to the budget activity noted in last
we wanted to provide updates on some key legislative and policy
issues important to the University at the federal, state, and
idea of linking community service with the Federal Work Study
program is currently popular in Washington. Both the Bush Administration
and Congressional leaders have released plans that would require
colleges and universities to devote increased Work Study funding
to community service activities.
while community service was highly encouraged, the Federal Work
Study program did not have a percentage requirement. The first
percentage requirement took place in 1994 with five percent of
total federal Work Study wages going to students in community
service. The Higher Education Act currently mandates that institutions
devote at least seven percent of their Federal Work Study funds
to community service. Prior to last fall, a 10 percent requirement
was widely anticipated.
recent study showed that Penn devotes 12.6 percent of our Work
Study funds to community service. We are in the top among peer
institutions, falling behind only Stanford and narrowly edging
Harvard and Columbia.
his State of the Union address, President Bush announced a plan
that would require institutions to utilize 50 percent of Work
Study funding for community service. The proposal would also require
that at least five percent of Work Study participants work in
the homeland security fields of public safety, public health,
and emergency preparedness. Further details are not yet available.
Congress, Senators Evan Bayh (D-IN) and John McCain (R-AZ) have
introduced the Call to Service Act of 2001, which aims to revamp
national service programs and expand community service opportunities
legislation would require that all colleges utilize 25 percent
of Work Study dollars to finance students in community service
jobs. This would occur incrementally, with full implementation
of the 25 percent figure by 2011.
measure would expand the Americorps program to include 250,000
members (currently 50,000 individuals serve), and link service
programs to national security. It would also remove post-service
awards from participants' taxable incomes.
who have spoken to Senator Bayh's staff about this measure state
that the Senator intends the 25 percent figure to be a starting
point for debate, and is willing to negotiate for a lower number.
Edward Kennedy (D-MA), who chairs the Senate committee with jurisdiction
over this legislation, does not support the measure. However,
the issue had gained a lot of attention and will likely be dealt
with in some manner. The University will work closely with the
higher education community to offer changes in Federal Work Study
policies that would facilitate an increase.
Costs in Pennsylvania
Health System--along with other providers (both physicians and
hospitals) in the Commonwealth--is faced with extraordinarily
high medical liability costs. More recently, some private practice
physicians, especially in certain sub-specialties, have not been
able to obtain commercial coverage at any price.
the University's perspective, the causes of this "crisis"
are varied and complex including Pennsylvania's medical legal
system and rules, the CAT Fund mechanism (which provides coverage
from $500,000 to $1,200,000), and the high number of healthcare
providers in the area. The consequences are significant and include
a high number of medical malpractice cases, significant jury awards,
and very high medical malpractice insurance premiums in comparison
to other states. In data collected by the Pennsylvania Medical
Society (PMS), insurance carriers in 2001 implemented rate increases
ranging from 20% to 60%, the CAT Fund surcharges for physicians
and other providers increased during the same period by more than
25%, and Pennsylvania medical malpractice premiums are 40% to
70% higher than surrounding states.
potential impact on access to care is significant. Physicians,
especially in orthopaedic and neurosurgery, obstetrics and emergency
medicine, are considering relocating or changing their practice
specialties, and the Clinical Practices of the University of Pennsylvania
(CPUP) and other practices are experiencing challenges in recruiting
physicians to this area--in part due to the ever increasing cost
of professional liability coverage. While the Health System is
able to provide coverage for faculty and its employed physicians
through its insurance company, the financial impact on the Health
System is significant. Budgeted FY 2002 cost of $17.5 million
for the primary layer of insurance represents a 31% increase over
FY 2001 actual cost and a 43% increase over FY 2001 budgeted cost.
Similarly, budgeted FY 2002 aggregate total professional liability
cost of $44.4 million represents a 21% increase over FY 2001 actual
cost and a 28% increase over FY 2001 budgeted cost.
University has been working through various coalitions/associations,
and as an institution, to seek reform of the Pennsylvania medical
malpractice liability system. These coalition efforts include
advocacy campaigns by the Hospital and Health System of Pennsylvania,
the Urban Health Care Coalition, and Greater Philadelphia First.
Pennsylvania Senate and House responded to the calls for medical
malpractice reform. On February 13, the State House of Representatives
amended and then overwhelmingly approved last week a medical malpractice
reform bill, HB1802, which had been passed by the Senate the previous
day. In modifying, rather than simply approving, the Senate-passed
bill, the House stalled a Senate version opposed by the Hospital
Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) and PMS as inadequate in its
CAT fund relief and tort reform provisions. Although it does not
include all of the tort reform and short-term CAT Fund relief
sought by PMS/HAP and UPHS, the House-passed bill would modify
the joint and several liability rule to include proportional liability
for non-economic damages above $1 million. It also requires that
awards for non-economic damages be reduced to present worth or
paid periodically, thus strengthening the tort reform provisions
contained in the Senate-passed legislation. The House did not,
however, amend the legislation further to provide additional short-term
relief in the form of lower caps on CAT Fund surcharges over the
next several years.
1802 has been sent back to the Senate for concurrence with House
amendments. The House and Senate will be in recess until
March 12, so no further action will occur until then.
and Community Relations
months of delay, two key issues appear resolved by City Council.
City Council members are required by the City Charter to adopt
a new redistricting map, redrawing the lines of its 10 districts
to ensure equal population in each district based on new US Census
figures. Since the fall session, this process had City Council
members and the Administration very divided. Initial redistricting
measures negotiated by Council President Verna were vetoed twice
by Mayor Street. On February 7, City Council renegotiated a new
plan that passed in City Council. Mayor Street signed into law
this third bill redrawing councilmanic district lines, enabling
council members to draw their first paychecks since October. The
new district boundaries take effect in 2004, after the next councilmanic
Transformation Initiative (NTI): Early last year, the Mayor
introduced his comprehensive Neighborhood Transformation Initiative
as a vehicle to improve the quality of life in communities throughout
the City. Council President Verna offered a competing blight bill
in November, providing a different funding and oversight scheme
than the Mayor's proposal. In December, the City Council Committee
on Finance conducted a two-day hearing on Council President Verna's
bill. Penn's West Philadelphia Initiatives were frequently cited
as an example of the value of investment in community revitalization.
The full Council passed Verna's bill unanimously in December,
but the Mayor vetoed the measure. City Council has since held
hearings on the Mayor's original proposal offered by Councilman
Darrell Clark and a new bill has been negotiated. The plan requires
the Administration to submit an annual Neighborhood Transformation
Initiative budget and project statement to Council. However, it
eliminates Verna's proposed project review team, which would have
had authority to approve all contracts and expenditures. The renegotiated
plan meets the Mayor's expectations for oversight of the bond.
Once the bill is passed by City Council and signed into law, as
appears likely, bond-funded NTI program activity could begin as
soon as July.