The University Record, October 30, 2000

Prescription Drug Work Group 2002 to hold focus groups and hearings

By Vivian Byrd
Human Resources/Affirmative Action

Provost Nancy Cantor and Robert Kasdin, executive vice president and chief financial officer, have convened the Prescription Drug Work Group 2002 to identify a broad spectrum of solutions that will balance patient needs with the escalating cost to the University of providing prescription drug coverage in University health plans. The Work Group is to provide some attractive options, plus the pros and cons of each, for the executive officers to consider. The most meritorious options will then be presented to the University community for full discussion and analysis.

In their charge to the Work Group, Cantor and Kasdin said it is critical that any recommendations address the need to maintain the University’s commitment to a quality prescription drug program. The prescription drug program is an important part of the University’s health plans, which are, in turn, an essential tool in recruitment and retention of faculty and staff.

The Work Group will analyze University trends in cost and member use, and compare best practices of the private sector, even though those approaches may not be the best fit for the University community.

In developing future options, the Work Group will reach out to the University community and seek to understand its needs and interests. The Work Group has undertaken an education program as well as an extensive opinion-gathering project that includes a series of focus groups and public hearings, and a comments e-mail address.

Information series. The Record published a five-part series of articles on current prescription drug questions Sept. 11–Oct. 9. The articles are available for review at www.umich.edu/~benefits/new/index.htm, as well as the Record’s site, www.umich.edu/~urecord.

Focus groups. The University will hold a series of 24 prescription drug focus groups on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses. The focus groups will solicit input from faculty and staff on this important question. Invitations to participate have been extended to a list of faculty and staff members identified through a random sample selection process.

Comments e-mail address. Individuals who would like to relay to the Work Group comments about prescription drug benefits or about any of the prescription drug articles in the information series should send an e-mail message to prescription.drugs@umich.edu through Nov. 20. The Work Group will not be able to respond directly to the e-mail comments.

Public hearings. Seven public hearings are scheduled on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses. The public hearings will allow University faculty and staff, as well as members of the community, to express their viewpoints to members of the Work Group. The public hearings schedule and instructions for registering to make a statement are above.

The Work Group expects to report its findings to Cantor and Kasdin by Jan. 30.

Public Hearings

Members of the Work Group will be present at the public hearings to hear statements. Five minutes will be allowed for each statement. Faculty and staff, as well as interested members of the community, are invited to participate.

Individuals who wish to make a statement must register by e-mail or by phone. E-mail messages should be sent to jackiemh@umich.edu. Include in the message your name, the date of the public hearing at which you wish to make a statement and a daytime phone number. To register by phone, call Jackie at (734) 615-5399 and provide the same information.

Statements will be presented on a first-come, first-served basis, based on date of registration. You also may register in person at the event. Public hearings are scheduled as follows:

Oct. 30, 1:00–2:30 p.m., 1410 Professional Education Center, U-M-Dearborn

Nov. 1, 4:30–6 p.m., Founders Room, Alumni Association

Nov. 6, 4:30–6 p.m., Room 2029, Kipke Conference Center

Nov. 8, 4:30–6 p.m., Founders Room, Alumni Association

Nov. 13, 4:30–6 p.m., Ford Auditorium, University Hospital

Nov. 14, 4:30–6 p.m., Seminar Room, Institute of Continuing Legal Education

Nov. 16, 3–4:30 p.m., Michigan Room D, University Center Building, U-M-Flint