Sept. 12, 2011
Regents address auditor’s recommendations, approve bid for health care coverage
The Northwest Missouri State University Board of Regents during its regular meeting Friday, Sept. 9, took significant steps to addressing recommendations raised in a report released by State Auditor Thomas A. Schweich, in addition to approving a bid by health care provider BlueCross, BlueShield of Kansas City that will result in decreased coverage costs for University employees.
In response to the auditor's findings that the University had not solicited competitive bids or proposals related to auxiliary services contracts, Northwest Vice President of Finance Stacy Carrick and Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Matt Baker presented a timeline to the Board for soliciting competitive bid proposals related to auxiliary services.
Using the timeline, Carrick said the University will bid, award and transition to a new facilities contract July 1, 2012. She said Northwest would transition to a new bookstore contract by Aug. 1, 2012, and have a new dining contract in place during early May 2013. All would be completed well within the 24-to-36-month timetable Northwest outlined in its response to the auditor's findings.
Carrick explained the process timeline which includes, among other steps, meeting with campus stakeholders, conducting research, contacting potential vendors and benchmarking with other universities, completing on-site presentations and evaluating the bids before awarding the contracts. The University also must consider timing of awarding the new contracts and the impacts they will have on students. For that reason, Carrick recommended staggering the contracts rather than working through each of them at once.
Acting on another concern raised by the auditor's findings, the Board approved a one-year agreement between the University and the Northwest Foundation, effective July 1, 2011, and delegated funding to the Foundation that had been withheld under a previous Board decision. The new agreement, which defines duties and responsibilities of the Foundation and University, is subject to approval by the Foundation Board of Directors.
The Board also voted to award the bid for the University's health care plan to Blue Cross, Blue Shield of Kansas City, effective Jan. 1, 2012, as well as bids to Delta Dental for the University's dental plan and Ameritas for the University's vision plan.
The health care plan will result in an overall decrease of 5.5 percent in coverage costs while providing $20,000 for wellness funding. The contract includes an opportunity for the University to participate in a positive claims history with a refund possible from the premiums paid versus claims incurred. The contract also offers a rate cap of 12 percent for the Jan. 1, 2013 renewal.
The recommendation to award the bid was brought to the board by a health care task force formed last year.
"It was a great surprise and a great pleasure to see that the contributions would decrease in the Blue Cross, Blue Shield proposal," said Mary Throener Northwest's vice president of human resources and organizational effectiveness. "It also signifies that we would have a renewal that could be decreased, and we could have better family coverage, which was the whole intent in forming this task force."
Throener also noted the wellness funding provided by Blue Cross, Blue Shield helps Northwest continue to offer wellness programming for its employees. In one of its most successful wellness endeavors, Throener noted, 42 people joined a Weight Watchers group formed at Northwest last year and have lost 1,360 pounds collectively.
In other business, the Board approved revisions to Northwest's Student Code of Conduct to clarify the scope of the code and the procedures used to address behavioral concerns.
The Board also approved the naming of the circle drive west of Bearcat Stadium to Scott Bostwick Drive in honor of the Northwest football coach Scott Bostwick, who died June 5. Northwest will honor Bostwick during Family Day activities and its football game Sept. 24. Among other tributes, there will be decals on players' helmets, a red circle painted on each sideline with the initials "SB" and a tree planting at Bearcat Stadium.
The Board of Regents develops policy and has responsibility for sound resource management of the University, and determines general, educational and financial policies.
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