Healthcare Expensive? It’s What Some Want

Business Financing Expo

Who Owns E-Mail?

Workplace Diversity

Co-op Management

Web Fundraising

7 x 24 Backup Pros

Donations Needed

Bike to Work Day

Nominations

Corrections or additions?

Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on May 17, 2000. All rights reserved.

Healthcare Prognosis: Expensive and Rising

E-mail: MelindaSherwood@princetoninfo.com

Hand us the bill and most of us will think twice before

we go to the doctor. But under the current system of healthcare, employees

are unaware just how expensive healthcare really is, says Uwe Reinhardt,

professor of political economy at Princeton University and an expert

in healthcare analysis. "Both the health care provider and the

patient loved the open-ended system because they did not know that

they were paying for it — they thought the company would pay for

it," says Reinhardt. "They went along blissfully not knowing

that their paychecks were melting away. The employer-based contract

had given the health care system a first claim on the paycheck of

American workers, even before the IRS could get to it."

Despite the fact that it’s costly, however, many employers are now

offering healthcare plans that allow employees to pick and chose their

providers in order to attract talent in a tight labor market, says

Reinhardt, who speaks on healthcare issues at "2001: A Business

Odyssey: NJ Business Conference," on Thursday, May 18, at 8 a.m.

at the East Brunswick Hilton. Other featured speakers include William

McDonough, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New

York; Susan Bostrom, senior vice president of Cisco Systems,

and Michael Bonsignore, CEO of Honeywell. Call 973-673-5790

A native of Germany, Reinhardt earned a degree in business from the

University of Sasketchewan, Class of 1964, received his PhD in economics

at Yale, and later conducted several study panels, among them the

Committee on the Implications of For Profit Medicine. He has also

served on numerous government committees addressing healthcare, and

was most recently appointed to the Board of Health Care Services at

the Institute of Medicine and as Commissioner of the Kaiser Commission

on Medicaid and the Uninsured. He has taught at Princeton since 1968.

With the recent backlash against HMOs, some businesses are returning

to more luxurious health plans in order to attract employees in a

tight labor market, says Reinhardt. Ultimately, that will send

healthcare costs soaring. "I believe that a health insurance system

that makes health insurance part of the labor contract makes it extremely

difficult to control health spending when the labor market is tight,

and that is particularly so if employees are kept ignorant of the

fact that premiums are taken out of their paycheck," he says.

"That’s why you see premiums go up."

The alternative is for employers to get out of the healthcare system

altogether, says Reinhardt, and let employees pay their own premiums.

"I believe that employers will want to get out of this messy sector

and do like businesses do in other nations, which is collect the premium

at payroll, but not otherwise manage anything — like Germany,

France, Latin America — all the socialized countries," he

says. "My hunch is that the insurance industry will eventually

say, look, if you don’t want us to handle manage care, we won’t. You

need us one way or the other to pay the bills, we know how to do that,

and maybe we can become information brokers, because we know a lot

about doctors in hospitals. So they are reincarnating themselves as

bill payers and information brokers, and less and less as managers

of care."

But as long as boomtimes are here, says Reinhardt, businesses are

more or less going to stick with the system that it has. "I think

you will see premiums rise in double digits, 12 percent perhaps, and

neither businesses nor employees, who really don’t care, can do much

about it."

Top Of Page
Healthcare Expensive? It’s What Some Want

Employer-sponsored health benefits may be costly, says

Sherry Glied, former economic advisor to the Bush and Clinton

Administrations, but they are still much less expensive than purchasing

health insurance plans on the open market.

"Employers might say here’s a chunk of money, go out and by yourself

health insurance, but I’m very skeptical that this will happen,"

she says. "Even though it’s a hot idea, I’m cold on it. There

are many reasons that employers are in the business of providing health

insurance to employees. For one, most employees want it, and it’s

much cheaper to buy it through employers than on the open market.

As long as the employees want to get health insurance benefits, and

employers can provide it cheaply, it’s going to be a match."

Glied speaks at the Tribus Companies’ seminar, "The Future of

Employer-Sponsored Health Benefits," on Thursday, May 18, at 8:30

a.m. at the Sheraton at Woodbridge Place, 515 Route 1 South, Iselin.

Call 800-726-1989, extension 2549.

A senior economist for health care and labor market policy for the

President’s Council of Economic Advisers under both Bush and Clinton,

Glied holds a B.A. in economics from Yale University and a Ph.D. in

economics from Harvard University. In addition to receiving the Robert

Wood Johnson Investigator Award for her studies on the U.S. employer-based

health insurance system, Glied also wrote a comprehensive book on

healthcare reform entitled "Chronic Condition" (Harvard University

Press, 1998). She is currently head of the health policy and management

division at Columbia’s school for public health.

Employer-sponsored health benefits may not be cheap, but individual

health insurance plans can be nearly 40 percent more expensive, says

Glied. "People gripe about the premiums they pay with their employer

coverage, but it’s much less than if they went out on to the open

market," says Glied. "When you sell on the individual market,

you face the risk of selection — people who are sicker are more

likely to buy on the open market."

Another reason employer-sponsored benefits are favored is that it’s

one less arduous administrative task for people to deal with, says

Glied. "Some surveys suggest that people are very happy that employers

are selecting their insurance for them," she says. "Human

resources handles a lot of work that the individual would otherwise

have to do."

Although managed care has been attacked on the grounds that it prohibits

patients’ freedom of choice and lacks quality, says Glied, a closer

look at managed care shows that many people are in fact happy with

the system. "Employees generally choose the managed care plan,"

she says. "All the evidence suggests that employers take quality

into account just as much as employees."

The rising costs of healthcare, says Glied, might be explained by

the fact that people are actually willing to spend more on healthcare

if they get more out of it. "People actually want to spend more

on healthcare," says Glied. "That sounds strange, but people

are wealthier than they were 10 years ago, and they’re saying `I’m

willing to pay a little bit more to see the doctor I want.’ That’s

why managed care plans are offering two-tier plans that let them go

out on their own."

"The thing that drives healthcare costs," says Glied, "is

the development of new technologies, new pharmaceuticals, and unless

we don’t want to see that, we’re going to have to pay for new stuff."

— Melinda Sherwood

Top Of Page
Business Financing Expo

Setting a record pace, the Small Business Administration

(SBA) of New Jersey approved 873 loans for $200 million to New Jersey

small businesses during the first six months of fiscal year 2000 —

a 31 percent increase over last year’s 666 loans, according to SBA

officials.

In Mercer County alone, the SBA approved 37 loans for a total of $8.6

million between October and March. "Instead of being a passive

agency we’re being proactive in taking the programs to the community,"

says Harry Menta, public affairs specialist at the SBA in Newark.

On Thursday, May 18, at 9 a.m. the SBA sponsors a Business Financing

Expo at Mercer County College, with MCCC’s Small Business Development

Center and the Service Corps of Retired Executives giving one-hour

presentations on their services and local lenders reviewing business

plans and offering applications. Call the SBA at 973-645-6064.

The Trenton Business Assistance Program, a micro-loan lender serving

four counties including Mercer, will also be in attendance to discuss

its loans for $25,000 or under.

Loans to minority-owned businesses nearly doubled in the first six

months of fiscal year 2000, according to SBA statistics. African Americans

received 56 loans, totaling $4.6 million, up from 25 loans in the

first six months of 1999. Asian Americans received 136 loans for $40.3

million, up from 87 for $26 million in the same period of 1999. Although

the number of loans to Hispanic American businesses increased, the

total amount of the loans — $6.4 million — dropped slightly

from last year. Accordingly, the SBA has decided that Hispanic-owned

businesses are a priority this year. "I believe we could be doing

much more for the Hispanic business community," said Francisco

A. Marrero, director of the NJSBA, in a press release. "We

need to be working more closely with organizations like the Statewide

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and other Latino business groups, as

well as our lending partners to help us identify Hispanic business

owners who can utilize the SBA’s programs and services."

Tuesday, May 23

Top Of Page
Who Owns E-Mail?

Not long ago employers believed all E-mail correspondences

conducted over the company network were property of the company, but

today the courts are siding differently, says Elaine Jacoby,

an attorney with Duane, Morris & Hecksher LLP, with a Princeton office

at 116 Village Boulevard. "We’re seeing cases filed involving

employee rights to their E-mail that federal and state statutes may

very well protect," says Jacoby, who conducts a workshop on "Piracy

and Privacy" on Tuesday, May 23, at 8:30 a.m. at the Princeton

Marriott. Call 609-734-4324.

The issues of piracy and privacy dovetail, says Jacoby, a 1963 graduate

of Mount Holyoke College, because the way in which employers maintain

security may impinge on employees’ rights to privacy protected by

law. "Employers have a legitimate reason in many instances to

want to monitor what employees are doing and prevent violations of

the law, but at the same time there is concern by employees that legitimate

personal communications will be interfered with," says Jacoby.

Although an employer does have the right to monitor employee productivity

and efficiency, which may in fact involve the monitoring of E-mail,

personal medical information is protected under the Americans with

Disabilities Act, and legitimate personal communications via E-mail

are protected under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and

under common law concepts of invasion of privacy. "When I say

personal interest, I mean a legitimate personal interest having to

do with one’s family or one’s health," says Jacoby.

Although the law is not set in stone, employers can prevent confusion

by telling employees that the computer system belongs to the employer

and let them know the extent to which they will be monitored, says

Jacoby. "If they don’t give notice up front," she says, "then

they have created the expectation that their E-mail is private, in

which case if they monitor it they may be subject to claims of invasion

of privacy."

Wednesday, May 24

Top Of Page
Workplace Diversity

Business favors diversity, says Virginia Ibarra,

executive vice president of cultural diversity at Summit Bancorp.

"In the year 2020, one-third of America will be comprised of African-American,

Asian American, and Hispanic-American people," she says. "At

this point the combined spending power of people of color is approximately

$1 trillion — that’s equal to the sixth largest economy in the

world. Companies are going to want to pay attention to that customer

base. They need to pay attention to their staffing internally to help

them understand and serve those customers."

Workforce diversity will be the focus of the next National Conference

for Community and Justice on Wednesday, May 24, at 8:30 a.m. at the

Merrill Lynch Corporate Training Facility at 800 Scudders Mill Road.

Ibarra and Patricia M. Harris, vice president and manager of

cultural/diversity training at Merrill Lynch, will both present their

company’s strategy for fostering workplace diversity. Katherine

Kish, chair of the Princeton Chamber, Diane Procaccini, vice president

of Merrill Lynch Bank USA, and Diane Schwartz, executive director

of the National Conference for Community and Justice New Jersey, will

welcome and introduce both speakers. Call 732-745-9419.

The National Conference for Community and Justice was founded in 1927

as a human relations organization dedicated to fighting bias, bigotry

and racism in America. It conducts programs and provides forums for

young people and adults, taking its message to schools, houses of

worship, community, and the workplace. "For years we talked about

the goals and the initiatives of becoming a more diverse and inclusive

society," says Ibarra, an 18-year veteran of Summit. "There’s

still a lot of work that needs to be done, and taking the business

approach has helped move that forward more quickly."

Summit’s workplace diversity program, established three years ago,

aims to bring more minorities into the workplace where they can inform

and enlighten the company and bring more minority customers into the

fold. "The percentage of potential customers and growth for Summit

is dependent on providing customers in the minority or under-served

market," says Ibarra. "We already have diversity, it’s about

being inclusive. If we had been successful in other initiatives to

give people access to jobs, services, and what the economy has to

offer, we would not need a diversity office. Obviously this is about

a continued lack of opportunity."

Ibarra has modeled Summit’s diversity program after those of well-respected

companies like Xerox, Avon, and Johnson & Johnson. "There are

three points you have to focus on when you want to change the culture

of your program," she says:

Develop a clear and compellingbusiness reason for taking

a proactive approach to being more inclusive. "It has to be communicated

to and understood by everybody in the company," says Ibarra.

Introduce the diversity initiatives not as a stand-alone

program, or a program of the month, but an initiative that will be

integrated into the fabric of the company.

Recognize that there are system changes that will be required.

There are policies, procedures, historic understandings about

how to do business that have to change, says Ibarra, but it’s a win-win

proposition. "As we have paid more attention to issues that women

are concerned about, for example, we have improved and humanized our

workplace in general, by addressing things that women are interested

in, such as child care, flexible work schedules," she says.

The challenge of workplace diversity, she says, is to "find ways

that are positive and good for the company and good for the employees

to make the workplace a better place to be."

— Melinda Sherwood

Top Of Page
Co-op Management

E-mail: BarbaraFox@princetoninfo.com

The people who participate in a community association

— for a condo, a co-op, a group of townhouses, a home owner group,

or planned unit development — are used to running a business and

want to keep track of where the assessments are going, says Lynn

Lobas of Community Association Institute (CAI). "It has been

proven that good communications is necessary for harmony. It keeps

all the residents on the same page — who maintains the lawn and

who maintains the snow."

Lobas is executive director of CAI at 1230 Parkway Avenue, Suite 305,

West Trenton 08628. On Wednesday, May 24, at 6:30 p.m. at the Woodbridge

Sheraton, Stark & Stark attorney Thomas Pryor will chair a panel

on getting community association communications up to date — putting

them on the Web. Talking about "The Virtual Community," effective

use of E-mail and website development, will be Albert Clark

of Community-Path.com, Scott Flood of iballot.com, and Kevin

Hersh of mfx Inc. Cost: $75. Call 609-882-3223 or fax 609-882-3733.

Lobas grew up in Morris County, went to Ohio University, Class of

1973, and has had this job for 20 years, ever since CAI was founded

by Woodbridge attorney Wendell Smith. "I took it on when it had

89 members and now we are 1,200 members," says Lobas.

CAI is a chapter of the national association based in Alexandria,

Virginia and is the second largest chapter in the country, second

only to Washington Metro. "New Jersey has a lot of community association

properties. Because we have been in existence for over 20 years, we

have been quite diligent in inviting new members," says Lobas.

A community association can be anything more than two or three units,

according to the definition supplied by the state department of community

affairs. Including the small condos at beach resorts that probably

means the state has from 2,000 to 2,200 associations. Condos started

being built in 1970s and laws were just going on the books. Now industry

trends are moving to adult communities and assisted living communities

In spite of intensive recruitment Lobas estimates that CAI has just

30 percent of the eligible members in New Jersey:. "We hear all

the time that people don’t even know we are available."

Thursday, May 25

Top Of Page
Web Fundraising

E-mail: MelindaSherwood@princetoninfo.com

Non-profit organizations are just beginning to discover

the money-raising potential of the Web — that is, how developing

a strong website and nurturing a virtual community of givers can be

a vital element of the fundraising process. Some non-profits like

the Red Cross already have a strong Internet presence and vehicle

for online fundraising. But the real value of the Internet is its

ability to reach out to new people and communities, says Laura

Blanchard, an electronic publishing specialist at the University

of Pennsylvania. "At this point the issue of friendraising is

as important as the issue of fundraising," says Blanchard. "For

non-profits, large gifts online are going to happen, but what the

Web can do is help us expand our communication with key constituencies."

And a smart, exciting, and cutting edge website means tapping non-traditional

constituencies as well. At the University of Pennsylvania library,

for example, fundraisers have been able to capture the attention of

technophiles as well as bibliophiles, says Blanchard, who speaks on

"Fundraising and Friendraising on the Web," on Thursday, May

25, at noon at the Women in Development meeting at Peddie School’s

Coates Coleman House. Call 609-895-5775. The meeting is open only

to members and their guests.

A executive director of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special

Collections Libraries, Blanchard was approached by the American Library

Association to write a book on the Internet’s impact on non-profits

and on library fundraising in particular. Co-authored by Adam Corson-Finnerty,

the book, "Fundraising and Friendraising on the Web" (1998,

ALA) covers everything from building a cyber-community to the nuts

and bolts of website design (a "donate here" button).

You can read select chapters of the book at www.fund-online.com,

a site that Blanchard and Corson-Finnerty jointly developed for the

non-profit community — libraries, universities, disaster and relief

organizations, charities, and social change organizations — with

useful links, seminar schedules, and "musings" that bring

discussions of the Internet and fundraising up-to-date. "The

book is two years old, which is 14 years old in Internet years, that’s

why we negotiated with our publisher to put a large portion of it

online," says Blanchard. "It was outdated the moment it came

off the press. All of it is fairly good information, but a lot more

is happening today."

One musing entitled, "Does Old Ivy Have An E-Strategy," written

by Corson-Finnerty, examines the struggle going on within academe

to use technology to enhance the school’s educational mission, which

would bring education to a whole new customer base, while at the same

time remaining true to its elitist, ivory tower instincts. "Cybergifts"

explores most well-received web fundraising tactics — the vices

and virtues of spam, for example.

Since most non-profit institutions are still in the process of implementing

their website, however, Blanchard and Corson-Finnerty’s book gives

these reasons to get online:

Create a new "public face" that can be changed and

improved easily

Instantaneously publish and make available any document to

a global audience.

Alter, revise, your communications in a matter of minutes.

Create communications matrices for volunteers.

Publicize your events in new and exciting ways. Build

in interactivity so that your site becomes an "event" in its

own right.

Undertake creative forms of donor recognition. Everybody

likes to see their face online, so imagine a site that rewards its

major donors in a cyber gallery.

Of course, the most essential feature of any website is a straightforward,

online mechanism for making online credit card donations, a "no

fuss, no muss" way for people to support their favorite charity

or alma mater. The next step is being creative about it, says Blanchard,

who cites CyberCoin.com, where children create and display online

art work and purchases of art are donated to Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Before going interactive, however, start with the basics, says Blanchard.

Let your audience know what you are about and what they can do to

help.

Top Of Page
7 x 24 Backup Pros

E-mail: BarbaraFox@princetoninfo.com

If you are in charge of the data center and infrastructure

at a company like Bristol-Myers Squibb, Lucent, or Bell Atlantic —

and if you want to sleep at night — you have made darn sure to

have triple backups in place to protect your data 24 hours a day,

seven days a week.

There’s a trade group for everything, and there’s a trade group for

this too. It used to be called the Uninterruptible Uptime Users Group,

and now it is known as the 7×24 Exchange, a knowledge exchange for

those who design, build, use, and maintain mission-critical enterprise

information infrastructures. It aims to improve end-to-end reliability

by encouraging these groups to talk to each other.

A new chapter, the seventh in the nation, will meet for the first

time on Thursday, May 25, at 5:30 p.m. at SAP America’s headquarters

in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Membership packages will be handed

out at this kick-off meeting and will be mailed to prospective members

in June. For information call Russ Mykytyn, executive director,

at 215-826-1168 (www.7x24Exchange.org).

Exchange of information among the leading companies that live in a

7×24 world is critical, says Phil Davis, the inaugural president

and project manager of facility operations for MBNA. "Even though

the majority of the Fortune 500 companies have highly sophisticated,

high availability infrastructures already in place, there are hundreds

if not thousands of companies that can benefit by having the opportunity

to exchange experiences in a non-sales, professional setting."

Quarterly meetings will be held at high profile facilities in order

to attract both IT and facility people from a broad range of companies.

Programs will be educational, structured, yet informal, and vendors

will be encouraged to "add value through their involvement"

but are forbidden to do direct or overt selling at the meetings.

Richard Maurer of Bristol-Myers Squibb is vice president

of the group. Maurer is facilities and engineering manager of BMS

Hopewell Data Center, chairman of the BMS technology reliability committee,

and senior electrical engineer for global operations of BMS.

Companies represented on the board with regional offices in Princeton

include Gilbane at Princeton Crossroads Corporate Center and Bala

Consulting on Clarksville Road. Other founding members include SAP

America, the Vanguard Group, Penn Power, DuPont, Bell Atlantic, SunGuard,

PNC Bank, First Union Bank, Wyeth-Ayerst, and Lucent Technologies.

The executive director, Mykytyn, is formerly a partner with Clarksville

Road-based Creative Marketing Alliance and is now vice president of

strategic marketing at DVL Inc. and DVL Automation, a high availability

systems integration firm in Bristol, Pennsylvania.

The new 7×24 Exchange Delaware Valley Chapter hopes to become an active

one. "We have the key people in our market who have built and

run some of the most critical, high availability infrastructures in

the country, and are willing to share their experiences with new members,"

says Davis.

Top Of Page
Donations Needed

Barr Laboratories and Wyeth-Ayerst are co-sponsoring

a golf invitational for the New Jersey Organ and Tissue Sharing Network

(The Sharing Network) but other sponsors are also needed. Registration

for the four-person scramble tournament will be Thursday, June 22,

at 11 a.m. at Fiddler’s Elbow Country Club in Bedminster.

The Sharing Network is a non-profit procurement organization

that recovers organs and tissue for transplant in New Jersey. Players

have the chance to win a 2000 Lincoln LS and a cruise to Tahiti. Jay

Golden , trick shot artist and comedian, will entertain, and Rick

Cerone, former New York Yankees catcher and now owner of the Newark

minor league baseball team, will be a celebrity player. Call Gary

Johnson at 973-331-1070 or 800-SHARE-NJ, extension 3450.

Top Of Page
Bike to Work Day

Turn the daily commute into a wonderful bike ride through the countryside

on Friday, May 19, National Bike To Work Day.

In Somerset County, RideWise, a non-profit advocating alternate commuting

choices, will offer participating cyclists prizes for, among other

things, completing the longest commute, or the company with the most

participating employees. Call RideWise at 908-704-1011.

Top Of Page
Nominations

The search is on for New Jersey’s Family Businesses of The Year,

sponsored by PNC Bank, the Rothman Institute of Entrepreneurial Studies,

and New Jersey Monthly. Nominations will be accepted until June 1.

To be eligible, a business must include, or have included, more than

one generation. To request a nomination form, call 973-993-5600.


Previous Story Next Story


Corrections or additions?


This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com

— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.

Facebook Comments