Editor's note: The following statement was delivered to the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents during their meeting at University of Las Vegas, Nevada, Dec. 1, 2011.
Good Afternoon. My name is Shaun Franklin-Sewell. I’m the UNLV Faculty Senate Administrative Faculty Committee Chair, and I’m here on behalf of all UNLV employees to address you regarding our health insurance.
In order to gauge employee concerns about health care and Public Employee Benefit Program customer service and plan options, the Administrative Faculty Committee and the Fiscal Affairs Committee of the UNLV Faculty Senate and the Classified Staff Council conducted a survey of all UNLV employees
. Nearly one-third of UNLV employees responded, so we feel it is an accurate gauge of issues employees are facing regarding their health care.
Chief Executive Officer and Special Counsel Wasserman has received a copy of the survey report
, and at this time, I will only report the conclusions we were able to draw from the survey.
- The authors of the survey understand that the Public Employees Benefits Program is responsible for these changes. However, the comments received through the survey indicate that, despite UNLV’s best efforts at educating employees about the responsible party, many employees believe their leadership, both at the institution and system level, is responsible. One Academic Faculty member calls the plan “a real disservice to YOUR employees.” Another employee says, “UNLV should be ashamed of itself for providing such shoddy, expensive, confusing and limited coverage.”
- Additional comments received by the authors of the survey also suggest that the concern about an inability to recruit and retain top quality faculty and staff is greater than it was prior to the close of the last fiscal year, in part because of the changes to health benefits. One faculty member reports, “I am actively looking to separate from UNLV/NSHE because of this increase.”
- UNLV employees are suffering as a result of these changes. They are delaying medical care and not filling prescriptions. They are making very difficult choices between obtaining medical care now and waiting for a medical crisis. A classified staff member comments, “My breast cancer meds are $350 a month now, for generic, compared to $5 generic before. I can't afford that.” These changes have dramatically impacted employee morale.
- The Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents should direct the NSHE PEBP Task Force to proceed with all due haste to obtain other health coverage for its employees.
- As the Task Force’s research has already shown, the level of access to health care that our employees are receiving is inferior – both to what we used to receive via the Public Employees Benefits Program and to what employees of other private and public organizations in Nevada receive.
- The Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents should implement a supplemental insurance policy and/or provide a supplement to the dollars provided in the Health Savings Account.
- We are not seeking “added” benefits. We are seeking a return to an acceptable level of access to health care.
Thank you for your leadership, Chancellor Klaich, in creating the Task Force, and thank you for your leadership, Regents, in encouraging that the Task Force continue its mission. Finally, thank you Senior Vice President Bomotti for allowing us to present these results as part of your Task Force’s work.