PS&T contract gives nurses extra educational boost
By SHERRY HALBROOK
A new educational benefit, the Nurses Enhanced Pilot Programs, is getting underway this spring.
The programs are designed to provide enhanced educational benefits tailored to the special needs of PEF nurses.

“These enhanced nurse-training programs supplement the broad base of educational benefits already available to all of our PS&T-unit members,” said PEF Director of Education and Human Resources Clifford Merchant.

“The enhanced programs were negotiated in the PS&T Contract and are being implemented by the joint Professional Development Committee (PDC) in accordance with a side letter published in the contract.”
PEF and the state are offering three pilot programs for the 2009-2010:
• Nurses Enhanced College Tuition Reimbursement (CTR) Program;
• Nurses Enhanced Voucher Program; and
• Nurses Enhanced Voucher Alternative (VALT) Program.

The pilot programs will expire March 31, 2010, unless the PDC decides to extend them. They are open to eligible PS&T nurses in all state agencies and at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

The enhanced CTR and VALT programs began April 1 and the enhanced Voucher Program begins May 1. Their enhanced benefits are not retroactive and they are available only after benefits available under the regular Voucher, CTR and VALT programs have been used. (See related article.)

A maximum of four college courses may be covered by combining the benefits of the enhanced and regular Voucher and CTR programs.

Enhanced CTR, Voucher
• Provides either two additional CTR payments or two additional vouchers for fiscal year 2009-10 for nurses in a nursing degree program that leads to a four-year degree, master’s degree, post-graduate certificate or doctorate, and who meet all other program requirements.

• These additional CTR payments or vouchers, which have the same values as regular CTR payments or vouchers, can be used for extra courses or can be combined with a regular voucher where the cost of tuition exceeds the maximum value of a single CTR payment or voucher.

Enhanced VALT Program
• Provides additional reimbursement of up to $600 to nurses, who have exhausted their regular VALT benefits, for qualifying non-credit courses, workshops or seminars that will enhance their performance of current jobs, or further their nursing careers with the state. The maximum combined funds of the VALT and Enhanced VALT programs available to nurses is $1,200 per member.

• To be eligible for reimbursement, conferences, workshops, seminars, and non-credit-bearing courses must meet the same eligibility criteria required by the regular VALT Program.

Nurses must also review the 2009-10 guidelines for the regular CTR, Voucher, and VALT programs to fully understand the complete package of benefits available when the regular and enhanced programs are combined.
For more information, e-mail PEF training specialist Kim Loccisano at kloccisano@pef.org or call her at 800-342-4306, ext. 240.


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