Renee Binder, M.D., Chair

Meeting of March 20, 2001

PRESENT: Chair Binder, Vice-Chair N. Oppenheimer, D. Perry, P. Robertson, S. Norberg, J. Barbaccia, S. Eisendrath

ABSENT: G. Gregory, J. Howley, C. Harrington

The meeting of the Committee on Faculty Welfare was called to order by Chair Binder at 12.05 p.m. on March 20, in room S-226. A quorum was present.

Announcement from the Chair

Chair Binder introduced all attendees, and welcomed Michele French from the Office of the President.

Chair Binder invited S. Norberg to the next meeting to make a special presentation on the definition of "disability" in short-term and long-term disability plans available to UCSF faculty and staff. S. Norberg accepted this invitation.


Special Presentation by Michele French, Director of Workforce Planning, Office of the President on Mental Health Benefits and Health Plans Available to UCSF Staff and Faculty.

M. French distributed a table which summarized different insurance plan vendors and their different provisions for mental health care. The Committee reviewed this table, and raised the following points of discussion:&Mac183;

  • Certain health plan cards are easier to understand than others. It is important that all be "user friendly".
  • Each card should clearly display a telephone number for customer queries.
  • The "carve-out" feature of the health plans segregates mental health from general health care, and impedes fast and effective referrals by primary care physicians.
  • Direct access to providers by patients is desirable, but would entail cost inflation.
  • Current levels of communication between health care providers, health plans and patients are inadequate.

In response to these points, M. French made the following observations:

  • Many of the problems associated with mental health benefit provisions within health plans are encompassed by larger problems regarding managed health care in general.
  • A proposal to provide UCSF with a Health Care Facilitator has been approved. This Facilitator will provide liaison between vendors and faculty members who are consumers of health care, and will act as a source of advice and knowledge for faculty members. Pilot schemes run at UC Berkley and UC Irvine have been enormously successful, and will provide the template for future programs.

ACTION: M. French agreed to add member-to-provider ratios and helpline numbers to the table. She will email this table to Senate staff E. Langdon-Gray who will distribute it via email to the committee.

Review of Systemwide UCFW Activities – R. Binder, Chair

R. Binder announced to the Committee that:

  • Health care costs are rising. The Governor has approved an increase in the benefits package for UC employees which is not high enough to cover this increased cost. Staff and faculty may have to contribute more to their health plan costs, if they want to keep the same level of benefits. The Systemwide Committee considered whether faculty members would prefer to pay higher premiums or to pay increased co-pays. The merits of both were discussed and the Committee was asked to consider the issue further.
  • Educational Fee Waiver – the target for implementation of the educational fee waiver for UCSF faculty and staff with over five years service has been set for Fall 2001.
  • The UC system hopes to hire 7000 additional faculty members over the next decade. Housing costs in certain areas, especially the Bay Area, are a significant barrier to recruitment. A blue ribbon systemwide Housing Task Force has been appointed to examine the housing crisis, and come up with proposals that will meet the housing needs of faculty, staff, and students. The Task Force will include representatives of the Academic Senate, students, campuses, the Office of the President, the Board of Regents, and outside consultants.

Report of Chancellor’s Housing Committee – N. Oppenheimer, Vice-Chair

The Housing Committee will meet on March 22. A survey designed to collect data from faculty regarding their current housing situations was sent out at the end of January. Many faculty did not receive this survey, and it will be resent in the near future.

The meeting was adjourned at 1.02 p.m.

Senate staff:
Elizabeth Langdon-Gray
Senate Analyst
Tel. 476.1307

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