What's Really Happening - 2006/05/03

 

 

What's Really Happening

Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of May 3, 2006

ABOUT THE IN-SERVICE DAY BLOOD SCREENINGS

Several faculty members have raised questions about the possible implications of the blood screenings being offered on In-Service Day.

Although these screenings are said to be confidential, recent court cases in at least two states have held that such information is proprietary-that is, it belongs not to a patient and the patient's physician but to the company that performed the screenings. Since the screenings involve no doctor-patient relationship, there is not necessarily a legal presumption of confidentiality, regardless of statements to the contrary.

The results may in fact be shared only with the employee, but the insurance provider (which subscribes to the demands of the bottom line rather than to the Hippocratic Oath) retains "ownership" of the information. The health profiles provided by these blood tests will become part of records maintained by the insurance company rather than a trusted physician. How this information might be used in the future-even to affect the cost of health care or your future access to insurance-is reason enough to consider carefully who will possess privileged medical data about your most personal health conditions.

PRESIDENT'S POLICY = SIGNIFICANT INCREASES IN INSURANCE COSTS

Based on the insurance proposal that the College is likely to accept for the coming year, it appears that the more than 60% of employees who currently have health care coverage under the Alternate 2 Plan will face a 46% increase for single coverage and a 44% increase for family coverage. This is the direct result of the President's unwillingness to increase the College's share of health care costs.

Last year the President and the Board shifted all health care cost increases to employees and decreased the College's health insurance costs at the same time they increased CSCC's cash reserves by several million dollars.

Ironically, increases in the cost of Alternate 2 Plan (what the administration refers to as the "high" plan, which provides coverage close to what employees had before last year) would have been held down to less than 8% under two proposals received by competitors. However, these bids were rejected (in favor of a 13.9% increase) because they are "counter to what CSCC has been trying to achieve." That is, the President supports a policy that forces employees to pay a larger share of insurance and health care costs. The President has convinced the Board to hold its own costs neutral while shifting all cost increases to employees, and the steep increases in costs of the current Alternate 2 Plan are intended to force employees into the other plans that increase their out-of-pocket expenses.

The insurance industry and its mouthpieces use the term "consumer-driven" to describe what are actually "employee-funded" insurance plans. Employees pay a greater and greater share of health care costs while employers put more and more money in the bank. Something has to change.

CSEA SPONSORS IN-SERVICE SESSION ON HEALTH CARE REFORM

Dramatic and ongoing increases in health care costs are at the center of most employee- employer conflict in the nation these days, as witnessed by the 70% increases in costs to CSCC employees last year for the same health care coverage as well as substantial increases in employee costs of insurance for the coming year. CSEA is sponsoring an In-Service Day session by the Single-Payer Action Network (SPAN), a nonpartisan Ohio group interested in health care coverage for all citizens. Consider attending the afternoon presentation to find out what you-and the College-can do to address the unnecessary and unfair shifting of costs to employees.

NATIONAL NURSES WEEK

We acknowledge and salute the faculty and students of Columbus State's Nursing program as we approach National Nurses Week, May 6-12, and its theme, "Nurses: Strength, Commitment, Compassion."

Over 400 Ohio nurses recently visited the Statehouse to lobby legislators to prohibit insurance companies from discriminating in coverage against those with biologically based mental illnesses and several other issues. Political action on behalf of our professions is a critical part of our occupational and faculty roles.

First observed in 1954 to mark the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale's mission to the Crimea, National Nurses Week focuses on the essential contributions the profession makes to American society.

CSEA WEB SITE-TIMING IS EVERYTHING

Our reminder about our web site unfortunately coincided with upgrades and migration being performed by the site's host. These actions temporarily prevented access to www.cseafaculty.org, where you can now learn more about the history of CSEA, review back issues of What's Really Happening, and look up aspects of the last collective bargaining agreement.


What's Really Happening is produced by the Communications Committee of the Columbus State Education Association. We welcome your comments, news, and insights.

Steve Abbott, President / x5096
Karl Rieppel, Vice President / x2500
Amy Brubaker, Secretary and Association Representative / x5068
Greg Goodhart, Treasurer / x5431
Darrell Minor, Parliamentarian / x5310
Bill Mundy, Association Representative / x5176
Dr. Jane McDowell, Association Representative / x2656 
Dave Busch, Association Representative / x5079
Dr. Charlie Gallucci, Association Representative / x5499
Leslie Smith, Association Representative / x5302
Dr. Wendy McCullen-Vermillion, Association Representative / x2693
Lisa Schneider, Association Representative / x5124


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