Amy Schwartz, former associate director of the N.H. Institute of Health Policy and Practice, has been named director of the Health Care Cost Containment initiative. Her new role will have her working full-time systemwide to help create and implement strategies aimed at holding the line on health care costs across USNH.
Programs currently under consideration include working with UNH Health Services to provide health care services on campus for faculty and staff; creating incentives that would encourage employees to use providers who offer a high level of care at lower overall costs; auditing paid insurance claims for accuracy, and intensifying employee education on health care cost and price differences.
“This is a logical extension of the Healthy UNH initiative,” says Dick Cannon, vice president for Finance and Administration. “This separate initiative is intended to bring more focus to a systemwide effort solely aimed at reducing the rate of increase in total health care spending.”
Cannon noted a variety of approaches, tailored to each campus, will be experimented with and tested.
A brown bag series focusing on health care cost containment will be made to UNH departments. Other departments at universities and colleges in the system may ask to have the series take place on their campus as well.
Says Schwartz, “USNH employees are the frontline consumers of health care, and any ideas they may have that would address cost issues are welcome. Input is valuable and key to the success of the initiative.”
USNH Chancellor Ed MacKay adds, “Health care costs are a significant factor in determining what we are able to provide in compensation to employees and in pricing of tuition and fees to students. With the shift to self-insurance we have an opportunity to capture and re-deploy savings to the collective benefit of the campus community.”
Systemwide, USNH will spend an estimated $66 million on health care benefits in 2012. UNH’s share of that is $46 million; Keene State College, $9 million; Plymouth State University, $9 million and Granite State College, $1.5 million. (Numbers are approximate.)
Schwartz encourages employees to contact her with ideas, suggestions or questions. She can be reached at email@example.com.