More Emphasis on Disclosure
In these sessions, attendees heard how to manage risk, address security concerns, systematically evaluate facility and energy needs, and more.
Health-Care Compliance Prep
Increased reporting, recordkeeping, and participant disclosure obligations are among the compliance headaches facing higher education institutions under the new health-care law. In "Health Care Reform: Strategies for Compliance," H. Frasier Ives, senior vice president and benefits compliance practice leader for Wells Fargo Insurance Services, urged frequent and ongoing conversation among senior leadership to ensure that everyone understands the new rules and to develop a compliance strategy.
Given the complexity of the mandates, and with so much still in flux with actual implementation of the law, Frasier suggested that what-if scenario planning can be helpful so that leaders remain flexible with their strategies and approaches as final decisions are announced.
In looking down the road, Frasier expects growth of consumer-directed health plans to accelerate, especially those that condition employer-funded contributions to funding vehicles such as health savings accounts based on employee engagement and wellness activities. While interest in transitioning employer funding of health coverage toward more of a defined contribution model (private exchanges) is growing, it is not clear how fast this may occur.
And, while technology solutions are becoming available, many technical legal issues, carrier underwriting and pricing concerns, and severe internal equity/compensation/HR issues must be addressed.
For at least the next five years, the health insurance market will be highly dynamic as all stakeholders (employers, individuals, carriers, providers, governments) adjust and readjust to the law, noted Frasier. Likewise, health-care delivery systems will become more consumer-centric. This will make employer communication strategies crucial moving forward, he added.
Clery Compliance Increasingly Complex
"The annual security report required by the federal Jeanne Clery Act is growing in length each year," said Blaine Nickeson, assistant vice president for campus relations and chief of staff, Auraria Higher Education Center, a Denver-based three-university shared services collaboration.
The act, which took effect in 1991, requires U.S. colleges and universities to release crime statistics and security policies to current and prospective students or employees. "Documents can be 20 to 25 pages long, partially because more data can now be accessed. The expanded reporting requires compliance to become a multidisciplinary activity."
Nickeson reminded session participants that not only are penalties for noncompliance expensive, "but the biggest issue is loss of reputation, for which there is no price."
The Clery Act requires development of the institution's policy statement, reporting of crime statistics-including sexual assaults-and establishment of a bill of rights. Challenges to compliance, pointed out Alison Kiss, executive director, at the Clery Center for Security on Campus, include:
- Inconsistent or nonexistent underlying policies and practices.
- Failure to survey all campus security authorities and local police and law enforcement.
- Lack of training in the details and requirements of the Clery Act.
- Poor recordkeeping.
- Lack of institutional support.
Ways to ensure higher levels of compliance, suggested Nickeson, include "putting someone in charge of training, making the appropriate people accountable for collecting specified data, and instituting a train-the-trainer program." Nickeson and Kiss also pointed out checklists and other resources that are available at www.clerycenter.org.
Ensuring High Security Standards
Campus leaders from several colleges and universities explained the benefits of obtaining accreditation for institution safety and security operations. "It's an important step in giving the campus and surrounding neighborhood confidence in our department and its activities," said Ken Valosky, vice president for administration and finance, at Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania.
In the session "Campus Public Safety Accreditation," presenters discussed the process, which they said made continuous improvement of safety and security issues a "systematic activity."
Connie Sampson, Georgia State University's assistant vice president and chief of police, discussed the process of applying for accreditation from the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA), membership of which includes 1,200 individuals and member institutions worldwide. "It's been a hallmark program since 2007," she said, "and is governed by a commission in charge of writing standards."
IACLEA's program is intended to support professionalism and safety outcomes, and its annual fees provide the institution with a yearly self-assessment. In addition, said Villanova's David Tedjeske, director of public safety, members receive a lot of support from one another in terms of process preparation and training."
"We think of our safety and security accreditation as a key part of the overall accreditation process for the university," said Valovsky. "It took Villanova three years. Once you do it, you'll really value it."
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