News

Title
Association for Collaborative Leadership
Higher Ed HR Leaders Share 3 Benefits from edHEALTH Coalition That Helped Them Navigate the Pandemic
Nov 10

Three of our higher education institution HR leaders shared how the edHEALTH coalition helped them navigate the pandemic at the October Association for Collaborative Leadership (ACL) Conference. This interactive forum provided a roadmap for other higher education consortiums. Higher education was hit particularly hard during the pandemic, and edHEALTH pivoted from a growth and retention trajectory to collaboratively focus on the needs of our member institutions. edHEALTH’s Tracy Hassett led a discussion that focused on three strategies that helped member schools.

1) Collaboration Forums for Members

Recognizing that collaboration between colleges and universities could help HR departments learn from one another, we implemented bi-weekly virtual meetings for member schools toward the end of March 2020. Average attendance ranged from 60-65 people, primarily HR and financial staff along with their advisors. edHEALTH provided follow-up e-communications that recapped the topics discussed, including COVID’s impact on claims and rate renewals; HR-related discussions on furloughs, layoffs, retirement incentives, telecommuting, testing, and paid family medical leave; and the operational impacts of the pandemic.

“There were many stressors early in the pandemic including early staff cases and a death from COVID,” said Kevin Pierson, Director of Benefits & Wellness, Brandeis University. “It was a great support to have the edHEALTH higher ed community available, and other schools followed our lead in leveraging their EAP with special sessions to help employees deal with high levels of stress.”

“For the Mass Paid Family and Medical Leave program, we were planning to go with the public option due to the high initial price of private options, but after speaking with other edHEALTH members we changed our strategy,” said Scott Runkle, Director of Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation, Berklee College of Music. “It was helpful to hear that everyone was going through the same issues and to pick each other’s brains.”

“The pandemic shifted the way we needed to make decisions, but we wanted to be sure our decisions were well-informed,” said Kristen Jadul, Executive Director, Human Resources, Bentley University. “(At the forums) we discussed operational impacts with others and shared templates and FAQs so we didn’t have to recreate the wheel.”

2) Employee Engagement Communications

Benefit communications are critical for attracting and retaining employees while improving health outcomes, well-being, and overall job satisfaction. We instituted a series of communications to help member school HR staff communicate timely and important information to their employees: how to avoid the coronavirus, identifying the symptoms of COVID-19, and services available through telehealth.  

“Employees’ needs have shifted over the last year and a half, and benefits that weren’t important in the past are now needed,” said Kristen. “Telehealth had been underutilized, and in collaboration with edHEALTH, we communicated the availability and convenience of telehealth and saw a significant uptick in utilization.”

“It has been an especially critical time to communicate with employees and we borrowed themes from edHEALTH to help shape our communications,” said Kevin. “For implementing the PFML program, we used multiple communication vehicles including early engagement of employee councils and other key stakeholders; webinars; and virtual office hours, and other schools were especially interested in the virtual office hours.”

“Our setup limits the ability to send emails to all employees, but we had a COVID team and weekly newsletter and distributed information from edHEALTH’s employee communications through these channels,” said Scott.

3) Thought Leadership Content 

With strategic development goals in mind, we implemented two thought leadership initiatives:

  • A thought leadership seminar series that featured renown speakers on timely subjects
  • Trending topic articles that provide in-depth analyses of issues affecting healthcare, edHEALTH, and our member schools

“Dr. Stuart Altman led a discussion on why healthcare costs are rising and effectively boiled down the reasons to understandable information on fragmented care and out-of-control provider and drug prices,” said Kevin. “Cost shifting has limited efficacy and this seminar helped us begin to think creatively about network strategies and quality improvement to help bend the cost trend. The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion seminar and corresponding thought leadership content – particularly on mental health – has stimulated important discussions on how we can better provide needed access to care that’s culturally relevant.”

“edHEALTH’s diversity, equity, and inclusion and employee engagement seminars contributed to a change in how we approached this year’s Open Enrollment,” said Kristen. “Bentley translated our communications to other languages to improve outreach to employees for whom English is not their primary language. We also piloted a text campaign to meet people where they are who may not have access to a computer but do have a smartphone.”

“The diversity, equity and inclusion seminar instigated our evaluation of the underlying investments of Berklee’s 403B plan to ensure they’re in keeping with our DE&I objectives,” said Scott. “The employee engagement seminar got us to think differently and creatively about helping our employees understand the basics of benefit terminology and with our program offerings to help employees with diet, exercise, food insecurity, hygiene, and other needs.”

edHEALTH Adds Three Board Members Brandeis University, College of the Holy Cross, and Wellesley College Represented

Mar 22
Photo of 3 new board members: Marymichele Delaney, Melissa Fletcher  and Sam Solomon

(March 22, 2022) - edHEALTH announced today three new members were elected to the edHEALTH LLC Board of Managers and the edHEALTH Insurance Exchange (edHEALT...

Continue Reading

Committees Gain Trend Perspectives and Explore Strategies to Drive Down Costs

Dec 15
edHEALTH committees

Plan Design and Finance Committees Welcome New MembersTwo committees are instrumental for monitoring claims and developing solutions – the Finance/Controller...

Continue Reading

December 2021 Newsletter

Dec 20
December 2021

Find out:How two edHEALTH committees gain trend perspectives and develop strategies to drive downWhy healthcare costs are rising and discover 3 risk manageme...

Continue Reading

Annual edHEALTH President Letter for Member-Owners

Jan 25
look back at 2021 and look ahead to 2022

Dear Colleagues,Strength.  Resilience.  Support.  Collaboration.  Opportunity.  Hope.  Trust.  These are just a few of the words that come to my mind as we l...

Continue Reading

Read our latest newsletter - featuring why prescription costs are on the rise and much more

Mar 30
Photo of  tablet by NordWood Themes

Learn about:The big picture when it comes to medication breakthroughs, their costs, and how we all play a role in trying to control costsedHEALTH's 3 new boa...

Continue Reading

edHEALTH talks healthcare trends in the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts member newsletter

Apr 7
trend data report

The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICU MASS) offered edHEALTH the opportunity to discuss one of the biggest trends f...

Continue Reading

Tracy Hassett Selected Vice Chair of the Vermont Captive Insurance Association

Dec 15
Captive Insurance

Educators Health Exchange President, Tracy Hassett, was selected Vice Chair by the Board of the Vermont Captive Insurance Association (VCIA). VCIA is the lar...

Continue Reading

What are Biosimilars? Learn more about this emerging Rx trend and more in edHEALTH's April newsletter.

May 3
Image of tablet or mobile phone with in-box highlighted

Read about: The emergence of biosimilars for curbing specialty costsGearing up for edHEALTH's 5th annual Walking ChallengeNews and tips for spring health and...

Continue Reading

Point32Health Selects UnitedHealthcare as its National Network – What This Means to Tufts Health Plan and HPHC Members

Nov 10
Providers across the nation

Point32Health, the combined Tufts Health Plan and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care organization, selected UnitedHealthcare as its national network provider effect...

Continue Reading

Share-it Employee Engagement Communications

Dec 9
edHEALTH employee engagement share-it communications

edHEALTH provides share-it employee engagement communications to help member school employees navigate and maximize their healthcare benefits. Check out thes...

Continue Reading
Top shadow

Contact Us

866.692.7473

Contact edHEALTH today for more information.