July 2016

Keynote Speaker Busts Common Myths about Causes of Rising Healthcare Costs at Benefit and Pension Funds Joint Annual Trustees Meeting
At the June 23 Joint Annual Meeting of the 1199SEIU Benefit and Pension Funds' Boards of Trustees, keynote speaker Dr. Bruce C. Vladeck, a widely recognized expert on healthcare policy and the former head of the Health Care Financing Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton, dispelled common myths that are given as reasons for the nation's high healthcare costs. One such myth holds that fee-for-service payments create incentives for physicians and other healthcare providers to provide more care than necessary. Dr. Vladeck pointed instead to the soaring prices of healthcare services and drugs as the fundamental reason that the U.S. spends more than any other developed nation on healthcare, yet often fails to achieve better outcomes. Dr. Vladeck criticized the lack of transparency in healthcare pricing and added that "hard bargaining with providers is traditionally not part of the business model for private health insurance companies." 

Earlier in the day, Benefit and Pension Funds Executive Director Mitra Behroozi presented an overview of the ways in which the Benefit Funds continue to provide 1199SEIU workers with quality coverage at the lowest possible cost, largely through the bargaining with vendors and providers that Dr. Vladeck cited. Despite the high cost of certain healthcare services, the Benefit Funds still provide comprehensive coverage at two-thirds of the New York City market cost.    

Report of the National Benefit Fund's
Labor-Management Health Benefits Subcommittee Released
In 2014, the League and 1199SEIU collective bargainers agreed to create a subcommittee to review the current policies and practices of the National Benefit Fund (NBF) "to ensure that it adopts strategies ... to maximize its ability to succeed in the future." The subcommittee found that "[t]he Fund has done an extremely successful job of providing its members and their dependents with comprehensive health benefits in a customer-friendly way, at a total cost that compares quite favorably even with less generous health plans in this region and elsewhere in the country." But the subcommittee also noted that it was not clear whether "excellent access to healthcare ... resulted in similarly excellent health." The report recommends that the NBF "adjust its focus from assuring economical access to medical services to one of increasing the opportunity ... for high-quality, proactive health care and an enhanced and better-integrated program of wellness services." The NBF is collaborating closely with the Training and Employment Funds' Labor Management Project to promote a culture of health at the workplace through the Workplace and Community Health Program of the Labor Management Project. 

Leadership Changes Announced at 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds Trustees Meeting
On June 29 and 30, the Board of Trustees for the 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds (TEF) met in Pearl River, New York, to mark the beginning of an extended strategic planning process designed to prepare for the changes the U.S. healthcare system is undergoing. The annual meeting also marked a leadership change at TEF. Executive Director Deborah King, who has headed TEF for 20 years, is retiring effective mid-July. She will be replaced by Sandi Vito, who formerly directed the 1199SEIU/League Training and Upgrading Fund (TUF). Florence Wong will take over for Sandi Vito as head of TUF, and Vilma Linares-Vaughn will begin her new role, replacing Wong as the Deputy Executive Director of TEF. In addition, Denise Cherenfant will begin her tenure as the head of the Registered Nurse Training and Job Security Fund. Bernadette Brady and Clyde Riggins will continue as Co-Directors of the Labor Management Project, as will Faith Wiggins as Director of the 1199SEIU Home Care Industry Education Fund, and Rosa Mejias, as Director of the 1199SEIU/League Job Security Fund.  

Training and Employment Funds Graduates Celebrate Their Achievements

The annual 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds' (TEF) Graduation Celebration was held on June 15 at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in Manhattan. TEF Executive Director Deborah King joined the evening's keynote speaker, New York City's First Lady Chirlane McCray, League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes of New York President Bruce McIver and 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East President George Gresham in congratulating the 650 graduates before nearly 1,000 members, their families, employers and Union representatives. McCray saluted the graduates, many of whom are also parents, for their perseverance in pursuit of a better education and their commitment to the healthcare industry. In 2015, more than a thousand members graduated from TEF programs that offer vocational certificates such as patient care technician and medical assistant, as well as graduates with associate, bachelor and advanced degrees in shortage areas such as nursing, radiology and respiratory therapy.

One of the evening's highlights was a tribute to retired 1199SEIU member and civil rights hero Claudette Colvin. In 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Colvin refused to surrender her bus seat to a white passenger. She went on to become one of four plaintiffs in Browder v. Gayle, a landmark case that ultimately led to the Supreme Court's order to desegregate Alabama's bus system. Colvin moved to the Bronx shortly thereafter and worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant at the Mary Manning Walsh nursing home for 36 years.  

In closing, Deborah King highlighted TEF's "Language of Care" Program with a short video. This training supports healthcare transformation and patient-centered care by providing language instruction and cultural competency skills in Spanish, Korean, Russian, Mandarin and Cantonese.

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New York City Honors Teacher from the 1199SEIU Future of America Learning Center
On June 6, the New York City Department of Education honored Nila Johnson, a Pre-Kindergarten lead teacher at the 1199SEIU Future of America Learning Center (FALC), with a 2016 Big Apple Award. The Big Apple Awards program celebrates New York City educators who inspire students, model effective teaching and improve their school communities. 

The 2016 Big Apple Award recipients were chosen from a pool of more than 4,600 nominations that represent a diversity of grade levels, subject areas and each of the five New York City boroughs. In addition to continuing their work in the classroom, these educators will serve as Big Apple Fellows during the 2016-17 school year. They will also serve on the New York City Schools Chancellor's Teacher Advisory Group, which meets monthly to discuss citywide education policy, share teaching practices and receive training in leadership development. 

Presenting Johnson with the award at FALC, New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen FariƱa said, "I am happy to congratulate Nila Johnson because she is making an impact at FALC, and I celebrate her with this well-deserved recognition." 1199SEIU Child Care Funds (CCF) Executive Director Vivian Fox, CCF Chief of Staff Rossmery Dais and FALC's Chief Operating Officer Bonnie Lou Mallonga were also on hand to celebrate Johnson's achievement. Mallonga, who nominated Johnson for the award, said, "Nila has shown major prowess as a leader and facilitator of meaningful learning experiences. She has shown leadership and commitment to the Center, to the children and to the families served." 

For more information on FALC or any of the programs offered by the 1199SEIU/Employer Child Care Corporation and the 1199SEIU Child Care Funds, call (212) 564-2220 or visit www.1199SEIUFunds.org/ccf

The Institute for Continuing Education (ICE) Presents Upcoming Programs
The 1199SEIU Training and Upgrading Fund assists 1199SEIU members in staying abreast of developments in their fields, helping them to provide quality care and earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Please share these opportunities with 1199SEIU employees at your institution. The schedule is also available on the ICE calendar at www.1199SEIUFunds.org/continuing-ed-events/

Frontiers in Epilepsy Management
Friday, July 15
7:45 am to 3:30 pm
This six-hour interdisciplinary program has been accredited for a number of healthcare practitioners. The program will be offered at the New York Times Conference Center, 242 West 41st Street, Manhattan. Live videocast and live webcast (Internet) will also be available.

Free prep courses are also available for national certification exams and New York State Licensure examinations for several positions, including social workers and clinical lab technologists. For more information, please visit www.1199SEIUFunds.org/Institute or contact the Training and Upgrading Fund's Institute for Continuing Education at (212) 894-4390 or Institute@1199Funds.org.

In This Issue
Keynote Speaker Busts Common Myths about Causes of Rising Healthcare Costs at Benefit and Pension Funds Joint Annual Trustees Meeting
Report of the National Benefit Fund's Labor-Management Health Benefits Subcommittee Released
Leadership Changes Announced at 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds Trustees Meeting
Training and Employment Funds Graduates Celebrate Their Achievements
New York City Honors Teacher from the 1199SEIU Future of America Learning Center
The Institute for Continuing Education (ICE) Presents Upcoming Programs

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