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InTouch:  UNC Employee Forum News
Volume 3, Number 6 July/August 2002

From the Chair, Tommy Griffin…
We are the People

Hello friends July has gone and August is already here and we are still waiting for Raleigh to decide on our future. It is a never-ending story we always having to wait and worry about what the politicians are going to do to state employees again. We used to know that we would have a job even if the state didn’t have funds available for raises or cost of living increases. But now we cannot even count on having job security because that no longer exists in state government. Now we have to worry every day if we will have a job or not. Our Governor thinks that we are puppets on a string that he can control at his will. We are still taxpayers, voters, and citizens, and employees of this great state. We are a great group of the people who make up the population of this a great state and who really care and love this state and what happens to it.

It just amazes me how long it takes our folks a Raleigh to come up with a balanced budget. Maybe they need to talk to the folks that balance their budgets every year without wasting a lot of time or energy. We are the ones that they need to be talking to because we know that we cannot spend any more income than what we have on hand and are going to earn for the year. We know that we have to develop a list of priorities and set funds aside for them and even for emergencies. It seems that the task of developing a balanced budget for the state becomes more and more confusing each year and eats up more time than is necessary. They need to be spending more time on education and how to improve it and fund it so that we can meet the state’s future needs, the state’s economy and jobs for the unemployed.

Education is the key to success to all the problems that we are having in our state and nation. So we must continue to build up our education system to be the greatest one in our nation and in the world. Let us be thankful that we all work for the greatest University in the world. The University is growing every day and becomes more successful in all its tasks that are needed to meet the needs of education, research and public service for all the citizens of this great state and in the world. We must continue to work together to keep hope alive and doing well. I want to thank all of you for your hard work and dedication and for keeping this a great University. Every time that someone asks me where I work I get this warm feeling inside right before I tell them that I work for U.N.C. in Chapel Hill. I know that we all get that same warm feeling when we think about all of the people that we work with here on campus and all the students that we get to meet and help educate. We are in this together and we will get through all these trying times together. People are what makes this a great place to work and live and we are the people.

Your friend Tommy Griffin.

Convocation, Volunteer Fair, terrorism symposium scheduled for Sept. 11

In conjunction with Carolina’s remembrance of the events of Sept. 11, a Volunteer Fair will be held at Polk Place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. As many as 75 diverse community and University volunteer-based service organizations will be on hand to sign up new volunteers. Chancellor James Moeser will be among the scheduled speakers for a noon convocation. University employees are allowed up to 24 hours of community service leave per year, and the Volunteer Fair is one way to identify service opportunities. The Carolina Center for Public Service and the Public Service and Advocacy Committee of Student Government are among the sponsors. For more information, call 843-7568 or e-mail

Also related to the Sept. 11 attacks, UNC Health Care will be sponsor a terrorism preparedness symposium this Sept. 11 that will be open to the campus community. The symposium will start at 7:30 a.m. in the 4th Floor Clinic Auditorium of the Old Clinic. Speakers include Tony Meyer, chair of surgery here, and keynote speaker Donald Trunkey, professor and chair of surgery at Oregon Health Sciences University. Also speaking will be David Weber, a national expert on infectious disease and Carolina professor, and Jane Bryce, an assistant professor of emergency medicine here.

Call 966-3366 for more information.



Nominate Your Peers for Special Recognition

Do you know a UNC staff member who has done an outstanding job in customer service? Or who has gone beyond the office call of duty, improved morale, shown innovation in improving office productivity, or volunteered time to mentor someone? Show that person that you have noticed and appreciated these contributions to your workplace by nominating him or her in the Employee Peer Recognition Program.
You should have received a nominating form in campus mail within the last few weeks. Categories include customer service, call of duty, back office activity, rookie (has worked on campus less than a year), milestone (has worked on campus for more than 20 years), big buddy (mentoring), self-improvement, congeniality, and innovation/initiative. Nominees must be permanent, full-time employees.
The Employee Forum’s Recognition and Awards Committee has a surprise in store for employees who receive the most nominations in any category!
Please return your nominations by August 16, 2002 to Shirley Hart, Biology Department, CB# 3280.

InTouch Contest: Customer Service & Our First Winner

Please congratulate Karen Rowe, the first of two winners of our InTouch customer service contest. Her winning entry is reproduced below:

Dear Forum–
Tar Heel Temps is the in-house temporary service for the
University. Our office is very busy and our work demanding. We handle
our challenges in various ways. First of all, we like and respect each
other. There is no one in our office who is unwilling to assist another
if needed. Each of us has a main back up person who handles the job
when another is out of the office. This means that if we have to be
away from the office we can be assured that customer service will still
be provided in a timely manner.
Aside from that–other stress releases include having birthday
parties for our staff, working lunches, when we might do a potluck or
(sometimes)–in the late afternoon we might blow bubbles. (don’t
Karen Rowe

Please keep responses to 150 words or less. We’ll publish winning responses in a future issue of InTouch, and present winners with a prize gift certificate from a local coffeehouse. You can send responses to CB# 3488 or to

Personnel Flexibility Report Update

In last month’s InTouch we reviewed the work of the Personnel Flexibility Committee, the group whose charge was “To recommend to the Chancellor characteristics that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill should incorporate into its personnel system when it has the flexibility to develop its own system.” You can now go online to read both the full report and the minority report from this committee. The web address is

For those without computer access, the Employee Forum Office has print copies.

Forum Votes to Support Career Growth Initiatives

At its July meeting, the Employee Forum approved two resolutions supporting career growth efforts for Employees. The first resolution, authored by the Forum’s Career Development committee, urged administration and supervisor support for Employee training and self-improvement efforts. The second resolution recommended use of proceeds from the Staff Development fund to supplement dollars available to Employees through the Educational Assistance Program. Information on obtaining funds from the Educational Assistance Program is available on-line here.

Policy Response: Understanding CostWise and other Limitations of the State Health Insurance Plan

Many of us find it difficult to figure out exactly what medical expenses we can expect to be covered by the State Health Plan. We thought it might be useful to review some of the general limitations of our healthcare coverage for doctor visits and some of the charges employees can expect to bear. You also can check the April 2002 InTouch, in which Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Laurie Charest looked at the issue of charges for medical services provided outside of North Carolina.

This is not a complete summary of fees or services that are covered/not covered by the State Health Plan. If you have questions about your personal situation, please contact the Benefits Office at 2-3071. You can also get additional information from the HR web site at or the State Health Plan web site at

When you choose a physician, it is important to ask if the doctor participates in the CostWise program. “CostWise” physicians are doctors who have agreed to use the plan’s allowable cost for services (what is known as the usual, customary and reasonable charge or UCR). CostWise doctors agree to absorb any additional expenses above this allowable cost and will not bill the patient for charges above the UCR.

How do you find a CostWise doctor? You can contact the Blue Cross/Blue Shield customer service office at 1-800-422-4658 for names of doctors in the CostWise provider directory. Or search online at Make sure you choose Comprehensive Major Med as the name of the plan when you do the search.

Some key things to remember:

1. If a doctor’s office has a sign indicating they “accept the State Health Plan” that is not the same as saying they accept the CostWise agreement!
2. Physicians may choose to discontinue their participation in CostWise, so it is important to keep checking on your doctor’s status
3. You are still responsible for deductibles, coinsurance, copayments and services not covered by the plan

What charges are included in figuring your doctor bill?

CostWise sets a limit on how much a participating doctor will charge. If the doctor participates in CostWise, then your cost includes three kinds of charges: copayment, deductible, and coinsurance. Note, however, that if you doctor does not participate in the CostWise program, then you pay these charges plus the difference between the CostWise charge and what the doctor charges. The costs below are for the year that ended 6/30/02. The legislature could increase the costs for the current year.

A copayment on an office visit is $15. That means you pay the first $15 of any doctor visit. This does not count toward your deductible or your coinsurance.
The deductible is the amount you pay in doctor bills before the State Health Plan starts paying anything. This does not include the copayment. The deductible is $350 per person per “plan year,” which is July 1 through June 30. There is a maximum of $1050 per family.
After you have paid your deductible, you are still responsible for paying the copayment, plus you pay 20% of the rest of the bill. This 20% is called coinsurance. The most you’ll pay in coinsurance in one plan year is $1500 per person and $4500 per family.

OK, so how much do you pay for a visit to your doctor?

First of all, you always pay the $15 copayment. You also pay the part of the bill that CostWise allows, until you have paid the deductible for the year. After you have paid your deductible, you still pay the first $15, plus you pay 20% of what CostWise allows, and the State Health Plan picks up the other 80% of the CostWise amount. If your doctor is in the CostWise program, that’s all you pay. If your doctor is not in the CostWise program, you also pay the amount not covered by CostWise. Doctor bills are usually more than what CostWise allows, and they can be much more, so it pays to know if your doctor participates.