Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Listen to the Regents: March 17, 2015

As promised, we are now completing our archiving of the Regents meeting of March 17-19. The missing piece was the initial session on March 17.

The meeting began with public comments dealing with the timing of Regents meetings (complaints that students had a hard time attending during exam week), graduate tuition, ans sexual assault policy. The Committee on Compliance and Audit raised concerns about whether audits would look at capital spending projects and the problems in implementing the UCPath payroll system. There was then discussion of cybersecurity ranging from illicit accessing of UC online systems to lost laptops with confidential data.

The Committee on Health Services heard reports from the campus medical systems on their financial status. Variations in financial health were said to be reflections of the mix of patients covered by private insurance vs. those covered by Medi-Cal (Medicaid) and Medicare. Private insurance was said to cover 140% of costs which then allows cross subsidization of Medi-Cal and Medicare patients where reimbursements are below costs. There was discussion of the impact of the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") on the health provider marketplace. The campus medical chiefs essentially wanted more autonomy from Regents' oversight, arguing that the market had become more competitive. Some Regents were sympathetic; others questioned whether the campus med centers' ability to "do deals" was impeded by the current arrangements. When pushed, the med chiefs said they wanted more autonomy on executive pay. High pay was politically sensitive but that's what the labor market required. David Feinberg of UCLA, who stepped down as chief, indicated that pay was one factor in his departure and that current oversight had led to a situation in which his UCLA job was no longer "fun." There was review of various mergers, acquisitions, and expansions at the various med centers. The UCSF merger with Children's Hospital Oakland apparently was not going as smoothly as anticipated.

In the final segment, a student rep pushed for more immediate funding of student mental health facilities and said more funding should not await a deal on the budget. UC prez Napolitano said she would try to expedite more funding for student mental health although she did not give an ironclad guarantee there would be more funding.

You can hear the meeting at the link below:

No comments: