Staff Congress
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MARCH 1, 2004


Darlene Allen Gaylena Cline Linda Kegley Amy Moore Rhonda Sloan Jonell Tobin
Ed Beam Rhonda Crisp Donna King *Pam Moore Doug Snedegar *Rick Williams
T. Bumgardner Mike Hopper M. LaFontaine Lora Pace Stephanie Stewart
Lisa Caskey Kristie Jenkins Jeffrey Liles Belva Sammons Willis Taylor
*Joy Cecil David Jessie Rhonda Mackin Dallas Sammons Cindy Thompson

*Denotes member was absent

Guests: Roger Barker-Director of Human Resources, Suzanne Hogge-Associate Director of Human Resources, Kim Cowley & Mariah Ogilvie-Commonwealth Administrators Representatives, Gene Caudill-Director of Physical Plant and Staff Regent

Chair Pace called the meeting to order at 1:04 p.m.  A quorum was present.  Guests were welcomed.

Motion: To approve the February 2, 2004 minutes as submitted
  Proposed:  Rep. Kegley Seconded:  Rep.LaFontaine
Called for Vote: Passed


Chair's Report Chair Pace announced we will have the opportunity to ask health insurance questions during the 'discussion' portion of our meeting.  

Employees were sent an email memo from Dr. Eaglin saying that there would be no retirement incentives offered.  Employees are welcome to pursue retirement and, according to our retirement system, come back to work if there is a position available and they are qualified, etc.  Staff Regent Caudill said there would be no incentives offered across the board, but there could possibly be an incentive offered to an individual according to policy.  Roger Barker said he didn't think it would be an incentive offered, but PG-57 allows for negotiation.  

Chair Pace still doesn't have any information about the budget committee the President mentioned last month. She will let us know as soon as she has information. 

Vice-Chair's Report No report. 
Secretary's Report No report. 


Committee Reports

Credentials and Elections Rep. LaFontaine reported that the committee had met.  They sent letters to three Staff Congress members removing them from congress due to excessive absenteeism.  The members removed are Rebecca Holbrook, Technical/Paraprofessional Category, Terry Mays and Lake Kelly, Service Maintenance Category.  

The committee prepared a memo to send out regarding the upcoming election.  There are 12 positions to be elected this year.  Two positions are for two-year terms.  Ten positions are for three-year terms.  The timeline for the election is as follows: (1)Nomination forms will be distributed as soon as possible.  (2)March 15-reminder for nominations sent to staff members. (3)Friday, March 19-deadline for nominations.  Must be hand-delivered to Rep. LaFontaine or Rep. Cline.  (4)  Sample ballot will be distributed March 29, the Monday after Spring Break.  (5)  Paper ballots will be available on Monday, April 5 and must be in by Monday, May 10.  They must be hand-delivered, not sent through campus mail.  (6)  The computerized online election will be Wednesday, May 12 from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.  (7)  Newly elected representatives will be notified on May 18.  

For individuals who do not have computer access, there will be computers available at two locations to do online voting.  Locations are as follows:  111 Howell-McDowell Conference Room and the Conference Room in the Rice Maintenance Building.  Both locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

University Standing Appointments No report, but Vice-Chair Stewart is working on getting the committees updated online.
Fiscal Affairs No report.  Chair Pace reported that the motion from last month had been sent to VP's Walters and Weathers.  Staff Regent Caudill said he had looked at the parking lot.  The university can not put up a handrail down the middle of a driving ramp because that would be leading pedestrians into the traffic flow.  The solution is a set of steps, but the area is very steep and the steps would go out into the road.  He will keep us up-to-date.
Personnel Policies and Benefits Rep. Hopper reported that the resolution regarding the University Benefits Committee approved at last month's meeting has been sent to Faculty Senate.  They have been debating different modifications.  Rep. Hopper said Faculty Senate might want to have co-chairs with one of the co-chairs being the chair of this committee and the other co-chair being the chair of Fiscal Affairs.   As of this morning, no resolution has come from Faculty Senate.  Roger Barker said he thought it would be a first reading last Thursday, but Faculty Senate decided not to do that.  It might be a first reading this Thursday.  

Old Business

Rep. Mackin said as a point of clarification, the money the ADS's are receiving is tied to a reclassification that takes effect July 1.

Rep. LaFontaine reminded members that the reason three members were removed from Staff Congress is because they had either missed three consecutive meetings or had missed five meetings overall this year.  If members think they are close on absences they should check with the secretary or a member of the Credentials and Elections Committee.

New Business - none


Questions for Commonwealth Administrators Representatives:

Q:  Have there been reimbursements yet?
A:  Yes, some people have received checks.  
Discussion:  Some staff members have received checks with no explanation.  When HR was contacted, they were told they would be receiving a bill from the hospital for that amount.  Some people might receive a check and spend it, thinking that the bill has been taken care of.  Staff Regent Caudill said when this plan was originally presented to us, he thought the payments were made directly to the hospital.  Human Resources will send out information to clarify this issue.

Q:  Explain the timing of reimbursements.  We were all under the assumption that once a bill has been submitted by the doctor or by us, we would get automatic reimbursement with very little turnover time.  Through some other discussions we heard reimbursements would be done once a month.  Is that true?
A:  For medical reimbursement, some employees have chosen to be automatically reimbursed when claims are processed and some employees have waived automatic reimbursement which means they have to submit their medical bills themselves to get reimbursed.   CA representative Kim Cowley said some providers file claims with the insurance company daily, but some only file claims once a week, once a month, bi-weekly, etc.  This could make a difference in when employees get reimbursed.  

Q:  How many employees waived reimbursement and would employees be better off doing the waiver and submitting bills themselves?  
A:  Roger Barker said 97% of employees went with automatic reimbursement and 3% waived automatic reimbursement.  Ultimately, it will work very smoothly in the way it was designed in the beginning.  The CA Reps will explain how the process works per the previous question.  Ms. Cowley said claims are processed every day, but because MSU is self-funded, CA sends a request for funds to be placed into the claims account once a week on Monday morning.  Once they receive confirmation of funding, the checks are mailed.  If a claim comes in once the checks have been written, then it will be another week before checks are written again.  If you opted out and submit your own claim, it is still the same turnaround time.  Funds are transferred electronically from MSU to CA into the claims account.  Ms. Ogilvie said she would like to address the one month turnaround time for reimbursements that was mentioned.  A program was set-up with our pharmaceutical company so that every time we go to the pharmacy it goes through a company called IPS.   Twice a month IPS sends a report to CA telling them every time an MSU employee or dependent has used the program in the two-week period.  Once a month, CA runs the files sent to them and reimburses employees for their co-pay.  This is to keep employees from having to save every receipt from the pharmacy.  Generally, it takes about 10 days after the end of the month for claims to be processed.  January has already been processed.  

Q:  If an employee has a problem getting reimbursed, do they need to call Human Resources or the 1-800 number on the insurance card?
A:  Either is fine, but HR will have to call the insurance company anyway so the employee might as well call the insurance company themselves.  Employees will receive two EOB's for each claim.  The first EOB will show the patient responsibility, then the patient responsibility will become an HRA claim and the employee will receive a check with the second EOB.  Not every claim will have a check.  

Q:  When were the January pharmaceutical checks sent out?
A:  Checks were sent out about a month ago.  

Q:  Did Morehead choose the once a month reimbursement for the pharmaceutical plan?  Were there other options for Morehead to choose from?
A:  Ms. Cowley said Morehead chose for employees not to be responsible for turning in pharmaceutical receipts.  CA can work with individuals if they really need to submit their own receipts to get reimbursed faster.  

Q:  There was an entry-level employee who had to borrow money to pay for  medicines this month and has not received reimbursement yet.  No matter what our income is, most employees would like to be reimbursed immediately.  Is it too late to waive automatic reimbursement and submit our own claims?  Did we choose once a month by not opting out?
A:   Yes, by not opting out, employees chose to go with the monthly cycle with no submission of receipts.  The university could have chosen monthly or quarterly reimbursement.  MSU chose monthly.  There was no daily option.  These files will only be run once a month.  There are eleven hundred employees at MSU.  We have some flexibility on options, but we don't have the right to ask them to run these files daily.  It would cost us in the long run; not this year, but next year when new rates go into effect.  Employees can still sign a waiver form, but once this gets going it will run like clockwork.  

Q:  If a person opts out now and submits their own claims, will they receive reimbursement for pharmaceuticals on a weekly basis?
A:  If a person opts out, pharmaceutical claims will be put into the normal weekly reimbursement cycle.

Q:  If we opt out of one thing we opt out of both; is that correct?  (Medical and Pharmaceutical)
A:  Yes.

Q:  Am I able to use all of my HRA money now if I have a major illness, or can I only use so much HRA money per month?
A:  All the HRA money you are entitled to is available for use now.

Q:  Are we going to get a booklet explaining our plans to us?
A:  The booklets have been reviewed and sent back for changes.  Hopefully, they will be printed soon.

Q:  Employees were told they did not have pharmaceutical coverage when they went to get their prescriptions filled at the beginning of the year.  Has this been resolved?
A:  This has been resolved.

Q:  If we did not opt out, but we have a medical expense that does not go through our insurance company, such as dental work, can we submit those bills and get reimbursed through our Flexible Spending Account?  
A:  Yes.  

Q:  How long would it take to get reimbursed?  Bills were faxed to CA two weeks ago with no response.  Also, it is hard to get through to a representative.  If you leave messages, you don't get called back.  Are there only certain representatives MSU employees can talk with?
A:  There are two reps for MSU employees.  They will assign a temporary person to help with MSU concerns until things level out.

Q:  How is child care reimbursement taken care of?
A:  It is on the same weekly reimbursement cycle.  For child care, they only send out what has been put into the account.

Q:  Why does it take so long for claims to be processed?  Some employees get bills from their provider months later and they have never heard anything from their insurance company.
A:  That is not an insurance issue, that is a provider issue.  The provider has obviously not submitted the claim to the insurance company.

Q:  How do we get competitive prices on our prescriptions?  Is there a list of prices charged at local pharmacies?  Some pharmacies charge more than others.
A:  Restat tries to get pharmacies to charge the same price for drugs, but that does not always happen.  They do everything they can to get pharmacies to charge the same price.  Employees are encouraged to call different pharmacies and ask prices before they purchase their medicine.  Some employees have done this and the pharmacies were willing to give this information.

Q:  How did the university come out on claims last year?  Did we come out in the red or the black?
A: We came out in the red last year, by about $400. 

Q:  How far into this year do we have to settle a claim from last year?
A:  The date of the service determines everything.  

Q:  Do employees on the POS plan have to get a referral to go to a specialist?
A:  No.  Referrals are not needed for anything.  Some people get referral and pre-certification confused.  There are certain procedures that need pre-certification, but the provider is responsible for that.

Q:  Could HR put information about these processes in their monthly newsletter so that employees will better understand?
A:  HR will send out information and possibly offer open meetings.  
Discussion:  Some members felt we should get our plan booklet before any meetings are scheduled.  Suzanne Hogge said the items covered last year are covered this year, only at different levels of benefit.  Those summaries are on the HR Web site and were included in the open enrollment packet, so the booklets wouldn't be mandatory before meetings are scheduled.  Some members feel the chart that we received is hard to understand and the booklet would clarify things.  

Q:  Why have we not received our plan booklets?
A:  Roger Barker said these documents are hard to write because there are several layers of legalities.  There are three brand new books this time:  POS, CDHP, and HRA. (It has a book of its own.)  They can't get them overnight.  He said coverages have not changed, we are covered for the same things.  The only thing changed is the pricing structures.  The referrals is a different issue, but that is a function of HMO's that was done away with.  

Q:  If an employee has two insurance policies and this insurance is the secondary insurance, does the employee need to submit both insurance cards to the provider?  Is this insurance even needed?  
A:  The doctor will bill both insurances.  This insurance might pay things the other would not pay.  Maybe both insurances are not needed because by the time the employee pays both premiums, it might end up being more expensive than the benefit received by having two insurances.  

Q:  Can the person get reimbursed for the co-pay amount paid by using the other insurance?
A:  Yes.  The employee needs to opt out of the automatic reimbursement and submit their own claims to get reimbursed for the co-pay amount.

New Business

We went back into 'New Business' for the following motion:

Motion: To move the April Staff Congress meeting from April 5 to April 12, due to pre-registration
  Proposed:  Rep. Mackin Seconded:  Rep. King
Called for Vote: Passed

Chair Pace said we will assume that we can still meet in the Riggle Room.  She will check to make sure.  Rep. B. Sammons said there is a possibility, if we receive budget information, that we might have to have a special called meeting.

Regent's Report 

Staff Regent Caudill reported there was a workshop a week ago last Friday and a regular Board meeting this Friday.  There was some budget discussion during the workshop and they presented a list of ideas they are studying to help meet the budget shortfall.  They represent several controversial issues so people need to remember they are only ideas.  Ideas included: contracting custodial services, reducing academic programs, requiring direct deposit of pay, and increasing drop/add or other fees.  None of these ideas have been firmed up.  There is very little in the board agenda about budgets this time.  There might not be any information by April.  

The Board will be interviewing four search firms to look at the possibility of hiring a consultant to run the presidential search.  The four firms will be making presentations this Friday to the Board.  It will cost $50,000 - $100,000 for a firm to do the search.  After the consultant is hired, the actual search committee will be chosen with the advice of the consultant firm.  A search committee should be named sometime the first of April.  The university will move as fast as they can.  Candidates should be interviewed sometime in the fall.


Our next meeting will be April 12 at 1 p.m.  We will assume at this time that it will be in the Riggle Room.

Our annual luncheon will be June 7 at 11:30 a.m. in the Commonwealth Room.

Spring Break is coming up very soon.

The first round of the OVC Tournament will be tomorrow night against Jacksonville State at 7 p.m.  The women will be playing at Austin Peay at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow.

Motion: To adjourn
  Proposed:  Rep. LaFontaine Seconded:  Rep. Jessie
Called for Vote: Passed

Minutes submitted by:  Rhonda Crisp, Secretary