Kaiser To Remain Open During Nurses' Strike
November 10, 2014
The California Nurses Association has called a two-day strike affecting over 65 Kaiser facilities in northern California. The strike is scheduled to run from 7 a.m. Tuesday through 6:59 a.m.
Kaiser has informed its members that “emergency departments, urgent care departments, primary and specialty care departments, pharmacies and laboratories,” will be operating as normal during the strike, which is scheduled to run from 7 a.m. Tuesday through 6:59 a.m. Thursday. Some elective procedures and appointments would be canceled, however.
The nurses are striking over equipment and training standards related to caring for ebola patients.
DEA Opioid Painkiller Reclassification
November 5, 2014
The federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has reclassified Hydrocodone combination medications as Schedule II controlled substances, prohibiting refills and establishing other restrictions. This includes Vicodin and other commonly prescribed opioid painkillers.
Although effective against pain, opioids are highly addictive. In 2011, this class of drugs was responsible for three quarters of the pharmaceutial-related deaths in the US and nearly 450,000 emergency room visits.
To help reduce the public health hazards related to hydrocodone combination products, the following restrictions take effect October 6, 2014:
1. No refills.
2. Prescriptions issued before October 6, 2014 can be refilled until April 8, 2015, if the prescription authorized refills.
3. Prescriptions cannot be called in or faxed by the doctor's office to the pharmacy.
4. Non-physician clinicians such as nurse practitioners may not be able to write presriptions.
If you have questions about this change may affect you, please consult with your doctor.
$500 Healthcare FSA Carryover
October 31, 2014
Are you a City employee enrolled in a Healthcare FSA? Good news! The U.S. Department of the Treasury changed the “Use It or Lose It” rule, which required any leftover balance in a Healthcare FSA to be forfeited at the end of the plan year.
Up to $500 of any remaining balance in your 2014 Healthcare FSA account will be automatically carried over to 2015–even if you did not actively enroll in a 2014 Healthcare FSA.
If you elected a $2,500 maximum contribution for your 2014 Healthcare FSA, up to $500 in unused funds from 2014 will carry over to 2015, for a total maximum balance of up to $3,000.
Even with the $500 carry forward into 2015, HSS recommends that you review your qualifying expenses for 2014 and submit them to WageWorks at the beginning of the new year for timely reimbursement. The deadline for submitting FSA expenses incurred in 2014 is the same: March 31, 2015.
This rule change applies only to the Healthcare FSA. It does not apply to a Dependent Care FSA. For more information, visit wageworks.com
2015 Health Premiums Expected to Drop 3%
July 9, 2014
In aggregate, health care premiums paid by the City and its workers will drop in 2015 by nearly 3 percent. This helps ensure the sustainability of health benefits over the long term for workers and retirees. Read the story in the SF Chronicle: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/San-Francisco-health-care-premiums-expected-to-5610459.php