are escalating, said he’s looking at the police union’s health and wellness program as a model for other unions to follow. Law Enforcement Health Benefits “saved over $61 million since 2002 based on its efforts, which includes cost containment and disease management,” said Green. William Gault, head of the city’s firefighters union, said city officials rejected parts of that union’s wellness program, which included bringing health-care professionals into fire stations. “In fact, until the last two years, the city scoffed at our wellness efforts so we have tried to find programs  that address the needs of our members in ways that related directly to them,” Gault said.

Green said he wants city officials to review the police program and see how it can be expanded to all city unions. Any changes to health-care plans would require the city to negotiate a contract with the unions.

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