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Penn State Creates Health Care Task Force

President Rodney Erickson and Faculty Senate chair Brent Yarnal announced the formation of a health care task force Monday, which will work toward the university’s plan to reduce health care expenses for its employees.

The formation of the committee is a result of a push in September to suspend the penalty against employees who fail to comply with the “Take Care of Your Health Initiative.” The initiative required Penn State employees to complete a Wellness Profile, a biometric screening, and the Preventive Exam Certification. If employees did not meet these tasks, they would receive a $100 surcharge each month that would be subtracted from their paychecks. This penalty was ultimately suspended by the administration after a 93-15 vote in faculty senate due the growing concern over the surcharge and issues of privacy.

“The Task Force will examine the health-care alternatives facing the Penn State community and, in the process, consider both the costs to employees as well as the benefits to the University,” said Keith Crocker, the committee chair and Smeal professor. “We will benchmark current practice at Penn State against our academic peers, examine the voluminous literatures on the efficacy of the potential programs, and consider the trends more broadly in the changing health-care landscape. Our goal is to provide a dispassionate analysis of the potential paths forward.”

The task force consists of six faculty, five administrators, and two staff members with diverse backgrounds, who are specialized in assessing the current trends of corporate health care programs being implemented across the nation. From there, the committee will determine the most efficient and transparent alternative to controlling health care expenses.

“Everyone on the committee has deep expertise in issues that are directly relevant to the committee’s charge,” Yarnal said. “They’re all smart, thoughtful people that have shown time and again that they’re really big contributors. I feel very positive about the task force and what it’s going to accomplish.”

The task force will reveal its research to the Faculty Senate at its meeting on April 29, 2014.

About the Author

Leo Dillinger

Penn State Junior, Print Journalism Major, Minors in English and Sociology, Writer of Arts, Entertainment, News, Tomfoolery and Opinion.

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