FY14 Priority Initiatives
SUMAR has identified the following key initiatives for FY14 and is committed to supporting departments' leadership of each effort:
Human Resources Compensation Strategy
In the second year of this planned four-year project, Human Resources leads an effort that will enhance the University's system for assigning compensation levels to the range of job positions at the institution (i.e., Princeton's job grading process). Human Resources also continues to review every position on campus for grade and title consistency, as well as internal and external salary equity. Approximately 30% of the positions were reviewed in fiscal year 2013 and another 25% will be completed in fiscal year 2014. The remaining 45% will be reviewed in fiscal years 2015 and 2016.
Princeton Prime is a comprehensive multi-year effort that will continue through fiscal year 2014 to upgrade financial systems to provide departments with improved tracking and management of budgets and financial processes. This effort is expected to yield greater efficiency, improved compliance with approved business practices, and cost savings. Additionally, the implementation of the University's new chart of accounts, which provides the infrastructure for all institutional budgeting and transactions, will continue to be a primary focus. Campus engagements for testing and training are expected to begin in the fall of 2013. The official "go live" date for Princeton Prime is scheduled for July 1, 2014.
Review Departmental Fees and Charges
An effort to review University inter-departmental billing practices is underway to assess whether they are an effective way of allocating and assigning resources. This assessment is especially timely given the need to convert billing systems to the University's new chart of accounts. Any simplification or elimination of systems will help focus the University's efforts on more critical aspects of Princeton Prime.
An Office of Information Technology (OIT) and Office of Finance and Treasury working group recently examined all OIT billings from this perspective. A number of changes will be announced soon, the largest of which will simplify the billing process for data and communications services such as telephone, internet connectivity, and the storage and back-up of University data. These services will be bundled into a single communications and data fee to be assessed on a department by department basis. Further details will be announced soon.
This approach expands upon recent years’ shifts in budgeting for telephone and internet connectivity, and recognizes that these services are essential core functions of how departments manage University data. Additional inter-departmental charges will continue to be reviewed from this perspective.
Travel and Expense Management
After conducting a thorough review of the University’s travel policies, the Office of Finance and Treasury developed and implemented a new policy in fiscal year 2013 to enhance employee travel flexibility while ensuring effective stewardship of University resources. In fiscal year 2014, the focus will be on developing and offering a new set of tools and services that support the travel process and the management of travel and non-travel related business expenses. Additionally, these tools and services will also help fulfill the University's goals to keep travelers safe and to provide support in emergency situations. Toward these efforts, a travel program manager has been hired, a new travel agency is being utilized, a new travel credit card is being offered, a new consolidated travel web site has been implemented, and a new system called “Concur” has been phased into use. Training sessions for each of these tools and services are offered as departments and travelers are introduced to this new program.
Controlling Health Care Costs
In FY14, the University will continue to search for opportunities to control health care costs while minimizing increases in employee contributions or out-of-pocket expenses. To date, the University has 1) implemented changes to its short term disability policy; 2) provided more effective communication to employees about differentials in health care costs and services; 3) introduced more in-network options in the immediate Princeton area; 4) negotiated a lower cost prescription contract; 5) implemented an Employer Group Waiver Plan which enables Princeton to pay the discounted product cost that a pharmaceutical company provides to Medicare for Princeton's reitree prescription use; and 6) launched a new health plan, the Princeton Health Plan, which replaced the former PPO and POS plans offered in 2012 with design features that encourage prevention and proper care for chronic conditions.
In addition, two health programs being offered free to all employees and their dependents should improve the overall health of the University workforce as well as mitigate health care costs. First, My Health Coach provides education, guidance, and motivational support to employees and their family members in the managment of their health, including chronic conditions. Second, My Medical Expert offers expert medical advice regarding medical conditions, tests, treatment options, and finding the best physician or facility to support treatment.
The estimated net annual savings from these strategies is projected to be almost $1 million by 2015, and could be in the range of $3 million by 2018.
Given the significance of various regulatory changes and the continued increase of Princeton’s health care cost trend, the University will continue to carefully review and assess its community health status and delivered health care programs.