2014 benefit election reminders: medical, dental cards arriving in December


Now that you have successfully completed your health and welfare benefit elections for 2014, here are a few important reminders regarding benefit services and election requirements:

  • New medical and dental ID cards — All enrollees in the medical and dental options will have new ID cards mailed to their homes in mid-December.
  • PayFlex card for health care flexible spending account (FSA) — If you are a new participant or if your PayFlex Card has expired, a new card will be mailed to your home in a plain, white envelope before your coverage-effective date. If you currently have a PayFlex Card and enrolled in an FSA for 2014, don’t dispose of your card. It will be “loaded” with your FSA election amount for 2014, starting on Jan. 1, 2014. See page 18 in the 2014 Benefits Information Guide for details on card expiration and how to order a new card, if needed.
  • Evidence of insurability (EOI) — EOI is required if you increased Supplemental and/or Dependent Spouse Life insurance during annual enrollment, or if you did not enroll when first eligible. In addition, you must provide EOI if you elected Supplemental Life insurance greater than $500,000. ING, the administrator, will mail to your home an EOI form in early December. The completed EOI must be postmarked to ING by Jan. 31, 2014.
  • Health Risk Assessment (HRA) — If you elected the Choice or Choice Plus medical option during annual enrollment, you agreed to complete an HRA by March 31, 2014. Employees and covered spouses/same-gender domestic partners (SGDPs) who do not complete the HRA by the March 31, 2014, deadline will pay, beginning May 1, 2014, an additional $50 per person per pay period to their medical contribution for the remainder of 2014.
  • Annual wellness physical — If you and your covered spouse/SGDP have an annual wellness physical and blood draw between now and Sept. 30, 2014, you will receive a credit on your medical contribution in 2015. The amount of the credit is under review and will be announced once it has been determined.
  • Dependent eligibility verification — If you enrolled new dependents in your medical or dental options, you will be contacted by Secova, BJC’s dependent eligibility administrator. As part of the dependent eligibility verification process, Secova will mail you a packet in early December containing instructions about required documentation.
  • View your benefit elections anytime — You can view your benefit elections at any time on myBJCnet in the myBenefits folder. Choose the link entitled View Benefits Summary. To view your 2014 benefits, enter 01/01/2014 and select Go.

Questions? Contact BJC’s Employee Service Center, 314-362-2184, 855-362-2184 (toll-free) or Employee_Service_Center@bjc.org.

What you can do to impact the cost of BJC’s self-funded medical benefits


One of the primary rewards of working at BJC is the opportunity to enroll in health and welfare benefits. BJC provides a self-funded medical plan, meaning that employees and BJC are responsible for all medical, prescription drug and dental claim costs.

Employees help fund the plan through contributions — that is, premiums — and other out-of-pocket expenses associated with medical costs. On your pay stub you can see the breakdown of what employees pay and what BJC pays. BJC takes responsibility for about 75 percent of medical claim costs; employees pay about 25 percent.

The flexibility of a self-funded plan allows BJC to customize the plan to address specific employee needs, as well as organizational objectives, such as finding ways to keep the costs of the plan down while improving the quality of medical benefits.

BJC sets employee contributions based on the organization’s medical claims history. The amount BJC employees and their covered dependents spend on medical, prescription drugs and dental care services in the previous year impacts employee contributions the following year. Every employee has an opportunity to use the plan wisely and help keep medical claim costs to a minimum.

Here are several ways that you can impact the plan’s costs — and achieve savings for yourself as well:

  • Improve your health through diet and exercise. Check out BJC Help for Your Health for information and programs on fitness, nutrition, weight management and other health topics.
  • Eliminate the use of tobacco products. Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of many chronic conditions, from cancer and heart disease to bronchitis and emphysema. According to the American Lung Association, employees who smoke cost their companies an average of $1,429 more in health care costs than non-smokers.
  • Take advantage of preventive health care benefits. Many preventive services, such as vaccinations and disease screenings, are covered 100 percent, with no cost to you. And, by detecting problems early, the frequency, size and severity of claims can be reduced.
  • Complete the Cigna Health Risk Assessment (HRA). It’s a quick and easy way to determine the current state of your health and what steps you can take now to improve your health in the future — and it’s free.
  • Select a primary care physician to help you manage your health. You’re more likely to live a longer and healthier life.
  • Schedule a routine annual physical or wellness exam with your primary care physician, and share the results of your HRA. The physical and the blood work that accompanies the appointment are preventive care services covered at 100 percent by BJC health and welfare benefits.
  • Take advantage of nutritional counseling from a registered dietician at any BJC hospital that has outpatient services. The BJC medical plan covers up to $1,000 per year, and plan members don’t need a physician referral or specified health condition to use this benefit.
  • Use BJC facilities. Your deductible and coinsurance will be lower at BJC facilities than at network or non-network facilities.
  • Purchase 90-day supplies of eligible maintenance medications at BJC or Select Out-of-Area pharmacies.
  • Ask if generic drugs are available. You will incur the lowest out-of-pocket costs when you purchase generic drugs.

In conclusion, the more you know about BJC’s health and welfare benefits and how they work, the smarter the choices you will make when it comes to the costs of health care services. Coupled with making healthier lifestyle choices, you will help reduce BJC’s overall medical claim costs, while spending less yourself.

One way you can find out more about your benefits is to read the 2014 Benefits Enrollment Guide and Benefits Information Guide. Both will be included in the annual enrollment packet mailed to the home of eligible employees by mid-October. Both guides will also be posted to myBJCnet.

Attending a benefits fair can also better your understanding of BJC health and welfare benefits. On hand to answer questions you might have about benefits will be representatives from BJC’s medical, prescription drug, dental and vision care providers, along with representatives from your local human resources department. Barnes-Jewish’s benefits fair will be held 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Oct. 23,  in the link near the Sprint store.



Royal treatment to babies born at BJH


Barnes-Jewish prepared a special treat for new “mums” in celebration of the arrival of the new Prince of Cambridge. Shortly after the birth of the new heir, Michaela Black was born at BJH. Nurses dressed her and other new arrivals in a commemorative onesie, and the London Tea Room added to the royal treatment by delivering tea and sweets to all the proud new parents.   
Other outlets: KPLR-TV and 15 other outlets 

Healthcare Design

Infection prevention to protect vulnerable patient populations


Loie Ruhl, infection prevention specialist at Barnes-Jewish, talks about keeping patients safe from infection during facility construction and maintenance projects. Recent renovations to the bone marrow transplant unit at BJH meant that Ruhl’s team had to be extra vigilant in protecting immunocompromised patients from environmental hazards and infections.


St. Louis Magazine
10 Influential St. Louis Doctors

Dr. Yvette Sheline discusses how the economic recessions and depressions can affect the caseload of a psychiatrist.


St. Louis Magazine
The Razor’s Edge
Dr. Sanjay Maniar’s barbershop health clinics are helping low-income St. Louisans take charge of their health. The clinics, originally started as part of the nonprofit Better Family Life, carry out their mission without funding thanks to Dr. Maniar and other volunteers.


St. Louis American

Farmer means business with diversity


Barnes-Jewish recently welcomed Katrina Farmer as the new vice president of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity for Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s Hospitals. “What impressed me about Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital is what’s already in place as far as the groundwork and the commitment that I could see upon having conversations with leaders,” said Farmer.



Study seeks to redefine cancer; local expert weary


As researchers discuss the way cancer is labeled and treated, Dr. Graham Colditz, cancer prevention specialist at Siteman Cancer Center, says that changing the definition of cancer may not make a big impact. Dr. Colditz says the focus should be on prevention by making healthy choices.


St. Louis American

Health Profile: Joel D. Jackson


Joel Jackson, program manager of the Center for Diversity & Cultural Competence, shares his journey to success.



Barnes-Jewish Cardiologist Competes in Chess Olympiad


Jaz Singh, MD, is about to leave on one of the more unique vacation requests in medical history.

Singh, an interventional cardiologist at the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Heart & Vascular Center, will be taking a couple of weeks away from work to represent his native country of Fiji in the biennial Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey.

A trip with the family to Florida, this is not.

“It’s exciting  because I never thought I would play again,” he says. “It’ll be good to hang out with the team and see people I haven’t seen in ages.”

Singh mentions playing again and seeing old friends because this Olympic trip will not be his first. Growing up in Fiji, he became such an accomplished chess player, he earned international ratings representing his country in three Olympiads in 1986, 1988 and 1990. It was a game at which he was naturally adept. (Read about his accomplishments on the Fiji Chess Federation Wikipedia page here.)

“In elementary school I would beat my teachers and they would encourage me to play more,” says Singh. “I liked it so much I started beating my brother and cousins. When I went to my first tournament and won $300 I thought, ‘Man, this is good stuff’ so I studied it more and more in high school.”

His success soon had him competing at higher levels through The Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE). “I initially competed as a student and won 7 out of 12 games, which was good for the first international ranking for the whole South Pacific,” says Singh.

While studying science at Sangam College in Fiji, he was crowned the country’s national champion for seven consecutive years. He was so accomplished after graduating from medical school at the University of the South Pacific, he was presented with two very different opportunities:  a career in medicine or a career in chess?

“People can make a career out of chess but I was from a small country and if you wanted to play in different tournaments there was a lot of travel,” says Singh. “That would have been difficult for my parents and medicine was just something that came easy to me.”

So he left his chess career for residency and fellowship at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, staying in the city and becoming a Washington University School of Medicine faculty member in 2000.

His chess participation has been recreational since then. Singh plays online and teaches his children the game, but when the fifth spot was open for the Fiji team, officials invited him to compete based on his history.

Being a busy cardiologist, he was unable to make the Olympiads’ opening rounds, but is leaving tomorrow to compete in eight to ten games averaging four hours in length.

Singh is a fixture in the Barnes-Jewish Hospital cardiac catheterization lab, known for his sense of humor among the clinical staff.

“They’re like my family,” says Singh. “Medicine can be a very stressful environment, but it’s important to have  fun. It makes you appreciate life.”

Follow Singh’s progress at http://www.chessolympiadistanbul.com/.

Rosie O’Donnell heart attack raises women and heart disease awareness


Talk show host and actress Rosie O’Donnell helped raise awareness of women’s heart disease risk yesterday by posting on her blog news of her recent heart attack:

“maybe this is a heart attack … i googled womens heart attack symptoms … i had many of them … but really? – i thought – naaaa”

It turned out she had a blockage that could have been fatal. Her story is a cautionary tale, as O’Donnell admits she did not follow a couple of suggestions she found on an internet search. If you suspect you are having a heart attack, you should:


1. Call 911

2. Chew an aspirin

3. Elevate your feet

4. Wait for help to arrive. Do not drive.

According to O’Donnell, while she did take an aspirin, she did not call 911 and instead went to her doctor the next day. She posted:

“i did not call 911 … 50% of women having heart attacks never call 911 … 200,000 women die of heart attacks … every year in the US”

It’s true. Heart disease is the leading killer of women in the United States and it is estimated that almost 1 in 2 women will eventually die of heart disease or stroke. Heart disease is mostly preventable, so understanding these serious health threats can make a life-saving difference.

According to Jennifer Lawton, MD, cardiac surgeon at the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Heart & Vascular Center, “Women are more likely to have atypical symptoms of a heart attack than men. Those could include something like heartburn or burning in the upper abdomen, fatigue, difficulty breathing, even nausea. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who don’t have any symptoms before their first heart attack.”

Typical heart attack symptoms in men may include crushing chest pain, tightness, or discomfort; pain may radiate to the arms, back, jaw, and neck. But women often experience only shortness of breath, lightheadedness or dizziness, or vague pain somewhere in the upper abdomen, arm, or neck. It is believed that women may have different heart attack symptoms because different coronary arteries (the arteries in the heart which when blocked, cause a heart attack) are blocked. In women, blockage may occur in smaller coronary arteries as opposed to the main arteries, where blockage often begins in men.

She also says women need to know the risk factors they can control:

  • Smoking
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity, overweight
  • Stress
  • High blood pressure
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes

Overall, O’Donnell summed it up best by posting:

“know the symptoms ladies … listen to the voice inside … the one we all so easily ignore … CALL 911.”

For more about women and heart disease, visit our website here or watch this video:


Barnes-Jewish among many to face Medicare penalties



An article in today’s Post-Dispatch highlights Medicare penalties at hospitals throughout the region.

An article in today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch highlights new Medicare penalties many hospitals across the nation will face starting this October. 

The story is an important one. As you may know, the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program under the Affordable Care Act will penalize hospitals with excessive readmissions for acute myocardial infarction, heart failure and pneumonia. Barnes-Jewish is one of 278 hospitals nationwide that will be penalized with a full one percent reduction in Medicare payments in 2013 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). It is estimated Barnes-Jewish’s penalty will be close to $2.2 million.

A very detailed story from a national perspective was published this week by Kaiser Health News and we encourage you to give it a read. In the article, our chief medical officer John Lynch, MD, spoke to the reporter about the penalties and what we are doing to address our readmission rates.

From providing much needed medications through our new mobile pharmacy program to expansion of the Stay Healthy Clinic (profiled here by the Post-Dispatch’s Blythe Bernhard) into the recently implemented Stay Healthy Outpatient Program, we are investing time and effort to ensure we do what is best for the patient and do everything in our control to reduce a patient’s chance of being readmitted.

The good news is, such efforts have begun to pay off. According to the most recent information from the CMS’ Hospital Compare website, readmission rates for heart attack patients have improved to meet national averages.

Many team members and physician colleagues are working hard together to create change in this area. We will continue to update you on things Barnes-Jewish is doing to reduce patient readmissions on the blog.

Project ChildSafe providing free gun locks and safety education


Gun locks like these will be distributed at no charge at dozens of locations today in the St. Louis area.

On August 15th, representatives from 14 different regional law enforcement agencies and trauma centers, including Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, came together for a press conference to talk about a shared goal – reducing the number of gun-related accidents in the area.

Through Project ChildSafe, 5200 free gun locks and firearm safety education materials are being distributed throughout the St. Louis area today from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Developed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Project ChildSafe is the largest and most comprehensive firearm safety program in the country. And keeping kids, and adults, safe is something that’s a top priority for everyone involved in the project.

The Barnes-Jewish and Washington University Trauma Center is a big proponent of this program. In a news conference yesterday, Douglas Schuerer, MD, trauma surgeon at Barnes-Jewish said, “It’s a really simple thing. Putting a lock on a gun can prevent a five-year-old from killing themselves or someone else, or a 16-year-old from committing suicide in that moment of despair.”

Just to make clear, Barnes-Jewish is not giving out gun locks, rather we helped pay for them with five other hospitals in the St. Louis area. Instead they can be picked up today until 6 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Saint Louis Metropolitan Police Department
  • Grand Ave. and Park Ave. (Cardinal Glennon and SLU), Saint Louis 63104
  • Forest Park Way and Euclid (Children’s) Saint Louis 63110
  • Natural Bridge and Kingshighway, Saint Louis 63115
  • Jefferson County Sheriff Department
    • Jefferson County Sheriff’s Offices:
    •     400 First Street, Hillsboro, MO. 63050
    •     34 Dillon Plaza Shopping Center, High Ridge, MO. 63049
    •     Windsor High School Campus Hwy 61/67 and Windsor Harbor Rd., Imperial, MO. 63052
    •     Jefferson College Campus, Hillsboro, MO. 63050
  • Saint Charles County Sheriff’s Department
    •     Bass Pro Shop, Bass Pro Drive, St Charles, MO 63301
  •  O’Fallon, Missouri Police Department
    •     Renaud Spirit Center, 2650 Tri Sports Drive, O’Fallon Missouri, 63368
    •     Extreme Gun Care, 975 West Terra, O’Fallon Missouri, 63366
  • Saint Louis County Police Department/Clayton Police Department
    •     Shop ‘N Save – 196 Mayfair Plaza, 63033
    •     City of Jennings Headquarters, 5445 Jennings Station Road, 63136
  • Alton Police Department
    •     Washington Ave. and Brown St.
    •     Statehouse Circle (College Ave., Central Ave. and 20th St.)
  • Collinsville, Illinois Police Department
  •     Police Headquarters, 200 west Clay Street, Collinsville Illinois, 62234

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