Health System Academic & Research Employee Council
Meeting Minutes
January 19, 2006

Johy Betts called the meeting to order.

Our guest speaker, Brad Holland, Uva Ombudsman, proposed a website that would serve as an information board listing frequently asked questions and pertinent information for faculty and classified staff to access.  He requested a volunteer from our council to meet next week to discuss fleshing out content and location of the page(s) on the UVa website.  Johy will email Brad the volunteer’s name and contact information.  A brief discussion was held outlining the services of the Ombudsman.  Brad is a resource for employees who need help with conflict resolution or an employee looking for a contact name or department for a particular service they need.  The Ombudsman, like the Office of Faculty & Staff Employee Relations, does not deal with psycho-social problem resolution. 

Chris Loss from the Provost office announced that they are gearing up for the budget.

Alan Cohn, Director of the Office of Faculty & Staff Employee Relations, mentioned the new ideas Nat Scurry, Associate Vice-President and Interim Chief Human Resource Officer, is bringing the University Human Resources Department.  UHR is also undergoing renovations in an effort to make more services accessible to interested parties on the ground floor of the building.  He noted that Linda Way-Smith has resigned and her assistant, Jeff Overweg, will be the Interim Director of University Benefits and HR Governmental Affairs. 

Council representative Mary-Leigh Thacker discussed with Alan the “Chat with Nat” feature on the University Human Resources Department website.  The “Chat with Nat” feature is perceived to have an individual’s comments or questions rerouted to various departments within UHR versus a direct line to Nat himself.

Alan also talked about the new restructuring and how it relates to new and existing employees.  There would be no changes for existing employees and they would remain in the current system and subject to the State raises.  Employees hired July 1, 2006 and after will participate in a new system which will be designed this year and implemented in 2007.  In the meantime they will fall under our current system but hired knowing that they will be subject to changes.  It is important that employees understand that there will not be an implementation on July 1, 2006 and that careful discussion with input from employees will occur.  Existing employees will have the option to transfer to the new system every two years if they desire to do so.  Alan will provide a fact sheet of information soon.  

In new business, Johy mentioned the Executive Committee Council’s directive to improve practices which lead to a discussion about how the councils disseminate information.  Alan Cohn asked each representative present to list the ways they provide their department with updates and guest speaker information from the employee council meetings.  Generally, each representative used e-mail and their departmental bulletin board to pass along information.  There were a few departments who circulate their own newsletter or have staff meetings where they can share information with their co-workers.

Alan addressed the function of the link to the HSAREC website from the University website.  The link will be modified for a smoother transition to the HSAREC site.  An additional log-in will not be required from the health sciences side.  Folks entering the website from the University side will have to log-in to gain entry.

Johy mentioned there were some new departmental representatives and gave the changes to Della Marsh to update the master list.

In old business, Johy thanked those who contributed to the holiday families.

In Committee Reports, Mary-Leigh Thacker reviewed the Benefits meeting she attended.  She reported that open enrollment went well in which there was not a large shift of people changing their health coverage.  There were fewer complaints due to the fact that Southern Health no longer requires a referral.  The one major complaint revolved around an emergency room visit.  If you went to the ER, you were required to pay $30 to the ER attending physician in addition to the $75 copay to visit the ER.  There is a new Human Resources newsletter that you can subscribe to.  The link can be found on the University Human Resources website.  You can view information for employees and managers as well.  The next Benefits meeting will discuss Eldercare and the Long Term Care program.  Additionally, a new program is being offered to employees who carry Southern Health Insurance.  Ephit will individually tailor an exercise and diet program for employees.  It is an online service.  This topic lead to a discussion on whether or not an in-house exercise facility could become available to employees.  The housestaff office gym on the ground floor of Barringer Hall was mentioned as a possible work-out space for employees.

The November minutes were recently posted and Johy asked the council to review those along with October’s for approval during the next council meeting scheduled February 16th

The meeting was adjourned.