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Penn State's Health Care Task Force Looking Into Costs, Best Practices

by on December 11, 2013 6:45 AM

Health care policies at Penn State are getting a thorough review in the university's Faculty Senate.

Faculty members were updated on progress at Tuesday's meeting, getting briefed on how far the health care task force has come. The task force was set up after the furor over the university's new wellness program, established earlier this year.

Many faculty and staff members objected to being asked to take a survey, which asked for information about personal health records. The survey was later discontinued. The university insists that changes are needed to help contain spiraling health care costs.

Keith Crocker, chair of the task force, says the point of the task force is to make a dispassionate review of the various possibilities for health care initiatives at Penn State. Crocker says that the task force has already met twice, and will have bi-weekly meetings through the new year.

Crocker says the task force has come up with five different subcommittees so far, and has given them each specific charges.

The benchmarking committee is reviewing health care practices at other academic institutions, while the general trends subcommittee, is looking at health care changes in the public and private sectors.

There is also an academic studies subcommittee, which looks more at academic studies of health care as opposed to simply looking at other institutions similar to Penn State.

A communications subcommittee is focusing on education, consultation and transparency issues.

"Communication is absolutely critical as the university community moves forward with [the problem] of healthcare," Crocker says.

The crux of all the subcommittees though, Crocker says, is the health spending committee. Crocker describes this subcommittee as the nuts and bolts of the subcommittees.

"They will get into the numbers to see what we're spending our health care dollar on here at Penn State," Crocker says.

Crocker says all of the Penn State faculty and staff should feel free to bring concerns about health care to any of the members of the task force.

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Adam Lidgett is a freelance reporter who has covered news and feature stories in State College and Centre County.
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