From Molly Janczyk, June 23, 2007
Subject: 5/07 STRS Board Minutes: Health Care, Webcasting, PBM, Travel: RX coinsurance?
Each month I receive the typed STRS Board Minutes complete with comments and voting on issues. ANYONE CAN REQUEST THESE MINUTES OR AN AUDIO TAPE OF THE MINUTES FROM STRS: Joyce Baldwin, Damon Asbury's Ass't. BaldwinJ@strsoh.org
The minutes come in the mail about a month after the meeting. May's meeting included HC items and Webcasting.
1. Webcasting: pg. XVII Greg Taylor, Direc. of Information Technology Services (ITS) provided examples on cost and examples of technology for meetings to be broadcast over web with audio and video like a live broadcast.
To provide this type of service, ITS would need to make hardware and software upgrades including upgrades in the computer room and for the cameras in the Board Room with a start up cost of about $16,000. In addition, STRS Ohio Internet connection was not designed to handle a broadcast and staff would recommend a third party to help manage the load. Assuming 75 people per meeting viewed the feed simultaneously, the cost would be $900 per meeting. Additional staff would be needed. As with TV, it would take an associate or 2 to run cameras and perform vital tasks.
Laura Ecklar stated the genesis of considering webcasting came from a retiree at a meeting. Staff currently prepares audio CD recordings of each meeting and mails them free of charge to any member of the public who requests them. 11 people receive the CD recordings monthly so there seems not to be much demand.
Craig Brooks said since this request seems to have been from a small number of retirees, it seems the question is whether it makes sense to spend the money. He recommended the Board direct the staff to perform a survey to determine interest.
He also asked about the technology requirements for the end user (recipient of webcast).
Taylor replied in order to receive the webcast, viewers needed broadband Internet connection and a fairly recent PC (computer) or Mac as well as software this is commonly used for video and audio such as Apple Quicktime or Windows Media Player.
Cervantes asked if Committee members have heard members asking for this.
Ramser stated one or two wish to listen to live broadcasts but many retirees do not use Internet or computers.
Leone said he has had quite of bit of positive feedback on this but he thinks we need a survey before spending the money.
Meuser, Chair of the Committee on Webcasting introduced the second item of discussion on this topic: legal and policy considerations of webcasting.
Neville commented that the Board is only required to have a public board meeting and is not required to make or provide recordings but to have minutes available. He said everything the Board does beyond that subjects the Board to scrutiny which could focus on misstatements or offhand comments which are corrected before minutes are approved. ((For ex., someone misspeaks and then corrects themselves-someone could hijack the error only or use words out of context)). (I have to assume that Strickland's position on live broadcasts has limitations as no one argued this point and different agencies at times fall under different rulings).
Ramser expressed concern of cut and pasting to misrepresent what was said or to mock the Board with the possibility of the Website: "YouTube" as a place where snippets of the Board Meetings could end up.
Ecklar noted other issues: Staff and Board Members would have to be extremely diligent about correcting any misstatements by themselves or attendees as these could go unchallenged and appear to viewers as intentional. This will alter tone, dynamics and environment.
Broadcasts can change behavior of participants as with Columbus Public Schools broadcasts where grandstanding, theatrics and playing to the audience have resulted. ((Who doesn't remember Bill Moss showing up in fatigues)).
Ecklar cited multiple avenues of communication with membership: newsletters, Website, Board News, email news service, tapes and minutes provided. She suggested proceeding cautiously on this issue due to costs and pitfalls as well as lack of demand for CD recordings.
Chapman stated webcasting should only be offered if there is a demand and asked about archiving. Taylor said long term archiving is not compatible with using meeting minutes as records so short term archiving is more appropriate.
Leone said members are not as interested in minutes as seeing what the Board is doing, the thought process as well as the decisions.
Ramser commented on a lot of dead space as they don't always know when they will begin or end.
Brooks again said a survey is needed to find out what members want.
Taylor clarified if a webcast didn't need to be live, non meeting time could be removed and staff could post the broadcast of the meeting in sections on the STRS Ohio Website.
Leone thought that would be acceptable if available within a couple of days after meetings.
Chapman asked if this would use less broadband and Taylor responded this would eliminate or reduce the amount of money STRS Ohio would have to spend on outside firms since we would not see significant simultaneous demand.
Meuser asked the Board to decide possibility and implications of tampering with the broadcast.
Cervantes suggested feedback from Board members who talk with membership.
Leone said Ecklar raised important considerations and concerns for the Committee to consider at the next meeting.
All approved the foregoing report for review and the adoption of the recommendations of the Committee.
************PLEASE CONTACT A BOARD MEMBER WITH YOUR FEELINGS ON WEBCASTS to ensure you are heard.
2. Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PBM) OUS has asked to join OPERS, SERS, STRS on selection of a PBM. This increases the market presence and expertise in this matter.
3. Health Care (HC):
Nickell: Voluntary Medicare Advantage Plan could offer lower premiums, care management support and easier claims as no coordination of benefits with Medicare. Impact to HCSF could not be determined until recipients known.
OTC Prilosec, etc. discussed and info on this has been sent to you.
Bierdeman: Governor to take neutral position on HC legislation which is not unusual. HC legis. team also trying to involve employers and area meetings has been discussed along with strategy.
Russell: ARP (Offering Alternate Retirement Plans) : HB152: if successful, past selection rate will not be accurate as Private Vendors would aggressively market their products to new teachers in highly paid school districts and STRS Ohio benefits MAY NOT be accurately described as has happened in past with vendors saying ARP's are not affected by Soc Sec windfall and offset provisions.
Financially, new educators will select between STRS Oh at 12.5% of pay compared with ARP at 10% of pay and employers would have a financial incentive to guide new employees towards ARP's to avoid HC contributions to STRS.
Rehires would be eligible for a larger match at 105% the way the current bill is written for ARP's but only 50% with STRS as they would no longer be considered a teacher under the current bill so not under any reemployment restrictions (??????).
4. Travel Policy:
Leone move and Hayden seconded a motion that due to impending 15-20% inc. in HC for non medicare retirees and the increase in budget, a moratorium be placed on out of state Board travel not intended to stop inservice but in support of a comment of Aristotle Hutras, exec. direc of Ohio Retirement Study Council (ORSC) during the Board retreat stating you do not have to go to Florida for a good meeting. Leone feels more aggressiveness need be made to bring programs here and educational conferences be held in state.
Meuser lauded his in state program held in Jan. as excellent but feels not every institution comes to Ohio and the Board cannot cut itself off from opportunities.
Brooks supports continuing education and offered a limit of one conference per year or two as a compromise.
Leone cited attending out of state Board meetings did not make better Board Members using 8-2 voting record of the Board to view big ticket vendor contracts as an example. As a retiree, his HC increases by actions of the Board, so he is not in favor of educational expenses.
((Leone did not expect this to pass, but made this motion as a statement of sorts on policy. The original motion passed with Leon voting no, Brooks and Hayden abstaining and all others voting yes on the passage of educational expenses)).
Leone and Brooks also expressed concerns on the budget being too high and Leone said he would be watching expenditures in travel for following guidelines.
QUESTION: PLAN DESIGN AND PREMIUM CHANGES FOR 2008:
page. III: Recommended changes:
1. LOOK AT USING COINSURANCE INSTEAD OF COPAYS FOR RX DRUGS
PLEASE TELL ME 20% of a cost is NOT being considered as it would be prohibitive!