UPDATE: PEIA task force holds first meeting

Published: Feb. 28, 2018 at 5:15 PM EST
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UPDATE 3/13/2018 @ 7:10 p.m.

The PEIA Task Force met for the first time Tuesday afternoon at the West Virginia Capitol.

The group, appointed my Gov. Jim Justice (R), was created during negotiations during the statewide educator strike that closed West Virginia public schools for nine days, starting at the end of February.

The task force will work to improve PEIA, state employees' public insurance plan.

The meeting comes less than a week after students and educators returned to classes. It lasted about an hour, as the 29-member task force got acquainted and organized.

Gov. Jim Justice (R) made an appearance at the beginning of the meeting, giving the task force a pep talk.

The PEIA Task Force voted to form three committees: coverage and plan review, cost and revenue and legislative and public outreach.

The committee will attempt to get feedback from people in all 55 counties before they propose any changes to PEIA.

UPDATE 3/13/18 @ 11:30 a.m.

The newly-formed Public Employee Insurance Agency Task Force meets for the first time Tuesday afternoon.

The 29 appointees will meet at 2 p.m. at the Governor's Cabinet Conference Room at the West Virginia Capitol

The meeting follows a nine day statewide educator strike.

The task force will work on PEIA funding.

UPDATE 3/12/18 @ 4:19 p.m.

Gov. Jim Justice has announced the six additional women that will be added to the Public Employee Insurance Agency Task Force.

Last week, the governor was asked to add more women to the group of 23 chosen to be on the Task Force to work on PEIA funding.

The governor announced Friday that he would expand the Task Force to 29 to include six additional women.

On Monday, Justice announced the six additional appointees:

  • Beth "Buffy" Hammers, CEO, Marshall Health
  • Helen Matheny, Director of Collaborative Relations and Initiatives, WVU Health Sciences Center
  • Lisa M. Simon, Certified Public Accountant, Wheeling
  • Sarita Beckett, Public Schools Teacher, Raleigh County
  • Dr. Sherri Young, Medicare Medical Director, Aetna Insurance
  • Amy Loring, Human Resources Coordinator and Director of Staffing and Employee Relations, Berkeley County Schools

The Task Force will be chaired by Justice Administration Chief of Staff Mike Hall. They will hold the first Task Force meeting at 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 13.

UPDATE 3/9/18 @ 5:21 p.m.

The Task Force created to work on the Public Employee Insurance Agency (PEIA) will be expanding with the addition of six women.

On Friday, Sen. Bob Beach, D-Monongalia, sent a letter to Gov. Jim Justice requesting that he amend his Executive Order that established the 23-member PEIA Task Force. Sen. Beach asked that six women be added to the group and that they consist of three classroom teachers and three minority members.

The original 23 members announced Thursday only included two women: Christine Campbell, President of the West Virginia AFT, and Judy Hale, a retired public educator.

Governor Justice responded to the letter Friday evening saying he will expand the group.

"After hearing additional input today from the Legislature, I will be amending my Executive Order concerning the formation of the PEIA Task Force to increase the number of members from 23 to 29 and I will be adding six additional women to the group. Those appointments will be made on Monday," explained Gov. Justice.

The Task Force is scheduled to meet for the first time at 2 p.m.Tuesday, March 13. It is chaired by Governor Justice's Chief of Staff Mike Hall.

UPDATE 3/8/18 @ 4:55 p.m.

Governor Jim Justice has announced the 23 members of the PEIA Task Force that will work on a permanent solution.

On Thursday, the Governor released the list of members that will research and make recommendations for finding a permanent solution to fix the health care plan for state employees.

Last week the plan was frozen as part of the agreement with striking teachers.

Governor Justice's Chief of Staff Mike Hall will chair the Task Force and has scheduled the first meeting for 2 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13. It will be in the Governor's Cabinet Conference Room at the State Capitol.

Members of the Task Force include:

Marty Becker, Chairman of the Board of Directors, QBE Insurance Group

Greg Burton, CEO Brickstreet Insurance

Andy Paterno, CEO Centurion Insurance Services

Joe Letnaunchyn, President & CEO, West Virginia Hospital Association

Rob Alsop, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, West Virginia University

Nelson Spencer, McDowell County Schools Superintendent

Perry Bryant, Executive Director, West Virginians for Affordable Healthcare

Senator Mitch Carmichael (R-Jackson)

Senator Robert Plymale (D-Cabell)

Senator Craig Blair (R-Berkeley)

Delegate Eric Nelson (R-Kanawha)

Delegate Roger Hanshaw (R-Clay)

Delegate Mick Bates (D-Raleigh)

Geoff Christian, current member PEIA Board

Christine Campbell, President, American Federation of Teachers West Virginia

Dale Lee, President, West Virginia Education Association

James "Joe" White, Executive Director, West Virginia School Service Personnel Association

Dr. Rahul Gupta, Commissioner of Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Public Health and State Health Officer

Douglas Kirk, Division of Highways

Lieutenant Michael LaFauci, West Virginia State Police

The Honorable Jeffrey Reed, Retired Wood County Circuit Court Judge

Judy Hale, Retired Public Educator

UPDATE 3/2/18 @ 7:35 p.m.

The new Public Employees Insurance Agency Task Force officially has a meeting date.

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced Friday evening that he has done his part appointing a PEIA Task Force that will conduct public hearings across the state.

That task force will then bring recommendations and create solutions to find a permanent fix for funding the health insurance plan for state employees and retirees.

In a release, Governor Justice said the remaining members of the task force will be appointed by the unions and the legislature. Those appointments are expected to be submitted by Monday.

The task force will hold their first meeting on Tuesday, March 13.

ORIGINAL STORY 2/28/18 @ 5:15 p.m.

Gov. Jim Justice has issued an executive order creating a special task force to create a permanent fix for PEIA.

On Wednesday afternoon, the governor issued a letter to all state employees saying that the compensation package that he has put forth with union leaders will move the state forward for years to come.

"Dale Lee and David Haney at the WVEA, Christine Campbell and Bob Brown from the AFT and Joe White, from the School Service Personnel, and myself worked diligently to pull off an incredible package for the state workers of West Virginia. This happened as a result of many of the things I heard from the people that came out to the Town Hall meetings on Monday," Governor Justice wrote in the letter.

"I have issued an Executive Order today creating a special Task Force, that will include Educators and nothing but West Virginians. That Task Force is being formed right now and will be appointed by the end of the week to address and explore all avenues that will lead to a permanent fix for PEIA. It is important that everyone understand that identifying all of the issues in our healthcare program and finding a solution takes time. A cure won't come in 30 minutes, but I can promise you this Task Force will begin its work immediately."

In the letter to state employees, Justice said there are several possibilities that will be looked at for the revenue to fix PEIA including additional severance taxes on oil and gas, gaming revenue from sports betting and tax dollars from the roads projects.

Justice said that he has said education should be the centerpiece from day one and he will continue to follow that philosophy.