Board Retains Blue Cross/Blue Shield as Health Care Plan Provider
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Aug. 27, 2013) – Action items that included a decision to retain Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Kansas City as the University of Central Missouri’s health care plan provider were approved by the University of Central Missouri Board of Governors Friday, Aug. 23.
The board’s decision was made after a presentation by Rick Dixon, director of human resources. Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Kansas City, which currently is the university’s health care plan provider, was one of five bidders that offered proposals for university coverage as part of a review process that began in fall 2012. The university sought proposals to help the institution meet challenges presented by the rising cost of health care premiums, and current and upcoming challenges presented by the Affordable Care Act.
A committee of 13 individuals that included faculty members, support staff, professional staff, and bargaining unit employees recommended retaining Blue Cross/Blue Shield for the next two years. Their recommendation was based on factors that include the company’s rates being lower and their services equal to or better than any other providers, their adaptability to different plan designs, and the company’s positive, well-established reputation among university employees. The university will begin immediately to work with Blue Cross/Blue Shield to determine rates and plan designs for Fiscal Year 2014.
In other business, the board approved the purchase of the annual software maintenance and support contract renewal for Banner applications at a cost of $460,862 for the period July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014. The university will work with Sungard HE to provide the upgrades. The Banner system includes applications that are related to student information, student enrollment, human resources, payroll, budgeting and financial reporting, financial aid, and much more.
After a presentation by Jim Graham, vice provost for technology, the board approved the purchase of the annual renewal of software, support maintenance, and hosted services for the Blackboard suite of products. It will be obtained from Blackboard at a cost of $315,782 for the period of July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014.
Blackboard applications have been on campus for 15 years, and their predominant use has been in support of traditional classroom instruction and online instruction. On the average more than 6,500 unique students and faculty members make a connection to Blackboard on a daily basis. UCM updated its contract with Blackboard two years ago. This action executes year three of that agreement.
Following a presentation by Shari Bax, vice president for student engagement and experience, and Amy Kiger, chair of the tobacco policy implementation committee, the board approved a change in an article that clarifies two policy components. This includes a clarification that during exempted public events tobacco use would be allowed only in designated parking lots adjacent to an event. It also clarifies that tobacco can only be used only on the 18-hole golf course at Keth Memorial Golf Course, not at other facilities nearby such as the clubhouse. The policy becomes effective Jan. 1, 2013.
The board approved changing the name of the Women and Gender Studies minor program to “Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.” According to Deborah Curtis, provost and chief learning officer, the trend for Women’s Studies at other institutions has been towards adding the subfield of “sexuality” to the name of such programs. Sexuality studies are an interwoven, yet distinct subfield of gender studies, theoretically and in practice. The change in program name is also useful for those who want to emphasize the study of that field distinctly on their degrees. If an individual has a minor in Women’s Studies, for example, and wanted to work at a sexual assault prevention program, noting his or her academic background in sexuality studies would be helpful.
As part of the Walton Stadium District Improvement Project, the board approved naming and minimum gift recognition opportunities enabling certain rooms, facilities, offices and lockers within the complex to be named for individuals who support the project.
The board also approved a recommendation to submit an application to the Health and Educational Facilities Authority of the State of Missouri (MOHEFA) for the purpose of issuing debt financing to provide refinancing for the 2009 Student Recreation and Wellness Center Bonds and financing the costs of the planned mixed-use residential facility. This is intended to save money on interest and reduce the weighted average maturity of bonds from 16 to 13 years for the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. It also allows the university to begin working on bond documents needed for the new mixed-use residential facility.