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Minutes: October 15, 2008

    3 p.m., Wednesday, October 15, 2008
    School of Medicine Administration, Board Room 103

PRESENT: Drs. Armstrong, Bennett, Bergles, Brayton, Chou, Chuck, Cooke, Cromwell, Efron, Geller, Green, Honeycutt, Herman, Honeycutt, McCarthy, McGrath-Morrow, Mooney, Nussbaum, Pomerantz, Reading, Sargent, Stivers, Wong, Yaster, Mss. Fairman, Nguyen, and  Foy.
ABSENT: Drs. Allaf, Barker, DeLeon, Fine, Flynn, Goldstein, Halushka, Huang, Ishii, Leahy, Li, Magaziner, Maragakis, Molinaro, Pidcock, Resar, Robinson, Schramm, Tompkins, Tufaro, Yehia, Ms. Oliver

GUESTS:   Drs. Dorman and Rosenstein, Mss. Conway, Gottlieb, Hayes, and Heiser.

I.  Minutes

The minutes of the September 17, 2008 meeting were approved.

II. Chair’s Report – Dr. Armstrong

    Nominees for member-at-large were solicited; the election will take place at the November meeting.
III. Benefits Update – Charlene Hayes, Vice President for Human Resources and Heidi Conway, Director of Benefits

    Ms. Conway outlined the goals and strategy of the benefits program.  Cost containment, education, and wellness strategies for employees, and efficient processes to support plan administration were identified goals.  Key changes for 2009 for faculty and staff include a rate increase and rate relief for employees earning $40,000 or less in 2009.  Bargaining unit employees will move to a three tier prescription co-pay and will see increases in dental cost sharing and short–term disability costs.

    It was noted the medical insurance plans (EHP & BC/BS) are self-insurance products and rates are based on utilization and health care cost trends. The University’s 2009 cost for benefits is projected to be $320 million, a third of which supports health care.  A five-year plan has been implemented to bring employer/employee contributions closer to market and peer institutions.  This strategy results in a large percentage of the cost shifting to the employee.  As the EHP plan has been more heavily subsidized, the impact of the five-year contribution strategy plan will more than triple the employee contribution by 2012 for individual plan enrollees in EHP.  Care First rates will almost double in the same time frame.  By 2012 the rates for the two major health plans will be similar, if not exact.

    Ms. Conway asked that faculty look at the “Total Awards Statement” that summarizes the dollar value of all benefits provided by the University.  Faculty were reminded of the annual enrollment period October 21 through November 10.

    The Health Assessment Questionnaire will be available again this year with a $100 incentive for completion.  Aggregate data extracted from the Health Assessment Questionnaire is helpful in planning education and wellness strategies for employees.  The Health Assessment privacy protection statement has been modified based on concerns raised last year by the Medical School Council.  Several health initiatives through the WorkLife program came out of the 2007 Health Assessment Questionnaire.

    In response to questions, Ms. Conway acknowledged the 2008 transition to MEDCO, the pharmacy provider, was not smooth.  A number of lessons were learned from this experience, especially more effective ways to communicate with faculty.  There was discussion regarding certain drugs not being covered.
    There was also discussion about national and world-wide coverage available under the EHP plan versus the BC/BS program.

    Plan design was addressed.  Ms. Conway reported health plan and pharmacy plan design is decided by the Institution.  Two School of Medicine faculty members were reported to have been involved in plan design.

    It was the consensus of the Medical School Council that communication is still an issue.  Ms. Hayes is working on different communication strategies for the future.

    Although not a topic for today’s benefits presentation, faculty sick leave is a topic for future Medical School Council consideration.

    Dr. Armstrong thanked Ms. Hayes and Ms. Conway for their presentation.

IV. Policy on Faculty Interaction with Industry – Julie Gottlieb, Assistant Dean for Policy Coordination, Todd Dorman, Associate Dean for Continuing Medical Education, and Beryl Rosenstein, Vice President of Medical Affairs

     A draft policy on Interaction with Industry was presented with the goal of getting faculty feedback in the early stage of policy development.  Issues around faculty/industry interaction have received much national press starting with a June 2006 article in JAMA.  The draft policy addresses what are appropriate and inappropriate interactions between Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, faculty, staff, trainees, and industry.

    The goal is to have policies in place that will ensure objectivity in decision-making and foster trust from patients and the public.  The policy will apply to all faculty, staff, students, trainees, and volunteers of all Johns Hopkins Medicine member organizations and Johns Hopkins Medicine member sites.

The draft policy covers some 15 areas of interaction including gifts from industry, food, unrestricted grants, CME, industry-sponsored talks, drug samples, industry-sponsored scholarships, travel grants, ghost-writing, site access, purchasing, consulting, technology transfer, and research support.  Each of the 15 identified areas of interaction were addressed with policy recommendations.

    Many of our peer institutions have policies or are in the process of developing policies.

    Faculty input to this policy is critical.  Members of the policy committee are available to present the draft policy at departmental faculty meetings.  Coordination is through Ms. Gottlieb, Office of Policy Coordination.

    Dr. Armstrong thanked the presenters for early involvement of the Medical School Council in the process.  She encouraged members to bring this issue to their departmental meetings and asked that Ms. Gottlieb return to make another presentation when the policy is in final form.

V. Other Business
    There being no further business this meeting was adjourned at 4:55 p.m.

                            Respectfully submitted,

                            Mary E. Foy

Future Medical School Council meetings:

All meetings will be held in the School of Medicine Board Room (SOM 103), 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

November 12, 2008
December 10, 2008
January 21, 2009
February 18, 2009
March 18, 2009
April 15, 2009
May 20, 2009
June 17, 2009