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Benefits and Education Top List of Issues Discussed
at Chancellor Town Hall at Medical Center in Hillcrest

By Ioana Patringenaru | October 2, 2006

Health insurance, retirement and education were some of the hot topics discussed during a town hall meeting with Chancellor Marye Anne Fox Tuesday at the UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest.

The goal of the meeting was to talk about providing a great environment for employees, medical school students and nursing students and to discuss improving patient care, Fox told the audience. “You area a key part of UCSD,” she said. Fox answered employee’s questions and addressed their concerns.

Chancellor Marye Anne Fox
Chancellor Marye Anne Fox answers
questions during the Hillcrest town hall meeting.
Click here to view the video on September 26.

Marinel Weaver, a clinical social worker, said she has been faced with rising co-pays and is worried about benefit costs in the future.

Health care costs are increasing everywhere, Fox replied. UC is currently trying to find health care providers that will offer similar or better services at lower rates and hopes to stop or even reverse cost increases, Fox added.

Employees also asked about the future of the UC Retirement Plan. UC employees haven’t contributed to the plan since the early 1990s. At that time, UCRP had more than enough money to support itself, according to the UC Office of the President. But the university was still paying retirees. Without contributions, it was only a matter of time before that surplus went away. That tipping point would be reached in a few years, Fox said. But waiting until then would mean much higher contributions. Employees will start contributing a low percentage of their income in July 2007, the chancellor said. The current mandatory contribution to the Defined Contribution retirement plan will be redirected to UCRP, so employees won’t see a reduction in take-home pay, said Deputy Vice Chancellor David Bailey.

Meanwhile, Roger Caddell, a hospital assistant, asked whether the university could offer staff education programs at discounted prices. Career development funds are available to help pay for classes, Chancellor Fox said. Money is available in a campuswide fund, overseen by Equal Opportunity Director Paula Doss, said Vice Chancellor Steven Relyea. Opportunities include mentoring and internships. Additional information is available at:
http://blink.ucsd.edu/Blink/External/Topics/Policy/0,1162,282,00.html
The staff association also offers scholarships, Fox said.

Richard Ford, the director of respiratory care, asked whether there are any plans to provide tuition discounts for employees’ children. He added he has two children who are UCSD students. “Personally, I think that would be a fabulous thing to do,” the chancellor replied. But so far, the Regents have not been convinced that employees should be treated differently than other taxpayers, she said. The state already is pitching in at least $10,000 to $15,000 for each UC student, she pointed out. She also said the university can work with employees to design a financial aid plan for their children.

 

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