TMC employees still waiting on answers

By: Daniel Gotera Email
By: Daniel Gotera Email

DENISON, Tex. -- Employees at Texoma Medical Center are still wondering where money is from their old pension plans and when they are expected to receive it. Now, TMC officials say they want to make sure everyone knows they are working to get them the money they are looking for.

KXII-TV has received a number of e-mails the past several days from employees at Texoma Medical Center wondering when or if they will ever see money they say was promised to them last year. On Thursday, officials at the hospital say they are just as confused as everyone else and are looking for answers as well.

It has been an interesting 18 months for anyone involved with Texoma Medical Center, beginning with the sale of the hospital to Universal Health Services. Now, employees are wondering where their benefits have gone.

"We've been in a holding pattern ever since last April, since we wanted the plan reviewed," says TMC human resources director Bill Heinzmann.

Texoma Medical Center human resources director Bill Heinzmann says the problem lies not with the hospital but with the Internal Revenue Service, who determines where non-taxable money should go.

"We’ve applied for the letter of determination and we're waiting for the IRS to give us the go ahead."

In 2004, TMC froze their formula driven pension plans and created a defined contribution one. But after the sale to UHS a year-and-a-half ago, officials say the pension plan was done away with, leaving employees with the choice of either roll over the money accumulated in the plan to another account or cash it out.

That decision was to be made by April of 2007. That was when Heizmann says the hospital applied for a letter of determination from the IRS, a process which usually takes two five months.

The only problem is they are still waiting to hear back.

"We had contact in December and they said they would put a tracer on it, call us back in 30 days to give us an update. Well we call back in 30 days, and they had no record of it, so they started going at it at that point in time."

From the end of November, the hospital has been inundated with calls from employees wondering where the money has gone. The hospital's CEO, Mackey Watkins, has written letters to state senators and Congressman Ralph Hall asking for their help in getting the IRS to allow the hospital to divide the money, something officials say they had hoped to have done by the end of last year.

"In retrospect maybe what we should have done is waited until we got the letter of determination and not get so many people's expectations up, because a lot of folks even though it was an estimate have committed themselves to spending these funds before they received them."

Officials say they did hear back from the IRS last month and were told they were under a secondary evaluation. No word yet on when though that evaluation will be complete.

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