The Sun News - - Front Page - BY MEGAN TOMASIC mtoma­sic@the­sun­

BlueCross BlueShield is lay­ing off al­most 240 em­ploy­ees be­tween Surf­side Beach and Florence.

BlueCross BlueShield is lay­ing off al­most 240 em­ploy­ees be­tween Surf­side Beach and Florence due to a lost con­tract with Vet­er­ans Ad­min­is­tra­tion Choice, a com­mu­nity care pro­gram paid for by the Vet­er­ans Af­fairs of­fice.

The lay­offs af­fect Pal­metto Gov­ern­ment Ben­e­fits Ad­min­is­tra­tors, a sub­sidiary that han­dles gov­ern­ment con­tracts, in­clud­ing work­ers for Vet­er­ans Ad­min­is­tra­tion Choice, TRICARE, a health care pro­gram, and other med­i­cal po­si­tions.

“PGBA will con­tinue to pro­vide ex­cel­lent ser­vice to its cus­tomers while look­ing for more con­tract op­por­tu­ni­ties,” said Shawn Skill­man, se­nior me­dia re­la­tions strate­gist for BlueCross BlueShield.

The lay­offs, which were an­nounced Aug. 31, will not af­fect the ser­vices pro­vided at the Surf­side Beach lo­ca­tion, Skill­man said, and the build­ing will re­main open. The Surf­side Beach BlueCross BlueShield build­ing is lo­cated at 8700 U.S. 17 By­pass.

Skill­man said a to­tal num­ber of lay­offs is not yet avail­able be­cause some po­si­tions will be va­cated by re­tire­ment and at­tri­tion. Lay­offs started in Septem­ber and will con­tinue through the end of the year.

“Th­ese ac­tions are al­ways dif­fi­cult, but we have a num­ber of out­stand­ing bids and re­main fo­cused on the fu­ture,” Pres­i­dent and Chief Op­er­at­ing Of­fice of PGBA Mike Skarupa said in a news re­lease. “While dis­ap­point­ing, scal­ing work­force to work­load is a well-known chal­lenge in pro­vid­ing con­trac­tual ser­vices for the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.”

A BlueCross BlueShield of­fice is lo­cated in Myr­tle Beach at 2411 North Oak St.

At the in­ter­sec­tion of Howard Av­enue and Air­park Drive in Myr­tle Beach, a new VA of­fice is set to break ground.

In Oc­to­ber, the Ralph H. John­son VA Med­i­cal Cen­ter was granted leases in Myr­tle Beach and Charles­ton, al­low­ing a con­sol­i­dated fa­cil­ity for out­pa­tient care in Myr­tle Beach, ac­cord­ing to a re­lease from Tonya Lobbestael, spokesper­son for the Ralph H. John­son VAMC.

Con­struc­tion is sched­uled to be­gin in 2019, lo­cated off of Far­row Park­way near The Mar­ket Com­mon and Myr­tle Beach In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

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