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Cunningham named to state health plan board

Dr. Paul Cunningham
GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Dec. 22, 2011)   —   Dr. Paul Cunningham, dean of the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, has been named to the board of trustees of the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees.

State Treasurer Janet Cowell nominated Cunningham to the board. The 10-member board is made up of plan members as well as other experts in medicine and health administration. The board will be responsible for decisions regarding vendor contracts and the design of employee health benefits, according to a news release from Cowell's office.

Cunningham is also senior associate vice chancellor for medical affairs. His term on the health plan board will last two years, and he may serve up to three consecutive terms.

The State Health Plan will become a division of the Department of State Treasurer effective Jan. 1. The plan provides health care coverage to more than 664,000 teachers, state employees, retirees, state university and community college personnel, and their dependants.

The plan currently reports to a legislative oversight committee within the General Assembly, which lacked the resources to provide day-to-day oversight of plan operations. During the past 20 years, numerous reports have suggested that a plan of this size and scope be moved to an executive agency, according to the department.

The transfer of the plan to the Department of State Treasurer will mean administration of health and retirement benefits will be under one roof, allowing for improved communication and coordination, according to the department.

In addition to Cunningham, board members are Virginia "Kim" Hargett, a physical education teacher at Marshville Elementary School in Union County, appointed by Gov. Beverly Perdue; Noah Huffstetler, managing partner at the Raleigh office of Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough specializing in health care law, administrative law, and business and appellate litigation, appointed by Sen. Phil Berger, president pro tempore of the N.C. Senate; Bill Medlin, an associate executive director of the Professional Educators of North Carolina, appointed by Rep. Thom Tillis, speaker of the N.C. House of Representatives; G. Genell Moore, vice president of Carolinas HealthCare System, appointed by Perdue; Warren Newton, vice dean for education and chief education officer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, appointed by Tillis; David Rubin, professor emeritus of the Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC-Chapel Hill, appointed by Janet Cowell; and Michele Shaw, an officer and general instructor with the N.C. Department of Corrections and former chair of the State Employees Association of North Carolina's 22nd District, appointed by Berger.

Cowell and Andy Willis, director of state budget, will serve as ex-officio board members. Willis will not be a voting member and Cowell will vote only in cases of a tie.


Contact: Doug Boyd | 252-744-2482