Family needs to drop lawsuit against Western

Brian and Staci Nash, a Western employee, watched as their child fell ill waiting for a bone marrow transplant. HCC Life insurance, who handles Western’s insurance claims over $75,000, refused to pay for the transplant. The Nashes filed a lawsuit against the university, demanding it pay for the procedure after insurance refused.

Western administrators had to decide whether to pay for the child’s $500,000 transplant by pulling from the faculty and staff insurance reserve fund. Paying for the transplant would increase the price of insurance premiums. One estimate suggests an increase of $28.75 per employee per month.

It was a tough call.

In the end, right or wrong, Western agreed to pay.

Four-year-old Presley Nash had her transplant last week. It was a success.

She’s staying in Minneapolis, Minn. for six months receiving outpatient treatment at Fairview University Hospital.

But back here, far away from Presley’s hospital bed, decisions, huge decisions, have to be made by both the Nashes and Western.

Drop the lawsuit

The Nash’s lawsuit against Western needs to be dropped. It’s time.

Western attorney John Grise said Medical Benefits Administrators Inc, the company who handles the university’s claims, informed the hospital in August that Western would cover the procedure. Written confirmation was also sent to the Nash’s attorney.

But still the lawsuit was never dropped. Weiss said she never received confirmation that Western would cover the procedure.

Grise sent another confirmation in October.

The suit still hasn’t been dropped. Western continues to pay for the procedure, travel, meals and lodging for the family. In addition, money to cover legal fees while this lawsuit remains in limbo are coming out of the faculty and staff insurance reserve fund.

The longer this lawsuit stays in effect, the more it hurts our faculty and staff. It’s their money that is covering the procedure and legal fees.

Also, signing up for next year’s insurance plans has been bumped back to late November because it is still uncertain how much the procedure and lawsuit might affect insurance rates.

Staci Nash’s peers are the one’s paying for it. It’s coming out of their pockets.

Don’t take anymore.

Prepare for future circumstances

No one wants to be caught in a situation like this again. It’s Western’s responsibility to make sure its faculty and staff are protected.

They need to have a plan.

Our first suggestion is that Western pick an insurance authority. During this fiasco, our insurance provider, HCC Life, refused to cover Presley’s bone marrow transplant. They considered it an experimental procedure.

Western consulted the state insurance bureau who said the university should cover the process.

In the end, Western followed the latter advice and covered the procedure.

But, Western needs to decide who they’re going to trust next time. There needs to be an authority on this situation. Western needs to decide which expert will determine coverage.

This will take the guesswork out of future situations.

And secondly, when Western agreed to pay $500,000 for a procedure, it should have gotten some type of guarantee that this suit would be dropped.

It just makes sense.

Instead, Western is still paying legal fees and all of the Nash’s expenses.

We hope the university learns from this experience.

Western should do it smarter next time.

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 10-member board of student editors.