Health System Academic & Research Employee Council


Thursday, July 20, 2000

Present: Stephanie Bingler, Renee Breeden, Leigh Ann Bush, Daweslyn Butler, Ginny Dean, Sharon Heyka, Della Marsh, Lynn McCutcheon, Patti Slohoda, Jean Snoddy, Gina Steppe, Jim Stork, Mary-Leigh Thacker, Eleanore Wade, June Wade, Pat Williams and Mike Wilson

Daweslyn Butler began the meeting with the introduction of two new members from the School of Nursing: Della Marsh and Renee Breeden. She also announced that Gail Prince-Davis has resigned from the council, since she is a medical center employee (agency 209). Gail is going to try to become a representative on the medical center council. Her alternate, who is a 207 employee, will replace her. The academic & research council represents mostly agency 207 employees, although there continue to be some agency 209 employees in departments.

Jim Kennan was the first speaker. The medical center is maintaining approximately 4% margin financially, although final year-end numbers are not complete. The 4% is plowed back into technology and equipment.

Jim presented his findings after researching the council's parking concerns:

  • Dr. Levine's office is aware of and apologizes for the delay that happened recently. Parking and Transit had booked a lot of charters, and then, a bus from Scott Stadium broke down. Parking and Transit was forced to use a van to make runs, which caused the delays.
  • The temporary lot at the end of hospital drive will still be removed. The space will be returned to an open area. The council discussed that this does not make much sense; however, the lot is still to be removed.
  • When the new health system lot is open at Scott Stadium, the express buses from U-Hall will stop; however, the regular buses will continue to run every 20 minutes.
  • Employees are urged to use the new health system lot at Scott Stadium. The reserved spots will revert to general use if health system employees don't use them. The cost per month will be the same for the new lot. Concerns were raised that there is incorrect information about the new lot on the web, and also, from P&T. This has been reported to Dr. Levine, so that he can take action to stop it.

A question was raised concerning the new fence along the railroad tracks. It was added as a safety measure because of the high number of injuries and deaths near train tracks. It is part of an agreement that was made with the railroad, and allowed for more area to be utilized near the tracks. Consideration is being given to building a pedestrian walkway over the tracks.

Another concern was raised about the frequent closing of the walkway to the South Garage caused by the MR5 construction. Employees are walking in the road instead, and there are concerns about employee safety. Jim will check with Dr. Levine's office on this. The South Garage will be used for football parking this fall. The fees charged will be used to support P&T's costs. Employees who need to work those weekends can park in either of the other 2 garages.

Once again, UVA was listed in the 2000 U.S. News & World Report's, America's Best Hospitals. The July 17th issue listed UVA in 11 out of 17 specialties: cancer (#19), digestive disorders (#22), ENT (#20), geriatrics (#38), gynecology (#29), heart (#28), hormonal disorders (#6), kidney disease (#39), neurology & neurosurgery (#18), respiratory disorders (#28), and urology (#21). Last year UVA was listed in 10 specialties. The ratings are based on quality of care, reputation and mortality.

The Board of Visitors Health Affairs Committee met last Friday. The nursing shortage took up most of the discussion. There are currently 90 - 100 vacancies posted. The shortage has caused UVA to have to decrease the number of beds, and to bring in travel nurses who are very expensive. Management is now trying to figure out how to recruit and retain. Other healthcare professionals, such as radiology techs, are also needed. There seems to be a shortage every 5 - 7 years, but this is the most significant one to impact UVA. A finder's fee bonus has been implemented for agency 209.

The School of Medicine is a national leader in research, both basic sciences and clinical. This past fiscal year had a 20% increase in supported research. Space is still a constraint. MR6 is moving forward, and they are looking for ways to raise funding.

Bill Vining was the next speaker. He announced an increase in annual leave for those with 15 years or more of service, and said council members should have received e-mail describing the new limits. The payout limits (upon resignation or retirement) have not changed from those shown on the back of the monthly leave and work report. UVA is one of the few state agencies to pay monthly, but time is earned semi-monthly.

Everyone should have received information on a new long-term care insurance group plan available for UVA employees, certain family members (spouses, parents and parents-in-law), and retirees from Aetna. Long-term care is not covered by the state's health care plans. Medicaid only covers you if your income and assets are below a certain level, and Medicare won't cover chronic, long-term conditions. With the new plan, employees pay 100% of the premiums, but can take advantage of lower group prices. Active employees (not already eligible for claim) can enroll on or before October 31, 2000 without providing proof of good health. Retirees and eligible family members will have to complete a health questionnaire and must be improved by Aetna. The special enrollment opportunity ends 10/31/2000. To learn more, visit Aetna's web site at: http://www.aetnaushc.aetna.com/custom/group/commonwealthva

The new pay plan sessions are ending soon, and Human Resources (HR) will begin training managers and supervisors in August and September. The last open session for employees is August 2nd at Newcomb Hall. Only about 50% of agency 207 employees have attended the sessions. Employees seem to be taking a wait and see attitude. Bill commented that there are good and bad aspects to every evaluation system. Evaluations force employees and their supervisors to talk at least once a year. It is not right for supervisors to slide an evaluation under an employee's door, and then go on vacation. There should be dialogue between the two individuals. No employee should receive a bad evaluation, without already knowing there are problems.

There have been changes to the grievance procedures. Bill will bring information to the next council meeting. The changes are to correct observed flaws in the system. The 3rd step is a hearing officer now. These have been attorneys around the state who are paid an hourly rate, and who are called on a rotational basis as needed. Some of these attorneys were good, and some were not so good. The Department of Dispute Resolution (DDR) has decided to take more control by having hearing officers on staff. These hearing officers will be attorneys who are members of the Virginia Bar, but employed by DDR. They will not make decisions contrary to public law. There will be a small cadre of highly trained private attorneys to help (probably the best from the prior group). The new policy is available online.

New Business: Sharon Heyka is on the Board of Directors for the Women Faculty and Professional Association (WFPA). They are considering changing their name, and are trying to increase programs to attract classified employees. They are trying to find a member-at-large for the board, which meets once a month. Please contact Sharon (srh5g@virginia.edu), if you are interested.

Daweslyn asked what the council should do about elections. We should have held an election in June, so the new officers could take office this month. Eleanor Wade, who has coordinated the nominations for several years, said that she has always had trouble finding people willing to run. It has been especially hard to find someone who would be secretary. She noted that the current team approach seemed to work well. Sharon Heyka made a motion to leave the current co-chairs (Daweslyn Butler, Leigh Ann Bush & Mary-Leigh Thacker) in place for one more year. It was seconded by Mike Wilson, and approved by the representatives.

Letters need to be sent to even departments that they need to choose a new rep or reappoint the current representative. Leigh Ann has the list of which departments are odd and even. Mike Wilson volunteered to coordinate parking concerns for the next year, and Daweslyn volunteered to e-mail Tammy Snow to see if she is still on the safety committee.

Old Business: A certificate of appreciation was prepared for Beth Koehler, our former council chair. It will be sent to Beth in the next few weeks. Special thanks to Heather Crissman in Orthopaedics for designing the certificate.

It was decided that the council should sponsor a day trip, with Bill Vining and HR's help. To be successful, the trip would need 40 - 50 people. Past trips have included the Smithsonian, Kennedy Center, Williamsburg Pottery, and theme parks. Each representative is asked to survey his or her department for interest (where, when (weekend or weekday), and how much employees are willing to pay), and bring ideas to the next meeting. As with the foreign trips, employees could bring guests.

Approval of Minutes: The minutes for the June meeting were approved with one correction: Jim Stork from Comparative Medicine was present.

There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned.