June 25, 2009
The University has come through a challenging year—with some rebuilding to do—but with its momentum very much intact. That would not have happened without the tremendous support of faculty and staff throughout our operations. Thanks very much for your help, cooperation, and understanding.
Over the past several months, President Shalala’s Dialogue letters have advised all of us about the steps the University has taken to deal with the economy, while maintaining focus on our core mission and the quality of the services we provide.
Our financial position has stabilized. The Board of Trustees approved our FY2010 operating plan, which minimized, though didn’t totally avoid, negative impacts on our people. As you know, salaries are frozen for FY2010, but we were successful in avoiding large numbers of layoffs or benefit reductions. Best of all, there will be no increase in the cost of parking in University-owned facilities.
There’s a saying that you should never waste a good crisis, and the administration is trying to do just that. In an effort to improve communications, we launched the UM Responds Web site, which serves as a repository for University communications, cost-saving tips, financial planning suggestions, and other information.
We are also launching a Faculty and Staff Suggestion Program in response to dozens of excellent suggestions that have been offered over the last few months on matters ranging from cost savings to quality improvements to revenue generation. Suggestions should be realistic and specific and include a brief description of the intended results. Submissions can be made online. All suggestions will be reviewed by cross-divisional teams for the Miller School of Medicine and, separately, for the Coral Gables and Rosenstiel campuses. The teams will route suggestions to the appropriate division, school, or college for follow-up. Suggestions may be made for any area of the University, not just your own department.
For ideas that are adopted, the employee may receive a modest cash or other award in recognition of their creativity and initiative. Suggestions that are implemented will be listed online.
Let me touch on a few other subjects:
2008 TOTAL COMPENSATION STATEMENTS
Last year we launched a new Total Compensation Statement that was designed to provide a comprehensive summary of overall UM compensation, including both salary and benefits. Each employee's total compensation package is unique and based upon individual choices. During these economic times, it is important to understand all of the benefits available to you and to make the wisest choices for your particular circumstances. The University is committed to offering a comprehensive and competitive total compensation package that rewards dedication to our mission and helps attract and retain the best and brightest faculty and staff.
We hoped to have 2008 Total Compensation Statements available online via myUM, but technical issues have caused a delay in online availability—so we are going to go ahead and mail the statements, which should be received at your preferred mailing address (as listed in myUM) within the next two weeks. The statement is a convenient way to keep track of benefit programs in which you are enrolled and a useful tool for financial planning. Please review the statement and retain it with other important documents.
WELLNESS PROGRAM INFORMATION
A major focus of the University is to promote healthy living and overall well-being through UM Wellness Programs. These programs include preventive care services offered at no cost for UM/Aetna members, Weight Watchers at Work, year-round educational sessions, discounts and offers from the two UM Wellness Centers, and more.
We continue to look at ways to enhance UM Wellness Programs. This year a free annual skin cancer screening with a UHealth dermatologist and up to three visits with a registered dietician were added to the medical plan. As of May 31, approximately 215 members have taken advantage of the skin cancer screening. To make an appointment for your free screening, call 305-243-3729. For a list of registered dieticians in the area, click here. Last year, nearly half our faculty and staff had a free physical exam and we’re off to an even better start in 2009.
Participation in the University’s smoking cessation program has increased, as has enrollment in weight management programs. EAP Stress Management seminars and 30-minute relaxation trainings have also been well utilized. Click here to view the upcoming class schedule.
Many of you have completed Aetna’s confidential online Simple Steps Health Assessment and signed up for its online wellness program. Read some of your colleagues’ success stories here.
Miller School of Medicine Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt accurately points out that we can each lessen the likelihood of being adversely affected by the most common serious illnesses—cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The University and the Miller School have an array of programs and physicians that can help in that regard. To learn more about UM Wellness Programs, click here.
HEALTH CARE UPDATE
Most of the feedback regarding our move to Aetna has been positive. We have been pleased with Aetna’s performance in switching the University’s more than 20,000 covered lives to its system.
With the guidance of the Health Care Task Force and the Employee Benefits Advisory Council, we have begun working on the 2010 health care plan. Benefit enhancements under consideration include increasing coverage of autism to mirror new legislation that currently applies to fully insured health care plans (the University self-insures) and adding coverage for preventive CT angiography (an enhanced screening technique for heart disease). This has the potential of reducing health care costs in the long-term by speeding accurate diagnosis of cardiac problems.
Of course, we need to manage the total cost of the University’s health care plans, which exceeds $80 million. Our preferred strategies are to encourage healthy lifestyles and the use of the best physicians and facilities in South Florida, which happen to be part of the University of Miami.
Detailed information about plan design will be provided prior to Open Enrollment, which will take place October 19 through November 6.
SUMMER WORK SCHEDULES
Many of you are taking advantage of the four-day work week and other flexible scheduling during summer months. Feedback on the program has been positive. If you have questions about your area’s use of flexible summer scheduling, please speak to your supervisor.
Hurricane season is upon us. University leadership has already had its first planning meeting for what we hope will be an uneventful summer and fall. This year, we would like to improve our ability to account for each employee immediately after a storm. If you leave the area or are otherwise out of touch, please go to https://recover.miami.edu immediately after a storm and update your contact information, including your whereabouts. We want to know that you and your family are safe and accounted for. This is also a good time to review your personal hurricane plans to ensure that your home, family, and personal belongings are secure if a storm should come our way.
I hope you have an enjoyable summer. Thanks again for all of your efforts throughout a challenging year. If you have comments or suggestions, please send them to me at email@example.com. I appreciate all you do for the University.
Senior Vice President for Business and Finance
and Chief Financial Officer