SENATE COMMITTEE ON FACULTY BENEFITS
The Senate Committee on Faculty Benefits, the Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits, and the Health Care Advisory Committee: Coordination of Duties
Implementation: Upon Approval by the President
Introduction and Rationale
The size and complexity of Penn State University are factors that necessitate the involvement of many parties in making decisions regarding the benefits plans, programs and services provided to employees. In particular, decisions regarding health care affect faculty and staff and their families on a very direct and personal level. Representation from many different stakeholders and experts is essential in providing guidance to senior administration in making decisions regarding health care and prescription drug benefits that will be acceptable to the employees and to the University.
Three different committees are charged with exploring questions, concerns, and opportunities regarding employee benefits and providing direction and recommendations to senior administration. Two of these committees are composed on the principle of shared governance with representation from university wide stakeholders. One committee is composed on the principle of strategic expertise and implementation of benefits decisions with linkages to the two shared governance committees. This report should help to clarify the function of each committee and the collaborative relationships between the three committees. In addition, recommendations associated with the ongoing functions and collaboration of the committees will be included.
University Faculty Senate Committee on Faculty Benefits
The University Faculty Senate Committee on Faculty Benefits is responsible for advancing consultation to the University through the shared governance body of the University Faculty Senate. Reports from this committee have the benefit of full Faculty Senate deliberation and approval, and recommendations on benefits are forwarded to the President with the weight of this full Faculty Senate approval. This committee represents the breadth of the Faculty Senate, including one retired senator and key administrative members of the Office of Human Resources.
According to the duties described by the Senate for the committee, the Committee on Faculty Benefits shall investigate and be the faculty’s voice on the adequacy and other attributes of the University’s provisions for total compensation (salaries and benefits), and any other associated perquisites affecting conditions of faculty employment. It shall maintain liaison with the Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits (JCIB) and the Health Care Advisory Committee (HCAC).
Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits (JCIB)
The Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits is a representative committee of all University employee constituencies. JCIB includes appointed members, representing the University Faculty Senate, the Staff Advisory Council, Retirees, Nurses’ collective bargaining unit, and the Teamsters’ collective bargaining unit, in addition to key administrative members of the Office of Human Resources. As a broadly representative unit, JCIB provides the opportunity for diverse views from across the entire employee group. JCIB can refer action items and reports on issues that they believe require shared governance deliberation to their parent committee of the University Faculty Benefits who can choose to support the presentation of those reports to the full University Faculty Senate.
The duties of the Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits include reviewing and making recommendations to the Senate through the Faculty Benefits Committee on policies relating to the University’s insurance programs including life, medical, dental, and vision, as well as other areas normally defined as fringe benefits, including, but not limited to retirement and tuition remission. It shall be an advisory body to the Office of Human Resources and other appropriate administrative units in the formulation of all policies affecting insurance and benefits.
Health Care Advisory Committee
The Health Care Advisory Committee (HCAC) was formed following the Health Care Task Force report released in April 2014. The task force was formed in late 2013 and was charged with examining health care at Penn State. It provided a framework of strategies for keeping University health insurance costs down, improving employee health, and better communicating changes about employee health and health care.
The committee is comprised of faculty, staff and administrators who have expertise in the healthcare field or who have direct responsibility for health-care related work for the University. Original members included health care practitioners; academic experts in the disciplines of healthcare and insurance; and administrative representatives for human resources, budget and finance. In fall, 2015, the Chairs of the University Faculty Senate Faculty Benefits committee and the Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits were added to the membership.
The Health Care Advisory Committee is an administrative committee with members who have relevant expertise in health care policy and practices and serve the administration in key positions of the Office of Human Resources and Finance & Business. HCAC is not a representative committee, but solely an administrative advisory committee. Specific issues and items of importance for University health care benefits can be referred to the JCIB for broad University wide representative consultation, and/or to the FB committee for advancement through the shared governance consultative route of the full University Faculty Senate.
Any of these three committees might originate ideas regarding benefits and health care insurance in particular; however, integration and a few key shared memberships across the three committees provides greater strength in the unique character of what each committee brings to the overall consultative process on any specific issue. Varied perspectives are inherent in the particular focus and membership of each separate committee. In order to support the essential need for integration, the Chair of the University Faculty Benefits and the Chair of the Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits serve on the Health Care Advisory Committee. These individuals provide oral reports on the work of the JCIB and HCAC to the Faculty Benefits committee at regular meetings. Communication between the committees is achieved through common memberships of the committee chairs on more than one committee and through representation from the Office of Human Resources on each committee.
- The Chair of the University Faculty Benefits and the Chair of the Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits will continue to serve on the Health Care Advisory Committee.
- Each October, the Committee on Faculty Benefits will sponsor an annual report from JCIB to provide a summary of benefit changes, changes under consideration, costs to the University and employee, and other issues discussed during the previous calendar year.
- Ad hoc committees regarding benefits, such as the steering committee recently created to evaluate and make recommendations regarding a new third party administrator for health care and prescription drug benefits will include representation from the three committees.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON FACULTY BENEFITS
- Susan Basso
- Renee Borromeo, Chair
- Victor Brunsden
- Amy Dietz
- Mark Horn
- Peter Jurs
- Cassandra Kitko
- James Miles
- Jamie Myers
- Willie Ofosu
- Erica Smithwick, Vice-Chair
- Greg Stoner