Faculty Council wants greater detail from CU Health Trust

Motion suggests specific points for auditors to consider during evaluation

The CU Faculty Council last week voted in favor of a motion asking that university leadership direct auditors to assemble more detailed reporting about the finances of the CU Health and Welfare Trust, which funds health benefits for employees and eligible dependents of CU, University of Colorado Hospital and University Physicians Inc.

The motion was introduced by the Budget Committee, and voted on by the council at its Aug. 22 meeting at 1800 Grant St. Committee chair Bruce Neumann presented the motion and discussed the impetus for it.

“The health of the Trust is good,” Neumann said. “What I’m suggesting would help future blips.”

For example, he said, auditors might determine that the Trust’s financial statements be issued more often – monthly rather than quarterly. “I’m not saying that’s the fix, but maybe the auditors would say that.”

The text of the motion:

Budget Committee Proposal on Fiscal Management of the Health Trust 2012-13, 8-19-13

The Budget Committee of Faculty Council is concerned about the fiscal management of the Health Trust, particularly the significant increase in accounts receivable and the corresponding decrease in reserve funds during the Second and Third Quarter of the prior fiscal year. While the problem may be alleviated at present, it is essential to ask the Trust auditors and the CU auditors (same firm) to further examine issues #1 & #4 as part of their audit processes and include the results in their management letter, and we request the Trust accounting staff and/or CU Internal Audit staff to consolidate or assemble data on issues #2 and #3 and provide such data to the auditors, the Budget Committee, UBAB, the Health Trust, Faculty and Staff Councils:

  1. Internal control and accounting policies (and especially revenue recognition policies).
  2. Liquidity and solvency issues during the period January-June, 2013. Please identify the number of days that reserves were below actuarial limits, and categorize the amounts of shortages into quartiles. Please graph the shortages and provide means and standard deviations and medians for each quartile.
  3. Calculate the estimated loss of interest or other earnings that were lost because the investment balances were so low during most of the fiscal year.
  4. Overall assessment of the Health Trust's fiscal health and likelihood that it will not encounter similar problems in the future. We are not asking for an assessment of medical risks, but rather an assessment of financial strength based on financial statement indicators.

We request Faculty Council to support this request and communicate it to the President and relevant Vice-Presidents (including the CU Trustees).

Submitted by Chair, Bruce R. Neumann, Ph.D.

Council member Pam Laird noted that the council’s role is simply advisory in the matter, and that the motion doesn’t require action. “All we can do is say that it seems like a reasonable thing … that we’re interested in encouraging an enhanced audit.”

Said council member John McDowell, “These do not seem like unreasonable suggestions to me.”

Neumann also discussed the Trust during the systemwide Staff Council’s meeting earlier this month.

In other business at last week’s Faculty Council meeting, the first of the academic year:

  • The council heard a presentation on the new CU For Colorado initiative, which launched over the summer. Michele McKinney of University Relations demonstrated the website, which features a searchable database of more than 200 CU outreach efforts in communities across the state. “This helps build our brand in the state,” she said. Council Chair Melinda Piket-May called it “great PR,” and asked that any faculty who work in outreach capacities with people in the community review the site and help spread the word.
  • Kirsten Schuchman of Government Relations summarized the 2013 legislative session at the state Capitol, and looked ahead to the 2014 session. A bill that sought to pave the way for community colleges to offer several four-year degrees was defeated in the last session; it is expected to return in revised form early next year. CU leaders continue to ask that a process be put in place to determine specific need before community colleges be allowed to expand their roles.
  • Dates for two systemwide symposiums were announced: CU Women Succeeding, the 12th Annual Professional Development Symposium, will be Feb. 27-28, 2014, at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. The Student Retention Symposium will be Nov. 8, 2013, at CU-Boulder. Plans for the GLBTI Symposium are yet to be determined while interest is gauged. Council member Joanne Addison said funding for the event is in place, but without a systemwide GLBTI committee for the time being, campus GLBTI organizations will be asked whether they want to proceed with the event.
  • Communications Committee chair Mark Malone said the group is looking to rebuild membership from the campuses. He suggested that faculty members interested in internal communication and providing input to CU Connections should contact him.