Health System Academic and Research Employee Council meeting minutes

August 15, 2002



The Employee Council for the Health System Academic and Research Division met on August 15, 2002 in the Vice President’s Conference Room in McKim Hall.  There were 20 members in attendance.


Sharon Heyka, as council co-chair reported on the Executive Committee meeting with Leonard Sandridge on August 13.  Budget reduction issues were discussed.  The University is trying not to have lay-offs as a result of the budget reductions being imposed by the state.  A number of alternatives are being discussed and will be reported on at a later date.  An early retirement program is not a possibility at this time.  They are also trying not to have increases in health insurance premiums and parking since there will be no raises this year.  Travel for conferences, etc. is being scrutinized and denied based on the necessity and amount claimed.  He will keep us posted as to the final amount the state will be requiring for reductions.


Chris Loss attended as a substitute for Anda Webb.  He reported that the bonus leave would appear on the August 30 pay stub even though employees were allowed to take the leave as of July 1, 2002.  You have one year to use the leave.  The bonus pay will appear in the September pay check for 12 month employees and in the October 1 check for 9 month employees.


Jeffrey Overweg attended as Bill Vining’s substitute.  Health benefits were discussed.  One of the members had a question about Southern Health’s appeal process for denied services. His wife had surgery and encountered a number of problems with the insurance pre-authorization and lack of payment.  They are going through an appeal process which is taking an extensive amount of time to finalize. 


There is a Health Plan ombudsman (Ann Goodson) who can assist in this process if anyone has issues with Southern Health.  The QualChoice office has moved to Richmond and their computer system has been combined with Southern Health’s so it should make claims easier to process.  New ID cards should be coming in the mail to all subscribers.  You should be able to go on line to search for authorization numbers.  Information on prescription medications is also available on line.  You should be able to check the reimbursement for your medication by the tier it is assigned.  There are new medications added to the list during the year. 


There is a committee for Health Care Issues chaired by Tony Townsend.  We need to know who is on this committee and if our council has a representative on the committee.


Jeff also reported on the open enrollment for VSDP.  Employees will be automatically switched to this program unless they specifically ask not to be transferred. 


Rebecca Lewis was our guest speaker.  She is the administrator for the Neuroscience Service Center and is also responsible for operation of a number of other clinics.  She discussed the problems of rising costs of health care and the drop in reimbursements from insurance companies.  Even though last year’s profit margin for the Medical Center was very low they were able to tap into money that the state owed them for indigent services.  Dr. Garson and Dr. Howell are attempting to bring the Medical Center and the School of Medicine under one system.  It is one of their goals to stream-line the system.


The minutes of the July meeting will be approved at the September meeting.  There were no committee reports.  Sharon Heyka requested assistance with the co-chair duties as one of the co-chairs had to step down.  Anyone interested should contact her at  The meeting was adjourned. 


The next meeting will be September 19 at 10.