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Posts Tagged: October 2016

Open Enrollment 2017 begins Oct. 27, ends Nov. 22

Open Enrollment is Thursday, Oct. 27, 8 a.m. to Tuesday, Nov. 22, 5 p.m. It has some significant changes and new options for you and your eligible family members.

“There's a lot of good news this year,” said Dwaine Duckett, UC vice president of human resources. “We've worked hard to manage costs, and offer the protection of disability insurance to more faculty and staff than ever before. I encourage everyone to take a careful look at their options this year, to make sure they're taking full advantage of their UC benefits.”

2017 highlights:

  • Employees will see small increases, or even decreases, in their contributions toward medical premiums this year. Over 90% of employees will see increases under $10 a month, and no increases are over $12 a month. The news is even better for members of UC Care, whose monthly contributions will decrease. Dental and vision plans are still offered by UC at no cost for employees.
  • Don't miss your one-time opportunity to change or add UC's Voluntary Disability Insurance during Open Enrollment, with no statement of health required. UC has expanded eligibility for this coverage, so this may be your best opportunity to enroll. Disability coverage can help protect your income if you miss work because of a pregnancy, illness or injury — see details below.
  • UC's preferred provider organization (PPO) medical plans (Core, UC Care and UC Health Savings Plan, as well as UC High Option Supplement to Medicare, UC Medicare PPO and UC Medicare PPO without Prescription Drugs) will have new administrators next year for behavioral health and prescription drug benefits. UC has worked to minimize disruption for members, but there are a few steps you should take to make sure you're prepared for the change. Please look for further details during Open Enrollment.
  • Kaiser Permanente is expanding into Santa Cruz County, with three new medical offices.
  • Health Net Blue & Gold has added several new provider groups in Southern and Northern California, and members in the San Francisco Bay Area will benefit from the Canopy Health alliance formed between Hill Physicians-SF (UCSF), John Muir Health, Meritage Medical Network and the affiliated hospitals.

Disability insurance — Take this opportunity to protect your finances

Time away from work for an illness, injury or pregnancy could mean months without a paycheck. While UC's basic employer-paid disability insurance offers some protection – a benefit capped at $800 per month for six months — it probably won't be enough to cover your expenses. For a modest monthly premium, UC's Voluntary Disability Insurance replaces much more of your income — 60 percent of your eligible pay up to $15,000 per month — for additional financial security when you need it most.

UC is changing its disability insurance offerings to give all benefits-eligible employees (full, mid-level or core) new options for protecting their finances. During Open Enrollment, you'll have a one-time opportunity to enroll in Voluntary Short-Term Disability (benefits up to six months), Long-Term Disability (benefits after six months, up to your Social Security retirement age) or both.

The flexibility of UC's new disability options allows you to tailor your coverage to your needs and budget. For example, choosing only Voluntary Long-Term Disability Insurance might be a good option for faculty eligible for paid medical leave (see APM 710-11PDF) or employees with a substantial balance of sick leave accrued. Choosing both Short- and Long-Term Disability provides the most comprehensive protection for all types of disability leaves.

If you've never thought about disability insurance, this is the year to take a look. During Open Enrollment, you cannot be denied enrollment in Voluntary Disability Insurance due to an existing medical condition. If you wait to enroll (after Open Enrollment ends), you'll need to submit a statement of health to enroll, and you may not qualify. To ensure continuing protection, those who are currently enrolled in Supplemental Disability and don't take action during Open Enrollment will be automatically enrolled in both Short- and Long-Term Voluntary Disability Insurance. This change will affect your premium costs, though, so take the time to choose the coverage you need. You can reduce or discontinue coverage at any time.

Learn more about your 2017 disability insurance options here.

PPO administrator changes

The administrator of your plan processes claims, creates a network of health care providers or pharmacies and sets clinical policies and guidelines. For 2017, a number of administrators will be changing for UC's PPO plans (Core, UC Care and UC Health Savings Plan, as well as UC High Option Supplement to Medicare, UC Medicare PPO and UC Medicare PPO without Prescription Drugs):

  • Medical — Anthem Blue Cross replaces Blue Shield as the administrator of medical benefits for UC's PPO plans. HealthEquity will continue as the health savings account custodian.
  • Behavioral health — Anthem Blue Cross replaces Optum as the administrator of behavioral health benefits for UC Care and UC Health Savings Plan. Anthem replaces Blue Shield as the administrator of behavioral health benefits for Core, UC High Option Supplement to Medicare and UC Medicare PPO.
  • Prescription drugs — OptumRx replaces Blue Shield as the administrator of prescription drug benefits for UC's PPO plans.

During Open Enrollment, members will learn more about how best to prepare for the change. For example, you'll want to confirm your current doctors and other providers (including behavioral health) are in-network in 2017, and to check the OptumRx formulary to confirm the costs of your prescription medications. If you're currently receiving treatment, you may be eligible for transition assistance, depending on your situation.

Growing HMO options

There will be no significant HMO plan changes in 2017, but some new choices may make an HMO plan a better option for some members:

  • Kaiser Permanente is opening new medical offices in Watsonville, downtown Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley. Local hospital services and inpatient care will be provided by Watsonville Community Hospital as well as at nearby Kaiser Permanente medical centers in Santa Clara and San Jose. Kaiser Permanente Santa Cruz County facilities provide services to non-Medicare members only, so this option is not available if one or more family members is enrolled in Medicare.
  • The Canopy Health alliance formed between Hill Physicians-SF (UCSF), John Muir Health, Meritage Medical Network and the affiliated hospitals will increase access to providers for Health Net Blue & Gold members in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you choose a PCP within one of these medical groups, you will have access to the entire Canopy Health alliance and your PCP can offer referrals to any clinically appropriate specialist within Canopy Health.
  • New Blue & Gold medical group choices in 2017 include Facey Medical Group in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, Monarch HealthCare Medical Group in Orange County, and Primary Care Associates Medical Group in San Diego County. Members of Direct Network — Merced will now have access to physicians located at Dignity Health Medical Group — Merced.

Your Open Enrollment website and booklet will be available the week of Oct. 24, with all of the details about your options and costs. Take time to review your choices, so you'll have the right benefits for you and your family in 2017.

Posted on Monday, October 24, 2016 at 12:13 PM

AggieTravel replacing MyTravel in November

AggieTravel is replacing MyTravel, the UC Davis travel and entertainment expense reporting system. ANR's go-live date for AggieTravel has been rescheduled to mid-November. This delay is due to a slow-down in the implementation schedule across the UC Davis campus in order to provide more support to each group that joins.

“Thanks to all of you have already spent time in the AggieTravel test area familiarizing yourself with the system,” said Sally Harmsworth, associate director of Business Operations. “The test area will continue to be available until go-live.”

To visit the AggieTravel test area, go to and log in with The password is “welcome1.”

A recording of an in-person training is available:

A schedule of in-person training in Davis is available at

Additional information and resources for AggieTravel are available at

Harmsworth will relay updates received from the UC Davis AF&S Travel Department.


Posted on Monday, October 24, 2016 at 11:52 AM

UC archivist begins curating UC Cooperative Extension history

Lisa Vallen, UCCE archivist at UC Merced.
Going back to 1917, farm advisors in Merced County wrote meticulous weekly logs, documenting the number of miles they drove, the farmers they met, the phone calls they took and the trainings they held.

“It is a wealth of information about their activities, and I think it will be a really great resource for research,” said Lisa Vallen, a professional archivist who is working in the UC Merced library under a memorandum of understanding with UC Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The logs, plus annual reports and a collection of photos dating back to 1916 are among the first documents that Vallen will review as she embarks on a year-long pilot project to curate and preserve the history of UC Cooperative Extension.

A native of the Midwest, Vallen earned a bachelor's degree at Lake Forest College and a master's degree in library and information sciences from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).  While completing her graduate degree, she worked on preserving the UIUC library physical collection, digitizing theses and dissertations and processing a collection of author H. G. Wells' personal correspondence, publishers' correspondence, and other printed materials.

Vallen wrote about her experience with the H.G. Wells material on the UIUC Non Solus Blog. She quoted a letter written by Wells in 1945 to his brother Frederick about his frustration at not being credited for predicting the atomic bomb 30 years before it was dropped during World War II.

“I'm all right & everything misses me. I explained the inevitableness of the atomic bomb half a century ago & it is rather infuriating to have all these journalistic halfwits explaining that here's something Mr. Wells did not foresee,” the letter said.

Vallen has also written about the challenge of digitizing old, brittle publications in an effort to provide a usable surrogate for books that can no longer circulate due to their fragility.

“In many cases, we hold the only copy of record and it is incredibly important for this copy to be preserved and readily accessible to our users,” Vallen wrote in the UIUC Preservation Every Day Blog.

In her UC Cooperative Extension work, Vallen found that Merced County office has 393 cubic feet of historical items, totaling about 164,000 in number. There are photographs for which copyright must be established, publications that may already be digitized by UC ANR or UC Davis, weather and climate data, and plant and insect specimens that may or may not have historical value.

“First we'll be going through and identifying materials, arranging the materials, recording metadata, such as date, author and title to create descriptions,” Vallen said. “And then we can begin digitizing.”

UCCE in Ventura County is also part of the pilot. Vallen said the county office has 700 photographs dating from 1916 to the 1950s, and many are mounted on cards with hand-written captions.

“Photos on their own are great, but when they come with context, it has additional value,” she said.

Humboldt County UCCE historical items will round out Vallen's work under the current MOU, but staff and academics at all UCCE offices are encouraged to locate historical materials for preservation, including annual reports, project summaries and raw data.

“They don't have to do anything with it, just hold onto the material they have,” Vallen said. “Even if they think something isn't historical or I wouldn't be interested, I'd still like for them to hang on to it until I have a chance to view it.”

Posted on Friday, October 21, 2016 at 11:05 AM

Crucial Conversations training registration opens

ANR Learning & Development is sponsoring two “Crucial Conversations” trainings in spring 2017:

  1. Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 1-2, 2017, in Davis, at 2801 Second Street.  On Wednesday, February 1, the training is from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Thursday, February 2, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  1. Wednesday and Thursday, April 26-27, 2017, at the South Coast REC in Irvine.  On Wednesday, April 26, the training is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Thursday, April 27, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  1. You may also select “I can participate in either session” when you pre-register.

Training is open to all UC ANR academics, UC ANR staff employees, and Cooperative Extension county-paid employees who have not taken the Crucial Conversations training in the past.  All expenses related to the training (registration fee, travel, lodging, meals and training materials) will be reimbursed by UC ANR funds according to UC travel policy.

Twenty participants will be accepted for each training course.  Individuals selected to participate in the training will need to participate the full period of the training. Therefore, if you cannot commit to the full 14 hours of training, we ask that you not pre-register for the training.  We also encourage you to inform your supervisor of your interest to participate in this training.

If you are interested in the training, please pre-register by Nov. 30 at

Individuals who have pre-registered will be notified on December 9 of their acceptance to participate in the two-day training.  A waiting list of those interested but not selected to participate in the training will be established in order for the trainers to contact you should individuals cancel from the training.

“Crucial Conversations” provides tools for talking when stakes are high, emotions are strong, and opinions differ.  The objectives of the 14-hour training are to provide the participants tools that will assist the participant in:

  • Building greater personal influence and power
  • Moving “stuck” work-related relationships and projects forward
  • Improving personal, team and unit results
  • Reducing stress from team frustrations and blocked communication

Your program-certified trainers Jan Corlett and Linda Marie Manton thank you for considering participation in “Crucial Conversations” training.  If you have questions, please contact Jan Corlett at

Posted on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 at 12:06 PM

IPMinfo app now available for Android devices

IPMinfo app, which was released last year for iOS devices, is now available with advanced features for Android devices. The app provides biology, symptoms of damage and management options for pests and diseases. The pest information is available in English and Spanish.

The free app, which currently has information about strawberry pests and diseases, has been well-received by the industry, according to Surendra Dara, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in San Luis Obispo County, who developed the app.

Dara plans to add details on weeds and disorders and multiple crops. The strawberry and vegetable crops advisor is taking a short sabbatical leave until Jan. 31 to develop content for vegetables for the app. A new version for iOS devices will be released in the near future.

Dara welcomes feedback through the app or via email at

Details about IPMinfo can be found at the Google Play Store at


Posted on Monday, October 17, 2016 at 10:16 AM
Tags: apps (1), IPM (3), IPMinfo (1), October 2016 (15), Surendra Dara (5)

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