News

Penn State employees protest health care policy

Written by Craig Layne, Morning Edition Host/Reporter | Aug 14, 2013 11:47 AM
woessner.jpg

Matthew Woessner, an associate professor at Penn State's Harrisburg campus, speaking on Radio Smart Talk.

(Harrisburg) -- Penn State employees angry with a university policy on health care are taking their fight to the internet, while one midstate professor is asking his fellow workers to participate in civil disobedience.

Matthew Woessner is an associate professor of political science and public policy at Penn State Harrisburg.

He's behind an open letter to PSU employees, asking them to fill out a university-mandated wellness survey with nonsense -- to protest what he calls an invasion of privacy.

Speaking on witf's Radio Smart Talk, Woessner says the policy of fining workers who don't adhere to the plan guidelines could set a precedent for employer-offered health insurance.

"Many of us have tenure, so we have the ability to speak out and to criticize the plan without fear of getting fired," Woessner says. "If this type of thing can happen in a university, then in any corporate environment they'll think they have a green light. It's very important that this plan is defeated on this battleground because people in other venues are going to be much more vulnerable."

An art history professor in State College has started an online petition opposing the move.

It has more than 2,000 signatures.

In a statement, Penn State says similar plans are in place in the corporate world, and the school faces serious health care funding challenges.

Administrators say the school will not have access to individual employee health records, nor will it charge employees additional fees based on their health status.

Published in Harrisburg, News

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Comments: 2

  • Professor C img 2013-08-14 13:43

    The university really needs to reevaluate this program. It is doubtful that it will save them much in healthcare costs and the impact on employee time and morale far exceeds any benefits they could possibly derive from this. Wake up, PSU, and start working with your employees, not against them.

  • John Harvey img 2013-08-14 19:07

    The professor seemed unsure of the purpose of the questions about divorce and family problems. Those are all standard questions on a screening for depression.

    My question is why is this screening being done through WebMD? Since the university says they will not have access to individual employee's medical information, what information will they get and what benefit will the university get from forcing employees to fill out the survey?

    It sounds like an attempt to force employees to improve their health. Most incentive programs like that work the other way, if you improve your health you get a monetary or other reward.

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