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UHMG FACULTY ISSUES

 
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UHMG FACULTY ISSUES

Table of Contents


Introduction

The affiliation agreement between Case Western Reserve University (University) and University Hospitals (UH) established the basis for a new, unified faculty practice plan for the full-time faculty practicing at UH. The faculty practice plan named University Hospital Medical Group (UHMG) is now a reality. Several clinical departments have already transitioned from their individual practice plan to UHMG. As individual faculty members join UHMG, they are asked to sign a Physician Services Agreement (PSA) with UHMG that represents the employment agreement with the new faculty practice plan. UHMG is the mechanism through which clinical faculty engage in clinical practice at UH while serving as a member of the faculty of the School of Medicine. In order to continue to practice and receive compensation for clinical efforts at UHC, all faculty members must sign a PSA with UHMG.

Faculty, who have already entered as well as faculty scheduled to enter UHMG over the next several months, have had numerous questions related to the definition of their employer and available fringe benefits. Clinical faculty at UH have been compensated in a variety of mechanisms including: direct payment from independent practice plans, part of a UH practice group, and the University acting as common paymaster. These variations have added to the confusion that faculty face as they enter UHMG. This site has been developed to address questions related to these issues.

Name of the group

Case Western Reserve University – School of Medicine has offered the use of the name Case Medical Group to its full time faculty, in recognition and celebration of the academic standards its full time faculty must meet. The group is owned and operated by UH and UH will have final control over the name.

Employment Model

The Affiliation Agreement signed April 2006 specifies only one method for faculty members to be employed and that is with two separate employers. In lieu of the previous 20+ separate faculty practice plan entities, UHMG will employ faculty for their clinical and hospital administrative duties (including resident education and clinical trials funded by industry). The University will employ faculty for their research, University endowments, leadership roles for medical education, and University administration.

There were two possible methods defined in the Affiliation Agreement for faculty payment. One is with the University as the common paymaster (as is the practice for several existing practice plans), and the other is with the University and UHMG each issuing its own paycheck, which is the model that is being implemented now. No other options are available that are in compliance with the agreement. UH chose to pay faculty directly through UHMG instead of using the University as its common paymaster. Hence, the University is working with UHMG to implement the dual employment, two paycheck model.

The dual employment structure has always been in place for faculty members in clinical departments at UHC and the University. The new unified practice plan, UHMG, simply makes it more explicit. However, for those who have not previously been receiving two checks, there are some practical issues.

FICA taxes, by law, must be deducted by each employer as if it was the sole employer leaving some individuals to pay excess FICA taxes. This excess payment must then be recovered when one files a personal tax return.

Fringe Benefits are split between the two employers and will be discussed individually. There will be clinical faculty who only practice clinical medicine and hence are 100% employed by UHMG and faculty who are only doing research or have support from the University hence are 100% employees of Case Western Reserve University. There will also be faculty who split their effort between clinical work and research. For these faculty members, primary benefits will likely come from the employer for which they perform the bulk of their effort. For example, the physician with greater than 50% of her/his effort in clinical work will receive the bulk of her/his benefits from UHMG. For others, research may be a major focus resulting in greater than 50% of their effort being funded through the University. As a result, the bulk of their benefits will come from the University. A detailed description of this approach is provided in the fringe benefits section.

Fringe Benefits

Basic Benefits (Health, Dental, Life Disability)
Faculty who are 100% UHMG will choose their health, dental, life and disability insurance through UHMG. Faculty less than 100% but greater than 50% UHMG will choose their benefits through UHMG. Faculty who work 20 to 50% within UHMG may elect basic benefits from UHMG but will have to contribute more to these plans. Of course, faculty need not accept health insurance through either employer if they can be covered by a spouse’s health insurance plan. All of these basic benefits are outlined in detail on the University Hospitals web site. (details available at- http://www.uhhospitals.org/tabid/1404/Default.aspx )

All basic benefits are available through the University for faculty who work at the University if their total effort is greater than 50%. Faculty working at least 50% for the University may elect one of the health insurance options offered by the University. As in UHMG, a faculty member may choose to be insured through a spouse’s employer. The University does require proof of alternative coverage for those >50% employed by Case if you opt not to accept health insurance. (details available at- http://www.case.edu/finadmin/humres/benefits/ )

Long Term Disability benefits are specific to each employer and based on a percentage of salary. For faculty receiving 50% or more of their salary from the University, the plan provides 60% of salary up to $6,000 per month. This is paid 100% by the University. The UHMG web site describes disability coverage available to faculty at a cost with over effort > 20% to UHMG.

In addition to the University provided benefits, faculty members can participate in the University’s Voluntary Income Protection Insurance (through UNUM Provident). This plan allows employees to increase disability benefits above the 60% of salary coverage provided by the University. The cost and level of this available benefit varies per individual. Employees working more than 30% for Case are eligible for this supplemental plan.

The University offers at no cost a basic life insurance benefit of $10,000. Faculty with efforts of at least 50% for the University may purchase life insurance at a discounted rate. Life insurance is calculated as a percentage of current salary. The University’s carrier will not permit those with less than 50% time at the University to purchase life insurance at a discounted rate at the present time. However, other options are being explored to enhance this benefit.

Retirement Benefits
Retirement benefits through UHMG are calculated for every dollar earned regardless of the employee’s percentage of effort dedicated to UHMG. After all benefit costs are taken out of the 22% of total UHMG salary any residual dollars can be invested in a non-qualified retirement program or taken as cash. For those faculty with lower salaries, UHMG guarantees a minimum contribution to retirement or cash returned that is based on their percentage of effort with UHMG. The minimum base commitment that is paid regardless of salary equals $1,500 for at least 20% effort to UHMG and for effort > 50% the commitment is $3,500. Further details regarding UHMG retirement benefits are available from the human resource office at UH or at the following web site- http://www.uhhospitals.org/tabid/1404/Default.aspx The University will offer retirement benefits, as they have previously, for faculty with >50% effort (see Case benefit - http://www.case.edu/finadmin/humres/benefits/retirement.html ). To accommodate faculty who earn less than 50% of their total salary from the University, a new policy has been established for paying the standard retirement contribution on all salary earned. The retirement contribution for less than 50% salaried faculty is a new program that cannot be initiated the first year (similar to UHMG retirement programs). Hence, in lieu of the retirement component offered by the University the first year faculty will receive an equal amount as regular compensation.

Tuition Benefit for dependents
For faculty with >50% effort paid through the University, the personal and dependent tuition benefit for dependents attending Case Western Reserve University will continue (details available at- http://www.case.edu/finadmin/humres/benefits/2007education.html ). There is no tuition benefit available for faculty with less than 50% effort paid through the University.

UHMG cannot offer a tax-free tuition benefit for dependents because it is not an educational institution. Consequently, there will be no tuition benefit available through UHMG. However, UHMG has arranged to pay the tuition of faculty dependents enrolled at Case Western Reserve University as of September 2006, up to a total benefit (conferred by the University + UHMG) of four years. This tuition support will be a taxable benefit. Details are available through the UH HR office.

Paid time off, vacation and professional expenses

Vacation time is provided to faculty through both entities. It is the goal of both the University and UHMG to consider those whose effort at the University plus UHMG equal one FTE to be considered full time for vacation benefits. We await the formalization of this intent.

UHMG has established levels of support for professional expenses based on academic rank. Professors would be offered $10K, associate professors $7.5K and instructors/assistant professors would receive $5K. The proposal for UHMG is, however, prorated by the percentage of effort that is provided to UHMG. There is no mechanism for the University to provide, in an equal fashion, professional expense support on effort paid through the University. This policy is under review.

PhD non clinical faculty with primary appointments in clinical departments

PhD faculty who do not do clinical work but are based in a clinical department will be employed by Case Western Reserve University. Salary will be set by the chair, and will not necessarily be limited to the salary that is supported by grants. However, research faculty are expected, as they have always been, to generate substantial portions of their salary from external grant awards. This approach remains the same as it has always been – the portion of the salary not supported by grants may come from a variety of sources through the School of Medicine.

Total compensation during the first two years in UHMG

We expect that most faculty will remain at the salaries specified in the PSA for the initial two year period of the agreement, even if the specific sources of salary support change during that time (i.e., grant support goes up or down). Exceptions will be faculty who achieve academic promotion or who reach specified incentive targets: these individuals may obtain salary increases. We do not expect total compensation to decrease for any faculty member during the two year period of the agreement unless the faculty member adjusts his/her time commitment (e.g., drops from 0.8 FTE to 0.6FTE).

Incentives for research salary support

The School of Medicine is working on an incentive plan which will provide cash incentive from School of Medicine funds for clinically active faculty who obtain more than 50% salary support on external grants. The sum will be modest, but sufficient to match or exceed the difference in cash back from UHMG for faculty who are over 50% UHMG vs those who are less than 50% UHMG. This difference is $2000. We will announce the details soon.