Thursday, December 20, 2001
Santa paid a visit
to the staff association's Winterfest earlier this
month -- and so did UW president David Johnston, seen above helping
a youngster with skating, one of the things he does best. The association
has other photos
its web site as well. The staff association office will be closed
from noontime today until Monday, January 7; on work days during that time,
association president Ed Chrzanowski will be available (phone ext. 6487)
to take urgent calls.
As students and other clients depart, and with the distractions of pre-holiday parties and such, many UW services are running at less than full speed today and tomorrow. The Modern Languages coffee shop and the Davis Centre "Bon Appetit" cafeteria are both closed now, as is the Ron Eydt Village cafeteria. Mudie's in Village I will serve its last meal of the year tonight. Still open, mostly with limited hours, are Brubakers in the Student Life Centre, Tim Horton's in Modern Languages and the Davis Centre, Pastry Plus in Needles Hall, the PAS Lounge, Browsers in the Dana Porter Library, and Bookends in the bookstore.
And so it goes. The libraries will be open until 11 p.m. tonight; Friday, they'll close at 6 p.m., not to reopen until Wednesday, January 2. The CHIP ("Computing Help and Information Place") will be open until 3:00 today, and until 3:30 tomorrow.
In a demonstration of the Christmas spirit, Janet Metz and Edith Hohendorn of the co-op and career services department have co-ordinated another successful gift drive for needy families. This year 156 children from 85 families will have a brighter Christmas thanks to donations (and support) from staff in CECS, the office of research, the secretariat, the registrar's office, counselling services, human resources and philosophy. Yesterday, CECS was awaiting pickup of the gifts by 17 social workers who will assist Santa in making the deliveries.
The new issue of the human resources newsletter, of which I'll say much more in a moment, includes an announcement about a recent change to the fine print of the life insurance benefit for staff and faculty members, or rather, for their spouses. "The restriction that optional spousal life insurance be no more than the amount of insurance carried by the employee" has been removed, the newsletter says.
Marj Kohli in the information systems and technology department has had to spend a fair amount of time lately warning people on campus about computer viruses -- there have been a lot of them. In a recent memo, she reminds everyone that "if you follow the rules and do not open any attachment with an extension of .exe, .bat, .com, .pif, .scr, then you should be fine." But it's extraordinary how many people do open strange attachments.
And speaking of computer troubles, the IST department says the campus news server "has been experiencing problems for the past several days. These problems appear to be related to some hardware running at excessively high temperatures. The news server has been shut down and restarted, and there is no sign of a recurrence of the hardware problems at the present time. News articles which are not currently available will not be made available locally." All of which means that you may have missed several recent Daily Bulletins. They're available on the web.
The Bulletin hasn't had a full-length interview this year with Egfrth Spleng, the well-known vice-elf (research) at WatClaus. The drop in WatClaus stock which I reported at this time last year has continued, and with staffing reductions Spleng has been too busy to talk to the media. He did announce, however, that the popular Amit Chakma doll is now available in a deluxe model with diversified revenue stream.
Please remember that emergency travel coverage with Great West Life is contingent upon maintaining provincial health care. When you travel, your provincial healthcare plan covers you to a certain extent. UW's coverage supplements provincial coverage. The University's out-of-country health insurance covers the reasonable and customary costs of medically necessary services or supplies relating to the treatment of a "medical emergency." Medical emergency is defined as an "unforeseen event." That is, a sudden, unexpected illness or injury or an acute episode of disease requiring immediate medical attention.
General examples are given to help clarify the coverage offered. Please remember that each out-of-country claim is individually adjudicated on its own merits.
In a war zoneThe HR newsletter also has an article -- "Travelling in an Uncertain World" -- about how the extended health plan protects people who go travelling in war zones. The UW contract with Great West Life, it notes, has "the standard exclusion" saying that "expenses arising from war, insurrection, or voluntary participation in a riot" are not covered.
As things now stand, "eligible emergency medical claims within the USA will be covered," the article says. In fact, at present the only country where emergency medical expenses won't be covered is (surprise) Afghanistan.
It also passes along some advice from the insurance company: "If war is declared on the country you are in, Great West Life advises that you should return home immediately. If you become the innocent victim of an act of aggression . . . . you would have emergency medical coverage."
When you or your emergency health care provider calls MEDEX, MEDEX contacts Great West Life to confirm whether your coverage is in force and the levels of benefit coverage. Based on information provided by you at that time, a decision will be communicated to the emergency health care provider as to whether you have coverage. However, MEDEX does not approve the claim or guarantee that the claim will be eligible for reimbursement. In certain circumstances MEDEX can also provide advance payment to the emergency health care provider, subject to Great West Life's approval.
Before leaving the emergency medical facility or care provider's office, please ensure you have clarified who will forward the invoice to Great West Life. Are you paying the invoice and seeking reimbursement? Is the hospital forwarding the bill directly to Great West Life? If so, does the hospital have Great West Life's address on file? the plan number? your ID number? If the hospital is forwarding the bill, you should ask for a copy of the invoice for your files.
How to submit a claim for emergency medical services to Great West Life when the employee or dependent returns home: Two forms are required. The forms are available in Human Resources or online. The first form is an Authorization and Release form that allows Great West Life to co-ordinate benefits with the provincial coverage offered through OHIP. The second form that must be completed is an Out-of-Country Expenses Statement of Claim. These two forms, along with original receipts, should be forwarded to Great West Life Out-of-Country Claims Department, PO Box 6000, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 3A5. If the hospital is billing the carrier directly, you can expect to receive these two forms in the mail from Great West Life for completion before the claim can be adjudicated.
If you have any questions or concerns about out-of-country coverage, please call the Great West Life out-of-country customer contact line at 1-800-957-9777.
If after calling Great West Life you have doubts whether your medical condition would be eligible for health insurance coverage, you may want to consider purchasing individual health insurance. There are at least three options: ETFS (Expert Travel Financial Security) at 1-800-680-3837; INGLE Life & Health at 1-888-446-6772; CARP at 1-888-239-2444. Individuals are encouraged to shop around.
The "resource document", based on figures for the year 2000, reminds readers that enrolment is expected to increase "dramatically" for several reasons: secondary school reform leading to the "double cohort" in the fall of 2003, an increase in the population of 18-to-24-year-olds, a projected increase in the participation rate or percentage of young people attending university, and a trend towards more adult learners attending university.
It says, "The pressure to respond to public expectations and student demand will be strongest at precisely those points where the grant reductions of the 1990s have left universities most vulnerable -- in faculty numbers, physical capacity to accommodate increased enrolment, and facilities and resources for teaching, learning and research."
Here are some of the "highlights" listed at the beginning of the report and backed up with 100 pages of charts and tables: