Saturday, September 10, 2011

Statement of NSHE Council of Faculty Senate chairs on health benefits

Today I delivered the following testimony to the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents:

I am Gregory Brown, chair of the UNLV Senate and speaking for the Council of Chairs. We want to express the great importance that faculty and staff across the System place on the issue of health coverage. Specifically, we want to express our support for the efforts of the Chancellor and Vice-chancellor Patterson and of the Chancellor’s Task Force to address, immediately and for the longer term, the need for an alternative to the current coverage offered by the Public Employees Benefit Program.

To support the assertion that this is among the highest priorities for our faculty and staff – let me give just one data point. The letter sent by the Chancellor in December 2010 to the PEBP board posing a series of questions, to which I linked on my website, generated 300% more traffic in a 3-month period than any other item I have ever posted. We thank the Chancellor for writing that letter and would remind the Board that the questions he posed remain largely unanswered by the PEBP Board to date.

We urge the Board to support the efforts of the Task Force to explore more cost-effective and more market-competitive alternatives are readily available for the longer term. We also urge the Board to consider as soon as possible the prospect of a supplementary plan for NSHE faculty and staff. The substandard benefits and limited customer service available from PEBP not only creates additional work for our HR staff and for our faculty leadership who are being asked by faculty and staff to provide information on the new plan that they cannot obtain from PEBP – but also and more problematically are a consistent factor in efforts to retain and recruit faculty and staff.

In short, the priority that the Chancellor, vice-chancellor and presidents have given this issue is shared by the faculty and staff, and we urge the Board to consider this a topic for action in the very near term.

1 comment:

  1. This is beyond important, it is indeed life threatening for many. Thank you for stepping up and going after what is both right and fair.