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Upstate Announcements for November 16, 2022

Covid FAQ is updated for fall/winter season

An updated Covid FAQ for staff and students is available on the Upstate Intranet. The FAQ includes information on what to do if Covid-like symptoms occur, how to test and report, how to return to work, exposure questions, “Covid time,” and how to care for a family member with Covid. To see the full Covid FAQ, visit the Upstate Covid Intranet. Upstate login is required.



Child Life seeks volunteers in December

Child Life seeks volunteers to prepare and organize donations for the holiday season. Volunteers are sought for two-hour shifts throughout December. All volunteers must have a valid Upstate ID. For more information, email Beth Kinsley at kinsleye@upstate.edu.



Cisco Webex Meetings app update 

The Cisco Webex Meetings application will stop working Friday, Nov. 18. A new version called Webex is available at the Microsoft Software Center. The new version combines the conferencing app with a teams-like interface. For information on how to install the new version, visit: https://www.upstate.edu/edcomm/web-con.php. 



Thanksgiving snacks 

Upstate’s traditional Thanksgiving holiday snack offerings will be available across campus to thank employees for contributing to Upstate’s mission of teaching, research and patient care. The schedule for distribution is as follows: 

  • Now through Nov. 18 snack deliveries will be made to off-site locations
  • Thursday, Nov. 17 from 9 to 11 a.m. in the lobby of Weiskotten Hall
  • Thursday, Nov. 17 at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. snack carts will visit units of Upstate University Hospital 
  • Thursday, Nov. 18 at 5 a.m. snack carts will visit units of Upstate University Hospital 



Spiritual Care seeks submissions for Upstate’s annual memorial service 

Spiritual Care seeks photos and memories of Upstate students, staff, and volunteers who have died this year for the annual memorial service. Submissions of special memories, drawings, photographs and other tributes are due Monday, Nov. 22 to be included in the service. Drop off or mail submissions to: Spiritual Care, 750 E. Adams St., Syracuse, N.Y. 13210. Email submissions to Chaplain@Upstate.edu. 

The memorial service will take place Sunday, Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. and will be livestreamed on YouTube. For more information, call 315-464-4687. 


NYSHIP Empire Plan benefit card reissue information 

Each year the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act sets new amounts limiting total network out-of-pocket costs. This federal law requires the inclusion of annual out-of-pocket costs on employee health insurance benefit cards and impacts all NYSHIP plans. The Department of Civil Service will issue new Empire Plan benefit cards for all enrollees and covered dependents beginning in mid-November of each year. New benefit cards will also be issued when there is a change to the annual out-of-pocket costs due to collective bargaining. Enrollees can begin using the new benefit cards immediately and securely shred or destroy all other cards. Enrollees do not need to activate the card or place a call to the Department or the Empire Plan administrators prior to use. For more information, call the Employee Benefits Division at Civil Service at 1-800-833-3433.



Nursing Recruitment office temporarily relocates 

Nursing Recruitment is temporarily relocating to 1212 Upstate University Hospital during the hyperbaric project construction. Phone numbers remain unchanged. For more information, email Sherria Sparks at SparksS@Upstate.edu. 



Office of Institutional Equity publishes annual report

The Office of Institutional Equity has published its inaugural annual report covering the 2021-2022 fiscal year. The annual report can be found here: https://www.upstate.edu/equity/oie-annual-report. Institutional Equity is responsible for consulting on and investigating concerns of protected class discrimination and harassment. To connect with Institutional Equity, visit https://www.upstate.edu/equity or call 315-464-9590.



Lori’s Gift Shop sales

Lori’s Gift Shop early Black Friday sales are running now through Nov. 20. The gift shop is located in the lobby of Upstate University Hospital. Questions? Call Jonathan Adler at 315-464-5610. 



Great American Smokeout is Nov. 17

In recognition of Lung Cancer Awareness Month and the Great American Smokeout, Upstate Cancer Center will host a giant inflatable lung Thursday, Nov 17 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the atrium of the cancer center. Stop by to walk through, learn how to maintain your lung health, and get a photo with the lung. 

Stop by the atrium of Upstate Cancer Center Nov 4 through Nov 11 to sign the banner for Shine a Light on Lung Cancer. Sign your name to honor someone who has battled or is battling lung cancer. The banner will be displayed at Shine a Light on Lung Cancer Night at the Syracuse Crunch game on Saturday, Nov 12. Questions? Email Christine Benton at BentonCh@Upstate.edu. 



Consortium for Culture and Medicine seminar is Nov. 18

TD Mitchell, award-winning playwright and television writer, will present A Body Swimming with Covid Nov. 18 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in 2244 Academic Building and via Zoom. TD Mitchell will give a performative reading from her work-in-progress Letters from the Long Haul, alongside her video, A Body Swimming with Covid. A question-and-answer session will follow the reading. Register here: https://upstate.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJItdO6sqz0oGtMfTqNZe-STTmLQEalyuauP. For more information, email Rebecca Garden at gardenr@upstate.edu. 



Webinar on undocumented students is Nov. 21

The Upstate Faculty Council Task Force on Undocumented Students will host a webinar on creating systems of support for undocumented students Nov. 21 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. The webinar will provide information on how to support Upstate’s undocumented DACA-recepient students in navigating the unique challenges they face. The Upstate community is welcome. To register, visit: Creating Systems of Support for Undocumented Students. For more information or questions about this presentation, email Rachel Fabi, PhD, at FabiR@Upstate.edu. 



Department closures during Thanksgiving holiday Nov. 24

  • Duplicating and Printing will be closed Nov. 24 and 25. 
  • Property Management and Record Storage will be closed Nov. 24 and 25. 



Retirement reception for Beth Szymaniak is Nov. 30

A retirement reception for Beth Szymaniak will be held Nov. 30 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Community Room at Community. Szymaniak retires from the Pharmacy Department after 37 years at Community. Everyone at Upstate is welcome. 



Open enrollment for Research Foundation employees is open now through Nov. 30

The health, dental, vision care plans, and Flex Spending Account open enrollment period for Research Foundation employees is open now through Nov. 30. The Benefits Bulletin (October 2022 edition) was mailed to the homes of all eligible staff. Review the 2022 Health Care Plan Comparison and Biweekly Rates online here: https://www.upstate.edu/hr/intra/benefits/changing_options_research.php. 

Important Research Foundation open enrollment reminders: 

  • Print confirmation statements after making any changes for open enrollment.
  • The Research Foundation Central Office benefits department will host office hours Nov. 18 and 25 from noon to 1 p.m. To call in and ask any open enrollment questions, dial: 877-853-5247 (Meeting ID: 897 7134 2069). 
  • To participate in flexible spending, employees must re-enroll in this benefit each year here: www.rfsuny.org/selfservice. 
  • Employees who participate in Dependent Care Spending must elect the subsidy if they wish to receive it.
  • To receive text alerts on Research Foundation benefits, text RFBENEFITS to 24587. 

Questions? Email Heidi Steckel at SteckelH@Upstate.edu. 



Applications for 2023 Your Cause charity due Nov. 30

Team Upstate seeks applications from the Upstate community for a CNY agency to be the featured Your Cause charity in 2023. The Your Cause program, offers Upstate employees an opportunity to nominate a charity that will be the focus of Upstate volunteer outreach through the year. This year’s Your Cause agency was Sarah’s Guest House. 

To nominate an agency for the Your Cause sponsorship, complete and submit an application by Nov. 30. Team Upstate committee will review applications and announce the winning organization in December. Application is available here: https://www.upstate.edu/teamupstate/your-cause/. Email completed applications to Nancy Prott at prottn@upstate.edu. Questions? Email Becca Pesci at PesciR@Upstate.edu. 



Productivity Enhancement Program for state employees is open now through Dec. 12

The Productivity Enhancement Program (PEP) is open now through Dec. 12 for New York state-eligible CSEA, PEF, UUP represented and MC affiliated employees. PEP allows eligible employees to exchange previously accrued annual leave (vacation and/or personal leave) in return for a credit to be applied toward their employee share NYSHIP premiums on a biweekly basis for 2023. In no case can the credit available under the program be applied to the employer share of NYSHIP premiums. For more information, visit: https://www.upstate.edu/hr/intra/benefits/pep.php. Enrollment closes Dec. 12. 



Flex Spending Account Program is open now through Dec. 12

The 2023 Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Program open enrollment period for New York state employees is open now through Dec. 12. To be eligible to enroll in the Flexible Spending Account Program, state employees must be annual salaried, work at least half time, meet the eligibility criteria for enrollment in the New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP), and be expected to be employed for the entire 2023 calendar year. For more information, visit: https://www.upstate.edu/hr/intra/benefits/changing_options_state.php



Easy for You is Dec. 13

Easy for You, Upstate's tobacco treatment program, will be held Tuesday, Dec. 13 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in 7335B Upstate University Hospital. Everyone with a valid Upstate ID is welcome to receive help quitting tobacco, chew, and vape. Free nicotine replacement therapy is available. For more information, contact Theresa Hankin or Carolyn Walczyk at 315-464-3519 or walczykc@upstate.edu. 



Salvation Army's Christmas Bureau is Dec. 21

The Salvation Army’s Christmas Bureau will be held Wednesday, Dec. 21 at the OnCenter. Upstate staff and students are welcome to bring a friend or a high school student as a volunteer. Space is limited and volunteer shifts fill quickly. To volunteer for a three-hour shift with Team Upstate, visit: https://bit.ly/3WnjCzB. Registration in advance is required to volunteer and due to space restrictions, the Salvation Army cannot accept any last-minute volunteer requests. Questions? Email Becca Pesci at PesciR@Upstate.edu. 



NYSHIP Health Insurance Option Transfer Period information is available

The New York State  planning-for-option-transfer-2023.pdf (ny.gov) flyer has been mailed to homes. The publication includes information about the upcoming Option Transfer Period, when you can make changes to your 2023 NYSHIP option for yourself and your enrolled dependents. Health insurance Choices for 2023, which contains a more detailed comparison of NYSHIP benefits, will be available online and from your HBA later this fall. Shortly after, be sure to check your mailbox for the 2023 rate information and Option Transfer deadlines.



Pathway to Wellness announcements

Great American Smokeout is Nov. 17: The Great American Smokeout is Nov. 17. Experts from respiratory care, Upstate Cancer Center, and Upstate’s Tobacco Taskforce will be in Café 750 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Everyone who stops by to share their quit plans or quit story will receive an orange and a photo opp.

Pathway to Wellness T-shirt sale: To order a Pathway to Wellness shirt, call Beth Sellers at 315-492-5551 or Jodi Butterfield at 315-464-6194. 


Rheumatology seeks healthy donors

Department of Rheumatology seeks healthy donors 18 years of age and older. Volunteers will be asked to complete a brief questionnaire, and donate blood and urine. All personal information and blood work results will be kept strictly confidential. Volunteers must have no history of autoimmune disorder or disease, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis, as they will be serving as healthy controls for patients with these disorders. Volunteers can expect this process to take between 20 to 30 minutes. A stipend will be offered to participants. For more information, email Bryan Blaker at blakerb@upstate.edu or Joanne Chilton at chiltonj@upstate.edu.



The Informed Patient includes information on dealing with anxiety, addressing street violence, and probing Alzheimer’s disease

Recent topics explored on The Informed Patient podcast include: anxiety, street violence and Alzheimer’s disease.

The Informed Patient podcast and HealthLink on Air radio show are produced by Upstate Marketing and University Communications. The Informed Patient interviews are available through various podcast platforms, and HealthLink on Air is broadcast on WRVO Public Media at 6 a.m. Sundays. Audio and transcripts of the podcasts and the radio shows are also available at www.upstate.edu/informed.