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HR Monthly Bulletin February

Please welcome our new bearcats!


Randy Hanson
Beef Production Technician
Agricultural Sciences


Abha Niraula
Research Librarian/Acquisition 
Librarian


Wade Whittington
Custodian
Facility Services

Policy & Required Training Updates

Policy updates

New Missouri law requires employers to provide leave to victims of domestic or sexual violence

Gov. Parson recently signed the Victims of Economic Safety and Security Act (VESSA) into law, which requires employers with 20 or more employees to provide unpaid leave to employees whose family or household member is a victim of sexual or domestic violence.

Employees should provide at least 48 hours advance notice, unless providing such notice is not practical. Up to two weeks of unpaid leave is provided to any employee seeking medical attention, counseling, victim services, legal assistance, safety planning or relocation during any 12-month period. Documentation may be required. The employee’s group health insurance will be maintained while on leave.

Mandatory training

Northwest is again partnering with Vector SafeColleges to provide training related to a variety of topics throughout the 2021-2022 academic year. The deadline to complete the following trainings is July 1, 2022.

  • FERPA
  • Hazard Communications
  • Drug Free Workplace
  • Organizational Profile
  • Email & Messaging Safety
  • Password Security Basics
  • Active Shooter: Run, Hide, Fight

Additional Trainings and Development Opportunities

Career Pathing 

Employees may register for Career Pathing opportunities on the Human Resources website.

Opportunities to Get Involved

Northwest Affinity Groups

Affinity groups are designed to create safe spaces for members to share and process experiences. As allies, our affinity group also allows participants the opportunity to identify ways in which we can appropriately use our privilege to bring about social change. For more information, visit Northwest affinity groups.

 

Affinity group and Employee resource groups logos, listed are ABE, LGBTQIA, Ally and Community Connections

 

Staff Council

Northwest Staff Council represents a unified voice for all Northwest staff. To learn about staff, upcoming events or voice concerns, visit Northwest Staff Council.

FY23 budget review

Staff Council is hosting a presentation with Vice President of Finance and Administration Stacy Carrick at 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, in the J.W. Jones Student Union Ballroom, to preview the FY23 budget that is under development.

Employee recognition

The Employee and Recognition Committee of Staff Council has initiated the use of Kudoboard! This is a way for any employee to give thanks to colleagues who have gone above and beyond and deserve recognition. Each month Staff Council representatives will send links from the previous month’s Kudoboard, so you can view all of the kudos and see if you received a shout-out. We encourage everyone to use this frequently as a way to say thanks to our coworkers who work so hard.

You can now access the Kudoboard at myNorthwest. To view past Kudoboards and submit a shout-out for February, visit www.nwmissouri.edu/intranet/employee/.

Popping into spring

Staff Council will deliver popcorn on Wednesday, March 23. Look for more details in coming weeks.

Student Employment

Northwest Awards and Recognition Ceremony 

Monday, April 4
3 p.m., refreshments; 3:30 p.m., program 
J.W. Jones Student Union Ballroom 


The Northwest Awards and Recognition Ceremony is a collaborative celebration involving the Office of Student Involvement, Student Success Center, Office of Human Resources, Student Senate, International Involvement Center, Library Services, Graduate School, and Student Employment to recognize excellence among Northwest students and employees.

Northwest employees and students are invited to enjoy refreshments from 3 to 3:30 p.m. The program begins at 3:30 p.m. and will conclude by 5 p.m. Dress is business casual.  

National Student Employment Appreciation Week, April 11-17

Student Employee & Graduate Assistant Celebration Ideas
Students make up an important and valuable part of the workforce at Northwest. Acknowledging the contributions made by student employees and graduate assistants encourages and motivates them to do their best. Click this link with suggestions for ways to let your students know how much their work is appreciated. Use these tips during National Student Employment Appreciation Week or any other time!

Contact Student Employment with any questions at 660.562.1140 or contact Paula McLain at pmclain@nwmissouri.edu.

Mental Health and Wellness Resources

The Office of Human Resources highlights the following resources that employees may use as necessary. Mindful by BlueKC, the EAP and TAO are completely confidential.

Family Guidance partnership to assist employees

Northwest is committed to providing employees with a resource to assist with mental health needs.

The University has established a partnership with Cali Lloyd at Family Guidance, who can provide assistance to employees with locating available resources based on need. Cali will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. In addition to those days, she can be available as needed by appointment.

Contact Cali via email at clloyd@fgcnow.org.

This service is confidential, and employees will work directly with Cali for assistance.

For more information, contact the Office of Human Resources at 660.562.1127.

Mindful by BlueKC

Mindful by BlueKC is a behavioral health initiative dedicated to reducing stigma around behavioral health in our communities while making care accessible and affordable for members. Mindful by Blue KC is a commitment to covering the health needs of the whole person and comes to life as a set of tools and resources to address stress, depression, anxiety, substance use and more. This ensures that members can access and afford the behavioral healthcare they need.

 

Mindful Advocates are available 24/7 and are licensed behavioral health clinicians who match members to providers and guide care plans. Mindful Advocates may be contacted at 833.302.6463. For more information, visit Mindful by BlueKC initiative.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

All Northwest employees are eligible to use Ability Assist Counseling Services sponsored by The Hartford. Read about the many benefits this program provides »

TAO-Therapy Assistance Online

This is a private online library of behavioral health resources. It is a free and confidential resource available to faculty and staff as well as students. For more information, visit TAO-Therapy Assistance Online

Wellness Services is offering a variety of online programing. Follow Wellness Services on Twitter and Instagram at @nw_wellness for updates.

New Directions resource program center

The center provides reliable information about a variety of mental and behavioral health topics. For more information, visit New Directions Health Resources.

For information about a specific substance use, visit New Directions Substance Use Disorders Center, or call the Substance Use Disorder Hotline at 877.326.2458.

If you have any questions, please email healthybearcat@nwmissouri.edu.

Benefits & Wellness Information

Free Fruit Friday

To help celebrate National Nutrition Month, the Northwest Student Dietetic Association (NSDA) will continue its tradition of providing free fruit on select Fridays during March.

Employees and students may pick up fresh fruit in campus buildings from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. March 4 at Garrett-Strong Science Building, March 18 at B.D. Owens Library and March 25 at the Administration Building.

Members of the NSDA will hand out a mixture of apples, oranges and bananas on a first-come, first-served basis.

Individuals also can receive information about National Nutrition Month, including ways to incorporate cultural foods, meal planning and snack ideas. The campaign’s theme for 2022 is “Celebrate a World of Flavors.”

The initiative is sponsored by NSDA and Kappa Omicron Nu, the national honor society for human science students.

MOSERS educational programs

MOSERS offers educational programs to help members learn information about their benefits as they progress through their career and experience different life events along the way. 

Newer Employees & MOSERS Webinars: Start learning about the state benefits administered by MOSERS.

    • For employees who are newer to the state with at least six months but less than five years of service (not yet vested)
    • Speakers include MOSERS and MO Deferred Comp
    • Daytime and evening sessions available
    • Sessions last approximately 90 minutes
    • Register via GoTo Webinar for a daytime session or evening session.

Mid-Career Webinar: Learn how different career and life events may affect your pension benefit.

    • For employees with at least five years of service (vested) and 10 or more years until retirement eligibility
    • Speakers include MOSERS and MO Deferred Comp
    • Daytime and evening sessions available
    • Sessions last approximately two hours
    • Register by following step-by-step instructions for enrolling in a webinar via myMOSERS and GoTo Webinar.

Ready to Retire Sessions: Learn about the retirement process and how different decisions may impact your pension benefit.

    • For employees within five years of retirement eligibility
    • Speakers include MOSERS, MO Deferred Comp, MCHCP and Social Security
    • Daytime and evening sessions available
    • Sessions are full-day or part-day or evening depending on the audience

Stay up to date and visit www.mosers.org/educationfrequently for more information, including schedules and how to register. 

MyBlueKC mobile app now includes virtual care

Blue KC offers members digital tools to allow quick access to health insurance plan information to support them along their health journey.

Today many members enjoy the convenience of Blue KC Virtual Care from their mobile device or laptop computer. Virtual care offers a fast, simple way to see a doctor 24/7 for sick care or to make an appointment with a behavioral health provider.

This week Blue KC Virtual Care moved from its own, standalone app to the MyBlueKC mobile app. This change means virtual care is a new feature in an app that members frequently use. With just a few taps, members can have a video visit with a doctor as well as get benefit information, view claims, download digital ID cards, and connect to health and wellness programs – all in one place. Make sure you have updated to the latest version of the MyBlueKC mobile app through your device settings for the virtual care functionality.

For instructions on how to get the MyBlueKC app, click here


Reimbursement for over-the-counter COVID tests

On Jan. 10, the Biden administration released new guidance requiring health plans to reimburse covered individuals for over-the-counter (OTC) COVID-19 diagnostic tests. This policy went into effect Saturday, Jan. 15, and will remain in effect through the end of the public health emergency.

Coverage is limited to eight tests per covered individual per 30-day period for OTC rapid antigen diagnostic tests. Tests must be for personal use, not for employment purposes, have not or will not be reimbursed by another source and may not be resold. OTC COVID-19 tests purchased prior to Jan. 15, 2022, are not eligible for reimbursement.

How does it work?

Eight OTC tests with no out-of-pocket expense

Members who have pharmacy benefits through Blue KC are eligible to obtain eight tests directly from their local in-network pharmacy with no out-of-pocket costs. They simply show their Blue KC member ID card at an in-network pharmacy and ask them to process up to eight tests through the pharmacy benefit*. Please note, members are limited to a maximum of eight tests with no out-of-pocket costs at the in-network pharmacy; the tests can be obtained all at once, or incrementally over time, but cannot exceed the maximum of eight. Members who purchase OTC COVID-19 tests and pay out of pocket can be reimbursed as described below. Additional tests are limited to eight per 30-day period per member.

*If the pharmacy will not process the member’s test(s) through their pharmacy benefit the member is asked to follow the subsequent test reimbursement direction listed below.

OTC test reimbursement:

Individuals will be reimbursed for 100 percent of the cost of the test. Sales tax and delivery charges are not covered and will not be reimbursed. Individuals can use this form to request reimbursement for tests. Please note the reimbursement eligibility requirements, including the link to a list of FDA-approved tests, are listed at the top of the form.

Types of tests eligible for no out-of-pocket expense and/or reimbursement:

Tests must be authorized or approved by the FDA. For a list of EUA authorized tests, click here and enter OTC into the list search box located under the article titled "Individual EUAs for Antigen Diagnostic Tests for SARS-CoV-2" and above the table. The list may be subject to change. Please note, tests must be self-administered and self-read. Any COVID-19 test that requires a healthcare provider to administer or read is not eligible under this OTC benefit but may be eligible under your medical benefits.


Foster Fitness Center classes and Heart Health challenge

Exercise videos are available at any time when instructors are not available at the Foster Fitness Center. A yoga class is available by video and with an instructor. 

The February Heart Health Challenge ends March 4. This is a self-challenge commitment to a minimum of 150 minutes of any activity per week. The cost is $10 with a T-shirt and exercise/nutrition information provided to participants. Click here for details.

Group Exercise Schedule

Monday 

Pilates @ 4:15 p.m. Coached by Abbie T

Yoga @ 5:15 p.m. Coached by Erin 

Tuesday 

Circuit Spin @ 4:15 p.m. Coached by Katie B

Core + @ 5:15 p.m. Coached by Gracie

Wednesday

Pilates @ 4:15 p.m. Coached by Abbie T

Thursday

HIIT @ 12:15 p.m. Coached by Kelby D

Core + @ 5:15 p.m. Coached by Gracie


Prescription drug list updates

The Blue KC Medical and Pharmacy Management Committee reviews and maintains the Prescription Drug List. The Committee, consisting of practicing physicians and pharmacists in the Kansas City area, holds quarterly meetings to evaluate new drug therapies and review drug utilization issues. Medications are evaluated based on drug safety and costs.

Changes to the prescription drug list have been communicated directly to impacted members and also to in-area providers in case patients contact them to discuss alternative medications. 

If you have specific questions about these changes, contact Blue Cross Blue Shield at 816.395.2222.


Extension of COVID-19 coverage and policies

Blue KC remains focused on ensuring our members have access to the care they need as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced they will extend the COVID-19 public health emergency period through Apr. 15, 2022.

As a result, Blue KC is announcing we will go beyond the public health emergency period and extend the following coverage and member relief through June 30, 2022, for Commercial plans (ACA Individual and Family plans will observe the COVID-19 benefit coverage until the end of the emergency period only).

  • Waiving all member cost sharing for virtual (face-to-face), telephone, email or text visits for medical services or behavioral health therapy (cost sharing still applies to physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy). Please note, effective Jan. 1, 2022, this waiver does not apply to Health Savings Account (HSA) compatible health plans to the extent such coverage would disqualify the member from making a contribution to an HSA.
  • Prior authorizations will be waived for diagnostic tests and for outpatient covered services that are medically necessary and consistent with CDC guidance if diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 tests ordered by a physician, and associated services, will continue to be covered with no cost sharing for Blue KC members. Note: Tests and services that are work-related, as well as public surveillance testing are not covered.

Due to the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, after Dec. 31, 2021, we will no longer waive all member cost sharing and copayments for in-patient hospital admissions due to the diagnosis of COVID-19


Beware of financial planning emails

It has come to our attention that some employees have received emails from financial planning companies implying they are partnered with MOSERS. The content of the emails suggests that members must pay for a meeting with a retirement counselor and that they can learn how to increase their retirement savings. This is inaccurate. MOSERS has not authorized any outside financial planners to advise our members on their MOSERS benefits. 

As a reminder, the services offered through MOSERS and MO Deferred Comp are provided to MOSERS members at no cost. In regard to increasing their retirement savings, MOSERS members have the ability to meet with MO Deferred Comp financial education professionals to help make savings decisions as they prepare for retirement.

We advise all MOSERS members to stay vigilant and double-check the addresses of email senders before clicking any links. 


MO Deferred Compensation 

The MO Deferred Compensation team of education specialists offer individual appointments via web or phone and live webinars. If you have questions about your MO Deferred Compensation account or want to learn more about saving for retirement, visit MO Deferred Compensation Event Registration


Mindful by BlueKC

Mindful by BlueKC is a behavioral health initiative dedicated to reducing stigma around behavioral health in our communities while making care accessible and affordable for members. Mindful by Blue KC is a commitment to covering the health needs of the whole person and comes to life as a set of tools and resources to address stress, depression, anxiety, substance use and more. This ensures members can access and afford the behavioral healthcare they need.

Mindful Advocates are available 24/7 and are licensed behavioral health clinicians who match members to providers and guide care plans. Mindful Advocates may be contacted at 833.302.6463. For more information, visit Mindful by BlueKC initiative.


A Healthier You (AHY)

A Healthier You is Blue KC's health and wellness program focused on achieving outcomes by improving the health of members. AHY offers helpful tools and resources as well as a personalized empowerment portal and mobile experience, uniquely designed to learn more about each member and provide the appropriate support, incentives and interventions for the members health journey. Members also may earn points for completing health actions and can potentially win digital gift cards to retailers such as Amazon, Target and Walmart.

For information about logging in to your AHY portal, visit Accessing A Healthier You. To learn how to earn points and be entered into the gift card sweepstakes, visit Live well, earn points, & reap the rewards


Blue365 deals

Blue365 is a free health and wellness discount program offered to Blue KC members for year-round discounts on gym memberships, fitness gear, healthy eating options and more. To register and browse available discounts, log in to your mybluekc.com portal and select Health Programs in the Health & Wellness menu. For more information, visit Join Blue365® and start saving today!.


Campus recreation offerings 

The Foster Fitness Center, the Student Recreation Center and the Hughes Fieldhouse walking track are free for all employees and spouses to use. Employees and spouses must complete the assumption of risk and waiver of liability form on CatPAWS in advance of using the Foster Fitness Center. For more information, visit Fees & Memberships.  

The Mozingo Outdoor Education and Recreation Area (MOERA) is located nine miles east of Northwest at Mozingo Lake Recreation Park. It offers a variety of outdoor programs, including a high ropes challenge course with a Carolina climbing wall, Alpine obstacle tower and TDC team-building course as well as a shotgun range and canoes and kayaks on the lake. Contact crec@nwmissouri.edu or 660.562.1759 for information and reservations. 

View a complete listing of campus recreations hours here


Mosaic offerings

Mosaic Medical Center-Maryville offers a personalized weight management program called Healthy Lifestyles. The program is designed to help people of all ages and sizes achieve an improved quality of life through medical nutritional counseling, teaching and lifestyle changes. For additional information about the program, visit Healthy Lifestyles: Personalized Weight Management Program.

Employee Discounts

State Employee Discount

The State Employee Discount Website provides Missouri State Employees and Retirees with opportunities to purchase deeply discounted tickets for events the whole family can enjoy. In addition to attractions and entertainment, the website offers year-round savings for education, products, services and technology.  

To learn more information on other products and services available, visit State of Missouri Employee Discount website.


T-Mobile

View T-Mobile's perks for Northwest Missouri State employees »


Home Chef

Home Chef is recognizing our nation’s educators and school support personnel with a 50 percent discount on their first scheduled Home Chef meal kit and a $10 discount on five subsequent deliveries. Simply use code EDU50 at checkout to begin receiving your education discount.

Get Started with Home Chef

Home Chef makes home cooking simple. Their fresh, weekly meal kits are customized to your liking and delivered straight to your doorstep. Minimize your trips to the grocery store and distress your evenings with delicious, pre-planned meals starting at just $6.99 per serving. Here’s how it works:

  • Select recipes each week that fit your preferences.
  • Use their Customize feature to upgrade, swap, or double up on your favorite protein.
  • Receive fresh, pre-portioned ingredients delivered to your door.
  • Effortlessly create exciting dishes with step-by-step recipe cards.

Your education discount is available at //homechef.com/edu and, if you are already a customer, you can verify with ID.me on the payment page of your account to begin receiving 10 percent off all future orders.

Miscellaneous

5KXCV-KRNW Run for Radio

KXCV-KRNW is sponsoring its third annual virtual 5K run/walk April 9-23 to support local public radio and healthy living. Run or walk anywhere at any time, send your results to helenk@nwmissouri.edu and post a photo or video on social media tagging KXCV-KRNW. Registration is $25 or $15 for Northwest students. Register by April 1 to receive a T-shirt before the race on Friday, April 8. Proceeds support the programming on your local NPR station, KXCV-KRNW.

To register for the 5K Run/Walk, go to https://www.kxcv.org/events/5K.htm.


COVID-19 vaccine

The Wellness Center has the Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. Walk in between 2 and 3 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, or call 660.562.1348 for an appointment.


Paperless billing

Would you like to sign up for paperless billing? We can email your billing statement to the email address of your preference. You can sign up at any time by completing the Faculty/Staff email billing address under Personal Information in your CatPAWS account, or complete the information at https://www.nwmissouri.edu/studentaccounts/paperless-billing.htm


Reminder: Bearcat Food Pantry

The mission of the Bearcat Food Pantry is to provide a source of food and necessities for Northwest students and employees experiencing food insecurity and hunger. The food pantry is located in the J.W. Jones Student Union and is accessible from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Northwest accepts food donations for the pantry at the Student Engagement Center and the Office of Student Affairs located on the second floor of the Student Union. For a list of most needed items, visit Bearcat Food Pantry. Monetary donations to support the food pantry should be directed to the Northwest Foundation and are tax-deductible.


We Gotchya!

We Gotchya! is supplying feminine products in high-traffic ladies rooms on campus. For more information about We Gotchya! visit wegotchya.org.


Friends of International Students

Friends of International Students (FIS) is a community-based organization established to match interested area individuals and families (friends) with international students at Northwest. The program goals are to provide support to the students as they become adjusted to their new home and to promote friendship and understanding between people of different nationalities.

FIS is recruiting more friends to connect with international students. Friends are asked to make contact with assigned students at least once a month during their year-long commitment to the program. Contact can take many forms, including family dinners, attending sporting events, pumpkin carving and various other activities involving two-way cultural tradition sharing. For more information or to apply, contact board members at FIS@nwmissouri.edu or visit www.nwmissouri.edu/international/services/friends/.


Does your department need office supplies?

Please check the “How to Purchase Office Supplies” guide. Various binders, hanging file folders and other office supplies are available at no cost to departments at the Materials Distribution Center.


Purchase Requisition Training Videos

The Purchasing Department has created instructional videos explaining how to create a purchase requisition and a Central Stores purchase requisition in Banner/INB. The videos are available in MyNorthwest - Employment Resources


Workstation Safety Guidelines

It is important for employees to apply good ergonomic practices. To view a complete list of ergonomic suggestions, visit Workstation safety guideline.