Questions and Answers

  • 1) Will administrative employees at ECU who are classified as CSS but who are not in "actual" clinical positions be guaranteed comparable positions within the new entity?

    • According to the Integration Agreement, as of the closing date (sometime between January 1, 2018, and December 31, 2018), the new corporation will offer all eligible ECU Physicians and Vidant Medical Group clinical employees positions with the new corporation that are equivalent to their existing clinical roles and responsibilities.

      “Clinical employees” are not simply physicians. Clinical employees include physicians and other clinicians who deliver clinical services within ECU Physicians, as well as Clinical Support Services (CSS) staff. BSOM employees who are State Human Resources Act (SHRA) staff who directly support the clinical operations exist in several academic clinical departments. The work of these SHRA employees is being studied to understand how they relate to the clinical work of ECU Physicians. 

      If an ECU Physicians employee chooses not to transition on the closing date, but instead to remain an ECU employee with a goal of reaching a retirement benefit milestone, upon reaching that milestone, he/she may be offered employment by the new corporation subject to its employment needs. For more information about the retirement benefit milestones, see http://www.projectunify.org/Questions.
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  • 2) Why is there an almost blank page in the Integration Agreement under the title Exhibit G, which refers to ECU Staff and Clinical Employee transition? It says under "professional services agreement" that "...the form attached hereto as Exhibit G" would explain compensation.

    • The execution of the Integration Agreement is the beginning of the integration planning process. A great deal of detailed work must be done to complete the due diligence process and get to the point when Closing and the launch of the integrated clinical enterprise can occur. There are references in the Integration Agreement to attachments and schedules that can and will be developed only after more of the due diligence process is complete. Collapse
  • 3) Will administrative employees at ECU who are classified as CSS but who are not in "actual" clinical positions be guaranteed comparable positions within the new entity?

    • According to the Integration Agreement, as of the closing date (sometime between January 1, 2018, and December 31, 2018), the new corporation will offer all eligible ECU Physicians and Vidant Medical Group clinical employees positions with the new corporation that are equivalent to their existing clinical roles and responsibilities.

      “Clinical employees” are not simply physicians. Clinical employees include physicians and other clinicians who deliver clinical services within ECU Physicians, as well as Clinical Support Services (CSS) staff. BSOM employees who are State Human Resources Act (SHRA) staff who directly support the clinical operations exist in several academic clinical departments. The work of these SHRA employees is being studied to understand how they relate to the clinical work of ECU Physicians. 

      If an ECU Physicians employee chooses not to transition on the closing date, but instead to remain an ECU employee with a goal of reaching a retirement benefit milestone, upon reaching that milestone, he/she may be offered employment by the new corporation subject to its employment needs. For more information about the retirement benefit milestones, see http://www.projectunify.org/Questions. Collapse
  • 4) I am classified as an ECU EHRA Non-Faculty employee. Under what rules will my benefits and my employment be determined with the integration?

    • If you are a clinical service provider, you will be expected to transition to the new corporation on the Closing date – either as an employee of the new corporation, or under a professional services agreement if you are eligible to reach a retirement benefit milestone within five years of the Closing date and you choose to remain an ECU employee with the goal of reaching that milestone.

      Note that “clinical employees” referred to in the Integration Agreement are not simply physicians. Clinical employees include physicians and other clinicians who deliver clinical services within ECU Physicians, as well as other employees who support the clinical operations. 

      The board of the new corporation will review and decide on all significant human resources-related matters, including but not limited to: titles, responsibilities, reporting structures and market rates for compensation. 

      Human resources leadership from both organizations will be part of this process. Collapse
  • 5) I am 60 years old with 17 years of service in the Teachers and State Employees Retirement System. If I can reach two milestones in the next five years – 20 years of service and 65 years of age – will I be allowed to choose my preferred milestone? Is age considered a milestone?

    • The Teachers and State Employees Retirement System (TSERS) establishes the rules and requirements for vesting and benefits eligibility, including formulas that consider age, years of service, and the initial date of employment. The Integration Agreement does not change those rules and requirements. For more information on the State of North Carolina retirement benefits, visit https://www.nctreasurer.com/ret/benefits%20handbooks/tsershandbook.pdf.

      The Integration Agreement calls for the transition of ECU clinical employees to the new corporation based on the following assumptions. An employee who is vested (5 years of service) in the Teachers and State Employees Retirement System (TSERS) can retire with full unreduced retirement benefits and full health insurance coverage calculated on their years of service when he/she reaches 65 years of age. Once you reach 60 years of age with 25 years of service, you are also eligible for full unreduced retirement benefits upon retirement. 

      In accordance with state law, employees hired after October 1, 2006, are required to reach 20 years of state service in order to realize full health insurance benefits upon retirement; however, because you were hired prior to October 1, 2006, you became eligible at 5 years of service for full medical insurance benefits paid by the state upon retirement. 

      Vested employees who reach the 20-year service milestone can retire with reduced benefits as early as age 50 (and up to age 64). 

       The Integration Agreement does not recognize age as a milestone. It only recognizes years of service. As of the Closing date (between January 1, 2018, and December 30, 2018), you could choose to remain an ECU employee in order to reach the 20-year service milestone, at which time you would be entitled to reduced benefits upon retirement, in addition to the full health insurance coverage you are already entitled to upon retirement. You would be expected to transition to the new corporation, subject to its employment needs, once you reached the 20-year milestone regardless of whether your 65th birthday falls within the five-year window.  

      For more information on the State of North Carolina retirement benefits, visit https://www.nctreasurer.com/ret/benefits%20handbooks/tsershandbook.pdfCollapse
  • 6) If I were to retire from Vidant Medical Center in 2017 and accept employment with ECU, what would happen to my ECU benefits once the merger is in effect?

    • If you accept employment with ECU and are beyond your ECU probationary period on the Closing Date, you would have the option to remain an ECU employee for up to five years with the goal of reaching your 5-year (vesting) milestone. During the time period that you remain an ECU employee, you would be entitled to all the rights and benefits of state employment. Unless you are faculty, when you separate from ECU, you would be paid out all of your accrued vacation leave – up to 240 hours – plus eligible bonus vacation leave you have been awarded.

      Your accrued sick leave would remain in the state system for a period of up to five years for you to reclaim if you became a state employee again within that time. If you are an employee in the Teachers and State Employees Retirement System (TSERS) and you retire from the state immediately or within five years of leaving ECU, your accrued sick leave would be credited towards your total state service and calculated in your retirement pay. If you are enrolled in an Optional Retirement Plan, accrued sick leave has no effect on your retirement. Collapse
  • 7) I was previously employed by Vidant for 4 years prior to working with ECU Physicians. Would I transition to the new corporation with the 4 years of time I worked at Vidant or with the 1-2 years that I will have worked with ECU Physicians?

    • Under the Integration Agreement, ECU transitioning employees will be given credit under Vidant Health benefit plans for the period of time they have been employed by the state, as recognized by ECU.  Beyond this general rule, the Board of the new corporation will review and determine exactly how prior years of service within the Vidant and ECU organizations will impact an individual employee’s benefits. Under current Vidant Health plans and policies, an employee’s years of service will primarily impact his or her rate of PTO accrual and the level of the employer match under the 401k plan.  No ECU employee will become retroactively eligible for any Vidant pension plans as a result of this transaction. Collapse
  • 8) Will grant-funded positions within ECU Physicians remain after the integration?

    • Following the integration, we expect grant-funded positions to continue as long as the corresponding funding organizations continue to fund those positions. 

      With regard to the service between Vidant Health and ECU, Human Resources and legal will be reviewing in order to determine how this will be addressed.
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  • 9) I worked with Brody School of Medicine several years ago. Will those years of service be added to my years of service with Vidant?

    • Under the Integration Agreement, ECU transitioning employees will be given credit under Vidant Health benefit plans for the period of time they have been employed by the state, as recognized by ECU. 
      With regard to the service between Vidant Health and ECU, Human Resources and legal will be reviewing in order to determine how this will be addressed.

      The Board of the new corporation will review and determine exactly how prior years of service within the Vidant and ECU organizations will impact an individual employee’s benefits.

      Under current Vidant Health plans and policies, an employee’s years of service will primarily impact his or her rate of PTO accrual and the level of the employer match under the 401k plan. No ECU employee will become retroactively eligible for any Vidant pension plans as a result of this transaction. Collapse
  • 10) Many ECU employees are (1) not eligible for retirement and (2) plan on joining the new corporation, which means they will lose their sick time unless they rejoin state employment within 5 years. Would it be possible to allow their sick leave balances to transfer over to PTO with the new corporation?

    • There is presently no option for an ECU employee to transfer unused sick leave, to be paid out for it, or to have it credited toward years of state service with the new corporation at the time of transition to the new corporation – except that, employees in the defined benefit plan known as the Teachers and State Employees Retirement Plan (TSERS) who retire from ECU at the time of transition will have any accrued sick leave credited toward their total state service and calculated in their retirement pay. 

      For more information about TSERS benefits visit https://www.nctreasurer.com/ret/benefits%20handbooks/tsershandbook.pdf

      In the meantime, please know your proposal to credit accrued sick leave toward years of state service has been passed along to leadership for consideration.

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  • 11) If it’s determined that my position is 50 percent clinical and 50 percent academic/research, will I get ECU benefits or Vidant benefits?

    • A decision for this type of scenario has not been defined at this time.  The board of the new corporation will review and decide on all significant human resources-related matters, including but not limited to: titles, responsibilities, reporting structures and market rates for compensation. Human resources leadership from both organizations will be part of this process. Collapse
  • 12) Why do East Carolina University (ECU) and Vidant Health need to integrate their clinical practices?

    • ECU and Vidant believe that integrating clinical practices will provide eastern North Carolina with an even better academic physician education program, which will address the current and future health care needs of the region and beyond. It will enhance ECU’s ability to attract and retain faculty, obtain research funding and conduct translational research to improve overall health for eastern North Carolinians, particularly the underserved, at lower cost. The agreement will bring patients access to an integrated network of doctors, newest therapies, clinical trials and medical research, while working to ensure the highest level of care at the most affordable price.  Collapse
  • 13) What is the Clinical Integration Agreement?

    • It is a legal agreement between East Carolina University and Vidant Health that meets parameters set forth by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors, and outlines, in some detail, how and when the physician practice of The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, ECU Physicians and the physician practice of Vidant Health, Vidant Medical Group will join into one clinical practice within a newly formed corporation, VECU.

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  • 14) What is VECU?

    • VECU is a new non-profit corporation that is an “Associated Entity” to East Carolina University. It will operate the newly combined medical practices of ECU Physicians and Vidant Medical Group. By law, VECU as an Associated Entity must conduct its business to further the mission of Brody School of Medicine. It is anticipated that the operating name of the corporation will be changed to more clearly reflect the mission and identity of the new, combined enterprise. 

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  • 15) How will VECU operate?

    • VECU is governed by an eleven (11) member board of voting directors.  Six (6) members are either Vidant Health officers or appointed by Vidant Health and five (5) members are either ECU officers or appointed by ECU. The chair of the board of directors is the dean of the Brody School of Medicine. In addition to the eleven (11) voting members of the board, the ECU Chancellor will serve as an ex-officio, non-voting member of the board. Collapse
  • 16) Why does Vidant Health appoint more members than ECU?

    • By law, whomever has the financial responsibility for a company must have a majority of the appointments to the governing board of the organization. For that reason, Vidant Health has one more appointment to the board of directors than does ECU.   Collapse
  • 17) Is VECU the permanent name of the new company?

    • VECU is the legal name under which the company was incorporated.  However, as part of the integration agreement, the parties have stipulated that as branding is developed for the new company, including the name under which it will do business, the term “East Carolina University,” “East Carolina” or “ECU” will be featured in the name and logo of the corporation and in all branding of the Corporation. Collapse
  • 18) How does this integration benefit ECU?

    • The ability of ECU and Brody School of Medicine to carry out the three-part mission of the medical school will be greatly enhanced. The integration will assure that we will be able to continue and improve our ability to train the next generation of physicians and other health professionals by increasing the number of locations available for training medical students and reducing the risk of financial uncertainty from clinical operations in connection with rapid change in the health care industry; we will be able to improve and expand our research and clinical trials; and we will deliver better health care to the people of eastern North Carolina through a more closely coordinated system of care.  The financial arrangements agreed to between ECU and Vidant Health will assure this by establishing consistent and reliable sources of revenue to accomplish these things. Collapse
  • 19) How does this integration benefit Vidant?

    • This integration is a critical step in our vision to be the national model for rural health and wellness. Together, we will be able to coordinate the highest level of care for our patients —who happen to be our family, friends and neighbors. 

      As we integrate, we will begin to recognize improved care delivery and utilization from our shared resources and expertise, allowing us to continuously improve health care for the people of eastern North Carolina.

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  • 20) What are the financial arrangements or “flow of funds” between ECU and Vidant Health?

    • After the closing date, ECU, Vidant Health and the new Corporation will purchase professional services, academic services, and other services from each other to the extent needed. Vidant Health will also pay ECU a mission support payment comprised of three parts: (a) a one-time Upfront Mission Payment of $35 million; (b) a Fixed Mission Payment of $14.25 million annually, to be paid in equal monthly installments; and (c) potentially a Margin Share Payment, which will be determined annually, if Vidant Health meets certain financial targets.  Collapse
  • 21) How and when will this change occur?

    • No change will occur immediately.  The agreement basically outlines the timeline and framework for how the new company will operate and how ECU Physicians and Vidant Medical Group will be integrated.  Effectively, ECU Physicians and VMG will transfer all their existing  assets into the new corporation.   Because the Integration Agreement is a framework, a great deal of work must yet be done to determine the details of exactly how and when each aspect of the assets, human resources and operations of ECU Physicians and VMG begin operations under the auspices of the new company. Some of that work has already begun. 

      The Integration Agreement stipulates that the “closing” of the agreement (the date on which operations of ECU’s and Vidant Health’s clinical practices will be entirely operated by the new company and will cease as independent clinical practices) will occur no sooner than January 1, 2018 and no later than December 31, 2018. There will be very small exceptions to this if prior obligations to a third party exist, for example the tele-psychiatry program for the State of North Carolina will continue to operate separately from the integrated Corporation.   

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  • 22) What is the timeline for completion of the integration?

    • The next phase of work will begin immediately. The new organization is expected to begin operations no later than Dec. 31, 2018. Collapse
  • 23) Who will be affected by this change?

    • Patients: When integration occurs, patients will receive notice explaining the change and how it will affect them. We expect there will be many benefits for patients over time.  Immediately, patients will likely experience no change.

      Employees: All current VMG employees, clinical providers and staff, will be transitioned to the new Corporation on the Closing Date.

      Current ECU employees will be transitioned to the new Corporation with regard to their clinical activities in accordance with the framework in the Integration Agreement. While much work must yet be completed to provide individual employees with the options and timing pertaining to their specific situation, we do know certain things about how transitions will occur.

      No change in employment status will occur (due to the integration agreement) before January 1, 2018. Very likely, given the amount of information and analysis that must be completed for all employees before individual circumstances and options can be determined, any change in employment status will not occur for any individual until quite some time after January 1, 2018. Collapse
  • 24) How does this integration affect Vidant employees?

    • We don’t anticipate any impact on your day-to-day duties as Vidant employees. You should remain focused on providing the best care for our patients.  Collapse
  • 25) What do we know about the transition of ECU employees?

    • As of the Closing Date (between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018) the new Corporation will offer all VMG and ECUP clinical employees positions with the new corporation that are substantially equivalent to their existing clinical roles and responsibilities. 

      Many ECUP employees will have the option to remain employed by East Carolina University for a period until their transition date and have their clinical services provided to the new corporation under a professional services agreement between ECU and the new corporation.  There will not be an option for clinical employees to continue to provide their services through ECUP or VMG.

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  • 26) What employment options will I have?

    • Because individual circumstances vary, your options may be different from your colleagues.  Generally, however, the Integration Agreement outlines the following principles:


      (a)    Employees who are newly hired on or after November 30, 2017 or the date when the Corporation has sufficient infrastructure in place to hire clinical employees, will be employed by the Corporation.

      (b)    ECUP clinical support services (CSS) and State Human Resources Act (SHRA) staff in probationary status (as of the dates above) will be offered employment by the Corporation.

      (c)    ECUP-employed physicians and other ECUP- or BSOM-employed clinicians who hold BSOM faculty titles or appointments (ECUP Faculty) will remain ECU employees for the portion of their time allocated to academic and research activities and will be offered employment by the Corporation for any portion of their time allocated to delivery of clinical services, including GME time. ECUP Faculty will be compensated under a two pay-check model, paid by ECU for their academic and research work and by the Corporation for their clinical work. Any ECUP clinical employees who will not be employed immediately by the Corporation for clinical services may be assigned by ECU, under a professional services agreement, to provide clinical services to the Corporation.

      All ECUP Faculty and ECUP Staff who are beyond their probationary period and who would become eligible for certain retirement milestone benefits within five (5) years of the Closing Date will have the option to remain ECU employees until that milestone is reached.

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  • 27) What are the retirement benefit milestones for which I have an option to remain an ECU employee to reach? 

    • To the extent possible within legal and financial constraints, you will have the option of remaining an ECU employee and have ECU assign you to provide your clinical time through the new Corporation under a professional services agreement, subject to the needs of the Corporation, if at the Closing Date you are within five (5) years of:

      • Achieving five (5) years of membership service (vesting) 
      • Achieving ten (10) years of membership service (amount of creditable service required to obtain 1/2 of health care premium costs paid by the state retirement plan upon retirement before Medicare eligibility)
      • Achieve twenty (20) years of membership service (amount of creditable service required to obtain full payment for health care premium costs by the state retirement plan upon retirement before Medicare eligibility)
      • Achieve twenty-five (25) years of membership service (amount of creditable service required to obtain unreduced retirement benefits at age 60)
      • Achieve thirty (30) years of membership service (amount of creditable service required to obtain unreduced retirement benefits at any age)
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  • 28) If eligible, what happens if I decide to remain an ECU employee until I reach my next retirement benefit milestone?

    • You will remain an ECU employee with all the benefits and responsibilities of any other ECU employee, subject to applicable policies.  Upon reaching your milestone, you may be offered employment by the new Corporation subject to its employment needs.  Collapse
  • 29) If I choose not to accept employment with the new Corporation when the Integration Agreement calls for me to transition, what are my rights?

    • All your rights as a state employee remain fully in force.  Because ECUP will no longer be providing clinical services, the position in which you are employed will be eliminated and all your individual Reduction in Force (RIF) rights and benefits will apply. Collapse
  • 30) If I choose to accept employment with the new Corporation, what will that mean?

    • You will become an employee of the new Corporation. You will no longer be a state employee.  The salary and benefits you will earn will be based on market rates, as determined by the new Corporation’s board of directors.  Benefits offered to employees of the new Corporation will be the same as benefits offered to Vidant Health employees in the same employment status as you, with credit for service on a month-to-month basis for the time you have worked as a state employee.  You may view current Vidant benefits on the website. 

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  • 31) Will I lose all my accrued sick and vacation leave and my creditable retirement service?

    • No.  All your accrued vacation leave, including bonus vacation leave you have been awarded, will be paid out to you at the time of separation from ECU, up to a maximum of 240 hours. 

      For ECU employees, your accrued sick leave will remain in the state system for a period of up to five (5) years, for you to reclaim, should you become employed again as a state employee within that time.  If you retire from the state of North Carolina immediately or within the five (5) year period after leaving ECU, your accrued sick leave will be credited towards your total state service and calculated in your retirement pay. Your accrued actual creditable service towards retirement (not including sick leave) will remain intact until you retire.

       

      As you’ll note, Vidant Health benefits are graduated based on years of service employees have provided to Vidant Health.  As part of the Integration Agreement, Vidant Health will accept the years of service to the state of North Carolina accrued, determining the rate of benefits you will earn at the new Corporation.  

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  • 32) Why are there references in the Integration Agreement to “see attached” where nothing is attached, or references to schedules that have no information?

    • The execution of the Integration Agreement is the beginning of the integration planning process.  A great deal of detailed work must be done to complete the due diligence process and get to the point when Closing and launch of the integrated clinical enterprise can occur. There are references in the Integration Agreement to attachments and schedules that can and will be developed only after more of the due diligence process is complete. Collapse
  • 33) How does the integration of Vidant Medical Group (VMG) and ECU Physicians benefit patients?

    • This milestone agreement is a critical step in bringing more comprehensive medical care that is accessible, innovative, research-driven, industry leading and above all drives improved outcomes and results for our patients. 

      This agreement enhances our ability to attract and retain high-performing physicians and specialists, bringing more expertise, access to clinical trials and the newest therapies, all in order to provide the best care and patient experience in the rural communities we serve. 

      While our two organizations are already integrated in many ways (graduate medical education, trauma care, cancer care, cardiac care, etc.), this agreement will enhance clinical integration and allow us to innovate the future of health care in eastern North Carolina together.

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  • 34) What immediate changes will this have to patients?

    • There are no immediate changes for you as a patient, and you may continue to see your regular doctor. However, you will gain access to a network of 800 physicians and specialists, as well as clinical trials and medical research. To read about the additional services we will provide, view our current integrations listed in the footer. Collapse
  • 35) Who do I contact if I have additional questions?

    • We understand you may have questions and want to hear from you. Throughout the process, you can submit questions via email and to stay abreast subscribe to the latest updates and information. Otherwise, we will share additional information when there are further developments that affect patients like you. Collapse
  • 36) Is it true that ECU employees who transition to the new corporation will be going in with none of their vacation/sick time?

    • CSS employees, EHRA non-faculty employees, and staff will be paid out all of their accrued vacation leave – up to 240 hours – plus eligible bonus vacation leave they have been awarded, at the time of separation from ECU. Twelve-month faculty are ineligible for a payout of vacation and vacation bonus leave (http://www.ecu.edu/prr/06/45/03).

      Whether you are enrolled in the defined benefit plan known as the Teachers and State Employees Retirement Plan (TSERS) or an Optional Retirement Plan (ORP), your accrued sick leave will not be paid out, but will remain in the state system for a period of up to five years for you to reclaim if you become a state employee again within that time.

      If you are an employee in TSERS and you retire from the state immediately or within five years of leaving ECU, your accrued sick leave will be credited towards your total state service and calculated in your retirement pay. If you are enrolled in an ORP, accrued sick leave has no effect on your retirement.

      For more information about benefits associated with TSERS visit https://www.nctreasurer.com/ret/benefits%20handbooks/tsershandbook.pdf.

      For more information about sick leave as it pertains to employees of the State of N.C., refer to the State Personnel Manual: https://files.nc.gov/ncoshr/documents/files/Sick_Leave_Policy.pdf.

      (With few exceptions, all permanent full-time CSS and SHRA employees hired before January 1, 2012, would have been enrolled in the TSERS defined benefit plan. After that date, CSS and SHRA employees have the option to participate in either the TSERS plan or one of the state’s optional retirement plans. Faculty and EHRA non-faculty would have had the choice to enroll in TSERS or in one of the state’s optional retirement plans at the time of initial employment with ECU).

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  • 37) Hospital employees have to work some holidays each year but I'm told that clinics will have to be closed. Can there be some discussion about either giving us an opportunity to work or giving the clinic employees the holiday time?

    • Vidant does not distinguish between various types of leave, but instead incorporates all types of paid leave – including holidays – into a single category referred to as PTO (Paid Time Off). This suggestion has been referred to leadership for their consideration.

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  • 38) Was any thought given to paying out leave to the new corporation instead to allow ECU staff to start with at least 40 hours of PTO?

    • Unless you are a faculty member, all of your accrued vacation leave – up to 240 hours – plus eligible bonus vacation leave you have been awarded, will be paid out to you at the time of separation from ECU.

      Accrued sick leave will not be paid out, but will remain in the state system for a period of up to five years for you to reclaim if you become a state employee again within that time. If you are in the defined benefit plan known as the Teachers and State Employees Retirement Plan (TSERS) and you retire from the state immediately or within five years of leaving ECU, your accrued sick leave will be credited towards your total state service and calculated in your retirement pay.

      For more information about the benefits associated with TSERS, visit:  https://www.nctreasurer.com/ret/benefits%20handbooks/tsershandbook.pdf. Collapse
  • 39) Will ECU employees transition as new employees or will we go in with the years of service we have accrued?

    • As part of the Integration Agreement, Vidant Health will accept the years of service to the state of North Carolina accrued, determining the rate of certain benefits you will earn at the new Corporation. Collapse
  • 40) Will ECU employees have an option to transfer some of our sick leave?

    • You will receive credit for your years of service for the purpose of determining the rate at which you will accumulate PTO. 

      Presently there is no option for an ECU employee transitioning to the new corporation to transfer sick leave or be paid out for it. Accrued sick leave will remain in the state system for a period of up to five years for you to reclaim if you become a state employee again within that time. If you are in the defined benefit plan known as the Teachers and State Employees Retirement Plan (TSERS) and you retire from the state immediately or within five years of leaving ECU, your accrued sick leave will be credited towards your total state service and calculated in your retirement pay.

      For more information about the benefits associated with TSERS, visit: https://www.nctreasurer.com/ret/benefits%20handbooks/tsershandbook.pdf. Collapse
  • 41) How in depth will you review positions and titles for market rate comparison? Will employees have an opportunity to fully discuss their position with Human Resources before a decision is made?

    • ECU Physicians leadership is already working to determine the accuracy of current position descriptions and the percentage of time each position has allocated to clinical activities and academic activities. All ECUP staff whose combined clinical activity and GME time is less than 30 percent will remain ECU employees and they will be assigned by ECU to the new corporation for any portion of their time allocated for the delivery of clinical services and GME.

      If you have concerns about the accuracy of your current job description, you should discuss that with your supervisor.

      The board of the new corporation will review and decide on all significant human resources-related matters, including but not limited to: titles, responsibilities, reporting structures and market rates for compensation. Human resources leadership from both organizations will be part of this process. Collapse
  • 42) Will the new corporation qualify as a non-profit organization for purposes of Public Service Loan Forgiveness?

    • Because the new corporation is a non-profit corporation, it is our expectation that full-time employment for the new corporation will qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, but that determination is made through the U.S. Department of Education and is not within the control of Vidant Health or ECU. More information can be found at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service or by contacting FedLoan Servicing at 1-855-265-4038. Collapse
  • 43) If you are a former Vidant employee but now work for ECU will your time with Vidant and ECU be added together when you transition – or will you be credited with your ECU time only?

    • The board of the new corporation will review and decide on all significant human resources-related matters, including but not limited to: titles, responsibilities, reporting structures and market rates for compensation.

      Human resources leadership from both organizations will be part of this process.

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  • 44) I am a temporary ECU Physicians employee. What would my status be under the new corporation, and would my years of service be accounted for?

    • Years of service in a temporary role at ECU do not currently count toward cumulative years of service. Collapse
  • 45) Will ECU staff have one-on-one meetings to discuss our positions with the new corporation?

    • It is our intent to be able to communicate with all VECU team members about their position responsibilities and other matters related to the transition.

      As of the closing date (between January 1, 2018, and December 31, 2018) the new corporation will offer all eligible ECU Physicians and Vidant Medical Group (VMG) clinical employees positions with the new corporation that are substantially equivalent to their existing clinical roles and responsibilities.

      Many employees with ECU Physicians will have the option to remain employed by East Carolina University for a period until their transition date and have their clinical services provided to the news corporation under a professional services agreement between ECU and the new corporation. There will not be an option for clinical employees to provide their services through ECU Physicians or VMG.

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  • 46) Are the ECU clinical employees working in the Leo Jenkins Cancer Center for the joint venture included in the Project Unify integration?

    • Thank you for reaching out via the Project Unify website. To answer your question, yes: all ECU clinical employees who work in the Leo Jenkins Cancer Center – are included in the clinical integration.

      As of the closing date (sometime between January 1, 2018, and December 31, 2018) the new corporation will offer all eligible LJCC employees positions with the new corporation that are substantially equivalent to their existing clinical roles and responsibilities. Collapse
  • 47) Is there a document that outlines the benefit differences between ECU and Vidant that will be applicable to physicians?

  • 48) I understand that achieving 20 years of creditable state service by the time I retire means that the cost of my health insurance premiums will be fully covered by the state until I become eligible for Medicare. What happens to my state insurance coverage once I’m eligible for Medicare?

    • Under current law, once you become eligible for Medicare coverage, Medicare becomes your primary insurance. From that point on, the State will provide supplemental health coverage, helping you pay certain health care costs that Medicare doesn’t cover.

      Please refer to the State of North Carolina’s retirement system website for a full explanation of this benefit:  https://orbit.myncretirement.com/Home/EYContent?EYid=43. Collapse
  • 49) What happened to legislative approval for this clinical integration?

    • All ECU decisions and actions regarding the clinical integration of ECU Physicians with Vidant Medical Group fell under the purview of the University of North Carolina and/or the ECU Board of Trustees, so none required legislative approval.

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  • 50) I understand that ECU employees’ years of service will be carried over to the new entity for earning PTO, and accrued vacation time will be paid out, but will there be an option to transfer some of our sick leave?

    • There is presently no option for an ECU employee to transfer unused sick leave, to be paid out for it, or to have it credited toward years of state service with the new corporation at the time of transition to the new corporation – except that, employees in the defined benefit plan known as the Teachers and State Employees Retirement Plan (TSERS) who retire from ECU at the time of transition will have any accrued sick leave credited toward their total state service and calculated in their retirement pay.

      For more information about TSERS benefits visit https://www.nctreasurer.com/ret/benefits%20handbooks/tsershandbook.pdf.

      In the meantime, please know your proposal to credit accrued sick leave toward years of state service has been passed along to leadership for consideration.

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  • 51) Many nurses within ECU Physicians do not have bachelor’s degrees in nursing, but Vidant Medical Center requires their nurses to have them. Will the new corporation require nurses to have a BSN?

    • The governing board of the new corporation will determine licensure requirements for its clinical staff, but it’s important to note that nurses are not required to have BSN degrees at either ECU Physicians or Vidant Medical Group.

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  • 52) Will all clinical employees from ECU Physicians and Vidant Medical Group transition into the new corporation on the same day?

    • Current ECU employees will be transitioned into the new Corporation with regard to their clinical activities in accordance with the framework in the Integration Agreement. Much work must yet be completed to provide individual employees with the options and timing pertaining to their specific situation. Collapse
  • 53) Can the accrued sick leave of an ECU employee be credited towards their years of state service when they transition to the new corporation?

    • There is presently no option for an ECU employee to transfer unused sick leave, to be paid out for it, or to have it credited towards his/her years of state service with the new corporation at the time of transition to the new corporation – except that, employees in the defined benefit plan known as the Teachers and State Employees Retirement Plan (TSERS) who retire from ECU at the time of transition will have any accrued sick leave credited towards their total state service and calculated in their retirement pay. For more information about TSERS benefits visit https://www.nctreasurer.com/ret/benefits%20handbooks/tsershandbook.pdf.
       
      The proposal to credit accrued sick leave towards years of state service has been passed along for consideration.

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  • 54) When an ECU employee transitions to the new corporation, what happens to their pension plan for retirement?

    • It depends on what type of retirement plan the employee has. The state’s defined benefit pension plan for retirement – the Teachers and State Employees Retirement Plan (TSERS) – can be cashed out upon separation from state employment, rolled into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or left intact until the employee reaches retirement and begins drawing payment.
       
      While the state’s optional retirement plans (provided by TIAA or Fidelity) can also be left intact until the employee reaches retirement, some optional plans can be rolled over into a new employer’s plan.
       
      It is very important to note that any retirement benefits that a vested employee has earned will continue to belong to the employee. 
       
      For a full explanation of the retirement account options that will be available to employees who transition to the new corporation, please refer to the State of North Carolina’s retirement system website: https://orbit.myncretirement.com/Home/EYContent?EYid=43. Collapse
  • 55) If an ECU employee chooses to remain with ECU in order to reach a milestone, will he/she then be required to go through an application process for a job within the new corporation once he/she reaches the milestone?

    • It has not yet been determined what type of application process for the new corporation, if any, will be instituted for ECU Physicians employees who choose to remain state employees until they reach a milestone. That process will need to be determined by the governing board of the new corporation.

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  • 56) What is the likelihood that the new corporation won’t hire me after I reach my milestone because they can hire someone else for less pay?

    • You will remain an ECU employee with all the benefits and responsibilities of any other ECU employee, subject to applicable policies. Upon reaching your milestone, you may be offered employment by the new Corporation subject to its employment needs. Collapse
  • 57) Once the new corporation begins operations, how will holiday clinic schedules affect ECU employees who are remaining with ECU until they reach a milestone?

    • The board of the new corporation will review and decide on all significant human resources-related matters, including but not limited to: titles, responsibilities, reporting structures and market rates for compensation.
       
      Human resources leadership from both organizations will be part of this process.

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  • 58) Will ECU Physicians employees be able to meet with Human Resources to get specific information about their individual options and benefits?

    • Yes. Employees will be given the opportunity to discuss their individual options and benefits with an ECU Human Resources representative well in advance of the new corporation’s start date. 
       
      In the meantime, ECU Physicians employees can verify their current benefits and status with their departmental leave supervisor and/or ECU Human Resources.
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  • 59) How easily can the new corporation terminate an employee who’s leased from the state via a professional services agreement?

    • The terms of the professional services agreements have not been finalized. Within the constraints of the professional services agreement that is to be developed between ECU and the new corporation, and consistent with applicable Human Resources policies and procedures, the new company may terminate the professional services agreement with ECU pertaining to an individual employee, but the new corporation will not have the authority to terminate the employment relationship between ECU and the employee. Rather, if the new company determines it can no longer accept assignment of an ECU employee’s services, ECU would be responsible for determining whether an alternate assignment within ECU is appropriate for the employee. Collapse
  • 60) Is the clinical integration happening because ECU needs funds to sustain the Brody School of Medicine? If so, why didn’t the university lobby state legislators for the necessary funds?

    • ECU Physicians and Vidant Medical Group are integrating because leadership of both parent organizations (ECU and Vidant Health) strongly believe that integration is the best way to improve patient care and access in eastern North Carolina, improve education for medical students and other health profession students, increase the opportunities for resident physicians to complete their training and practice in eastern North Carolina, and address the future of health care practice. Collapse
  • 61) Will ECU staff who transition to the new corporation have to pay for parking?

    • Thank you for your question. We will pass this along to leadership for consideration. Collapse
  • 62) Will ECU staff who transition to the new corporation be able to join the ECU health sciences recreation center for the same price they currently pay?

    • Determinations regarding access to and costs of a variety of ECU facilities and amenities for employees of the new corporation will need to be made by the appropriate ECU authority. Those determinations have not yet been made. Collapse
  • 63) If an ECU employee has already retired from Vidant, will they be eligible to transfer to the new organization as a full-time employee?

    • The response to this question will need to be assessed based on the specific situation for each individual due to pension plan rules. Collapse
  • 64) If an ECU Physicians employee was previously terminated from Vidant and deemed ineligible for re-hire by Vidant, is he/she eligible for transition into the new corporation?

    • Thank you for your question. Leadership will evaluate and review these situations on a case-by-case basis. Collapse
  • 65) If an employee of the new corporation also works at a Vidant facility, will he/she be eligible to receive overtime pay?

    • Any team member of the new entity who is in a nonexempt position and works more than 40 hours in a pay period will be paid overtime for hours worked beyond 40 hours. Collapse

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