SULPHUR — The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents wrapped up their three-day retreat on Thursday by addressing changes in employee benefit plan carriers, student health insurance, personnel actions, transferring the public transit system to the City of Norman and improvements to Max Westheimer Airport.
Research expenditures and new awards continue to climb. Total expenditures from July 2018 to April 2019 have increased $17.8 million from the previous year, and new awards are up $27.2 million, with research up $31.8 million year-to-year, primarily due to previously reported awards as well as clinical trials commitments.
Following approval by the OU Board of Regents, the university will enter into negotiations with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma to serve as the healthcare payor beginning in January 2020. Representatives from the faculty and staff senates, Norman Human Resources, OU-Tulsa, Rogers State University and Cameron University reviewed proposals before making their recommendation to Interim President Joseph Harroz Jr.
“One healthcare payor provides the university improved services and discounts on medical and pharmacy claims and broader networks to our employees across all three campuses,” said Harroz.
OU Human Resources will review trends and benefit experiences under the various plans during the fall semester to determine employee rates. OU is self-insured.
With the Board’s vote, the City of Norman becomes the grantee for federal funds for transportation. OU will assist with the transition of fleet and facilities for Norman’s operation. Campus-area shuttle transportation will continue for the benefit of students and employees.
The Board authorized the construction of a taxiway system at Max Westheimer Airport along with an easement along the airport for a multimodal pathway.
The next meeting for the OU Board of Regents currently is scheduled for Sept. 10 – 11.