CalPERS Appoints New Health Benefits Program Head
CalPERS announced Wednesday that Jarvio Grevious, currently the chief deputy director of the Department of Social Services, has been appointed to run the $3.4 billion health benefits program, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/30). As assistant executive officer of health benefits, Grevious will oversee health care purchasing for 1.2 million California public employees, retirees and their families (CalPERS release, 10/28). The Chronicle reports that Grevious will face a "tough job," as CalPERS -- the third largest U.S. buyer of health benefits -- just approved a premium increase of 16.7% to 18.4% for 2004, following a 25% increase in 2003. CalPERS also has ended contracts with many of its HMOs, leaving its members with three options, and in August, 27 public agencies said that they plan to leave CalPERS' health insurance program at the end of 2003 to "take their chances on their own," the Chronicle reports.
Glenn Smith, a Crawford Benefit Consultants' senior consultant in San Rafael, said that he does not expect Grevious to "have a smoother road" when he takes his new post Nov. 12. Smith added that while Grevious appears to have the background and management experience necessary to administer the program, "[h]e's going to be the lightening rod for the problems." Grevious, who was chosen from a field of 27 candidates, will manage the implementation of a long-term plan to improve the health benefits program that his predecessor, Allen Feezor, developed, and he also will direct CalPERS' long-term care program. CalPERS CEO Fred Buenrostro said, "Our program faces formidable challenges in the national health care crisis. ... What's needed now is someone with broad program management and fiscal experience. ... Mr. Grevious is the best person for that critical task" (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.