NU Online News Service, Sept. 15, 2:19 p.m. – Empire HealthChoice Inc., New York, the parent company of Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, says that, as of 2 p.m. Friday, it had confirmed that it has accounted for at least 1,905 of the 1,914 who had worked at its offices at the Manhattan World Trade Center beforeit was destroyed by Tuesday’s terrorist attacks.

Twelve of the employees have been in the hospital, and four are still hospitalized, Empire says.

“We continue to do everything possible to verify the whereabouts of our employees who are still unaccounted for,” Dr. Michael Stocker, chief executive of Empire, said in a statement.

Empire is asking employees who have not yet checked in but are able to call to report to its employee hotline, at 866-761-8265.

Members who need information can get information by calling the toll-free telephone numbers on the backs of their membership cards.

Empire’s management team is instact and is now operating from other Empire locations, the company said.

Group account and membership information, financial data and administrative systems data were not affected by the terrorist attacks, the company said.

Most customer service, commercial claims-processing, and Medicare Part A and Part B facilities are also unaffected, but customers may experience delays because of the high volume of calls and lingering problems with New York-area telephone lines.

“Claims submitted electronically are being processed as usual,” Stocker said. “In addition, we do not anticipate processing delays for paper claims received by Empire prior to Sept. 6, 2001. Paper claims mailed after that date should be resubmitted.”

Empire has lost mail it received Sept. 10 and Sept. 11, so customers, agents and brokers who mailed correspondence shortly before that time should send their correspondence again.