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Barron Appoints Health Care Advisory Committee

by on July 04, 2014 7:00 AM

Penn State President Eric Barron, in an attempt to get control of rising health care costs, has put together a Health Care Advisory Committee.

Barron announced the measure Wednesday in an email to the Penn State community.

The committee is in addition to the existing Health Care Task Force former Penn State President Rodney Erickson appointed during his tenure to review of the various possibilities for health care initiatives at Penn State.

Erickson formed the task force after faculty and staff members objected to being asked to take a wellness survey, which asked for information about personal health records. The survey was later discontinued.

Barron says more work needs to be done when it comes to health care issues.

"Much work has been accomplished through the Health Care Task Force. Its recommendations and topics for future investigation are extremely worthwhile. At the same time, we know the landscape for health care is rapidly changing and each year brings new challenges in balancing affordable, high-quality health care for our employees along with the costs of providing these benefits," says Barron.

Barron says university health care costs exceeded $220 million dollars this year, an increase of more than $12 million dollars.

"For this reason, I am setting up a health care advisory committee for the specific purpose of assessing and providing advice on the health care operational decisions faced by the University," says Barron.

The committee will assess current and future trends, emerging opportunities and provide thought leadership in the areas of insurance, health care delivery, health care spending, academic research, health and wellness initiatives, and communication.

Committee members include:

-- David Gray, senior vice president of finance and business, who will serve as committee chairman

-- Susan Basso, vice president of human resources

-- Bill Bird, D.O., vice chair of clinical services at Penn State Hershey Family Medicine

-- Kevin Black, M.D., chair of Orthopedics Department

-- JoAnne Carrick, campus director, Penn State Shenango; health care task force and faculty benefits committee of the senate

-- Keith Crocker, professor of insurance and risk management, College of Business

-- Joe Doncsecz – associate vice president of finance and corporate controller

-- Alison Franklin, graduate student, member Student Health Insurance Task Force

-- Robin Haas, director of employee benefits

-- Gary Langsdale, director of risk management

-- Paula Milone-Nuzzo, dean of nursing

-- Allison Newhart, counsel to the committee

-- Dennis Scanlon, professor of health policy and administration

-- Dennis Shea, associate dean and professor with health and human development

-- Rachel Smith, university budget officer

-- Regina Vasilatos-Younken, professor of endocrine physiology and nutrition

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Jennifer Miller is a reporter for She has worked in journalism since 2005. She's covered news at the local, state and national level with an emphasis on crime and local government.
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