Valley Health System welcomes new directors and board leadership – Royal Examiner
At its meeting on Wednesday, June 1, the Warren County School Board unanimously approved a new health insurance provider for Warren County Public Schools (WCPS) employees, and the superintendent highlighted how the division works continuously to mitigate any incident that may compromise the security of WCPS. students, staff and employees.
School Board Chair Kirsten Pence, Board Vice Chair Ralph Rinaldi and Board Members Antoinette Funk, Andrea Lo and Melanie Salins approved a change of health insurance provider from Aetna to Anthem The Local Choice (TLC) . Effective September 30, the WCPS and Aetna health insurance contract will be terminated, with the new WCPS Anthem TLC contract taking effect October 1 for a 12-month term.
Ed White, senior vice president of McGriff Insurance Services in Winchester, Va., WCPS’ health insurance agent, reminded school board members that due to a contractual stalemate in 2020,
WCPS elected to move from Anthem TLC to a contract with Aetna effective February 1, 2021, which was guaranteed for 20 months. The Aetna contract, which ends Sept. 30, will have saved WCPS a total of $1.28 million compared to the previous contract with Anthem TLC, White said.
Now, however, Aetna has told WCPS that because medical/dental/vision claims aren’t doing well, the school division could expect a potentially large increase in renewals in October, White said.
With that in mind, White said WCPS has again decided to solicit quotes through a tender for the coming year in hopes of keeping the current benefits structure intact. In addition to Aetna’s renewal rates, four other health insurers provided quotes: Anthem Direct, Cigna, United Healthcare and TLC (with Anthem and Delta administration). Quotes ranged in cost from a high with Aetna of 34% to a low with TLC of 6.2%.
“All the quotes are close, but The Local Choice is the most competitive,” said White, who noted that the combined savings of moving to Aetna and returning to TLC will have saved WCPS and its employees nearly $1.7 million over the 32 months.
It is equally important that WCPS employees are kept harmless under the new contract, said WCPS personnel director Shane Goodwin, explaining that their current health insurance rates will not change when the change of provider is complete. .
WCPS Superintendent Christopher Ballenger said rising health insurance premium costs will be covered by growth in the division’s health savings account, which is expected to total nearly $1 million by autumn.
With the recent massacre last week at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas – where a sniper killed 19 students and two teachers and injured others – being a priority, Ballenger said he wanted to take the time to discuss what WCPS is doing to secure the security of its facilities.
WCPS has a crisis management plan which is developed and reviewed with input from the Front Royal Police Department, the County Sheriff’s Office, Fire and Rescue, school administrators and the local health department, among others. “Many entities are involved in developing the plan,” he said, noting that the next meeting to review the plan for the upcoming school year will be on July 20.
“There are so many things we do to make sure our facilities are secure and a lot of that falls on the Warren County Sheriff’s Office,” Ballenger added.
For example, Sgt. Burke leads the division’s School Resource Officers (SROs). “Being a school resource officer takes a lot,” she told board members. “Not your normal Warren County Sheriff’s Deputy can enter the school resource. You have to love children. »
Burke and the SROs run daily safety audits at every school in Warren County. These audits, Burke said, include checking to make sure windows, doors and entry/exit points are secure.
“We’re constantly looking to make sure there’s no way anyone can get in,” she said.
SROs also check outdoor areas around schools, as well as their camera systems, and each SRO also receives a school radio to stay in constant contact with school administrators, she said.
“We remain very busy on a daily basis checking schools for safety,” Burke said.
At the same time, Ballenger said there are regular conversations between WCPS staff and the SROs about what steps need to be taken to keep WCPS facilities safe.
One such conversation, for example, included discussions about the use of annual security grants, which help WCPS purchase new or updated cameras and security systems, among other things.
Ballenger said that during a recent audit, he and the SRO decided that the grant money could also be used to pay to extend indoor intercom systems to outdoor areas of schools. This would allow teachers and students to hear emergency announcements when outdoors.
“We are constantly improving and increasing the security of our buildings on a daily basis,” Ballenger said, noting the lockdown drills that are carried out regularly, as well as the updated search and seizure policy (i.e. say the newly authorized canine searches), vehicle checks in parking lots and an increased police presence at major events.
And before the incident in Texas, he said training for school administrators was already scheduled for this summer. Part of this training will include incident command, which is basically managing an emergency incident, as well as the roles and responsibilities of school personnel and first responders during an active shooter incident, for example. ORS-specific training will also be held, Ballenger said.
Additionally, Burke said there is an active shooting program held at schools during the summer or evenings twice a year “to keep our training fresh because we have to be ready.”
She added that there was “a huge shortage” this year with ORS. “But from what I understand, we’ll have a full house next year,” Burke said, “and there will be one SRO per school in the division.”
In other actions
School board members at their June 1 meeting also unanimously approved:
1. A resolution authorizing the superintendent to reassign any teacher, vice-principal or principal within the school division for the 2022-2023 school year.
2. A contract award of $55,430.59 to OpenRDA for financial software support for fiscal year 2022-2023 (FY); the contract is contingent upon the allocation of sufficient funds once the FY2023 budget is approved.
3. Title I, II, III, and IV grant applications, which will now be submitted to the Virginia Department of Education.
4. A contract award of $18,010 to School Insites to build, migrate and maintain a new website for WCPS. The cost of the project will be $18,010 for the 2022-2023 school year for installation, migration, and training, then $12,960 for hosting, monitoring, and support each year thereafter. according to WCPS Chief Technology Officer Timothy Grant.
Click here to watch the full school board meeting. The school board will hold its working session on Wednesday, June 15.