Health Services Director Catherine Dodd Gives Insider Info at Multi-Union Meeting Hosted by Local 21

Local 21 had the privilege of having Catherine Dodd, Director of the San Francisco Health Service System (HSS), provide us with a preview of “What’s New for 2017” at the August Public Employees Committee (PEC) meeting. The PEC is a coalition of public employee unions across the Bay Area, chaired by Local 21’s Executive Director Bob Muscat.

Local 21 Executive Director Bob Muscat introduced Catherine Dodd, “You can’t find anyone as skilled, knowledgeable, or dedicated to the complex workings of the health system.” In addition to being the Director of HSS, Dodd is also a Registered Nurse and the Chair of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.

Dodd announced medical and dental plan increases of approximately 4%, depending on the insurance, a new voluntary benefits program, and an expert second-opinion benefit for all employees and their dependents.

“I’m a Registered Nurse,” said Dodd. I wouldn’t support something for our members that I don’t believe is good for them—or good for me. I get the same benefits!”

Highlights from Dodd’s talk included the new ability to enroll in voluntary benefits like life insurance, accident insurance, pet insurance, and identity theft protection. “Companies like Colonial and AFLAC are predators,” explained Dodd. “They’re in the lobbies, hawking their products, but they’re not supposed to be on city property. They’re not affiliated with us, and their products are not vetted by us.” The voluntary benefits offered through the HHS are reviewed and approved by the HSS. HSS ensures the rates are competitive, leveraging our collective power as a purchasing group to get discounted group premium rates for City and County employees.

Another “What’s New for 2017” highlight was an expert second opinion benefit through Best Doctors. “According to the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the misdiagnosis rate for some cancers is as high as 44%,” explained Dodd.This is where Best Doctors comes in. The service gathers all your medical records, inputs your symptoms into their system which scours medical literature, and then has a doctor from their worldwide network who is an expert in your condition review everything and provide a detailed second opinion for you and your doctor.  Best Doctors also provides critical care – they will dispatch a Best Doctor nurse within two hours of an acute or catastrophic medical event to monitor how the hospital staff is diagnosing you and provide early intervention to reduce unnecessary medical expenses.  This new benefit is built-in to the 2017 insurance rates for all plans.

Dodd wrapped up by thanking the unions present for our work on the No to Sutter campaign. In March, Local 21 along with other San Francisco city employee unions launched a campaign to stop Sutter Health Plus (HMO) from becoming a new health insurance option for SF City employees due to Sutter’s lack of transparency, price-gouging, and anti-competitive behavior.

The HSS will have more information on “What’s New in 2017” on their website by September 6. Stay tuned to Cityline for more important information on your health benefits as we move towards Open Enrollment in October!