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Review group addresses medical recommendations

The working group convened by President Susan Hockfield in December 2005 in response to the report of the Task Force on Medical Care for the MIT Community has completed its work, reviewing and successfully addressing all 41 of the report's recommendations, Theresa Stone, executive vice president and treasurer, has announced.

In a letter to the MIT community, Stone wrote, "On the basis of careful analysis, the Institute has dedicated resources for new personnel and programs while working to ensure that existing investments are used most effectively. In many cases, the implementation process has meant the introduction not only of new practices but also of new tools for assessment and ongoing improvement. The activities of the working group have also built a team that will continue to work collaboratively to advance these issues in the future."

Stone commented, "This initiative has strengthened both our medical services and our health insurance programs, while establishing a process and framework that will better enable MIT to manage these challenges in the future. Going forward, the Medical Department and Benefits will continue the creative partnership they have established to develop a comprehensive health, wellness, and disability strategy for our community."

Her letter highlighted some of the actions taken to address the report's recommendations.

"With respect to the Medical Department, major accomplishments to date have included increased clinical staffing, including both internists and nurses; improved access and services in mental health, dental, and wellness programs; and the development of new tools for quality assessment. We have also assessed and enhanced the financial management systems and processes that support our provision of medical care, so that our investments in clinical services can have the greatest long-term impact. The Center for Health Promotion and Wellness continues to advance its efforts to help members of the community to adopt and maintain healthy behaviors, attitudes and lifestyles," she noted.

The Institute has also increased the share of health insurance costs it bears "in order to slow the rate of premium increases for plan subscribers. We have also evaluated and negotiated favorable plans and/or pricing for medical care, dental care and prescriptions. Looking ahead, the analytical framework is in place to support even more effective use of the health insurance premiums paid by MIT and members of the community," Stone wrote.

A final report is available at the task force web site: Further information will be available in coming issues of MIT Tech Talk and the Faculty Newsletter.

The members of the working group were Tricia Fay, director of benefits, Sherwin Greenblatt, then executive vice president and treasurer, Bill Kettyle, director of MIT Medical, Jim Morgan, controller, and Israel Ruiz, director of finance.

Stone also noted, "We remain deeply grateful to Professor Paul Joskow and his colleagues on the Medical Task Force for providing us with such a thoughtful and comprehensive assessment on which to build even stronger health care programs for the Institute's faculty, students and staff."

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 21, 2007 (download PDF).

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