Cobleskill Regional Hospital Internationally Recognized for Financial Wellness Program

Cobleskill – Cobleskill Regional Hospital, part of Bassett Healthcare Network, has earned an Eddy Award ranking with its retirement partner, TIAA, in recognition of its commitment to the physical health of its patients and financial health of its employees. Pensions & Investments, an international news organization, acknowledges best practices by plan sponsors and service providers that offer investment education to retirement plan participants through its annual Eddy Awards and has since 1995.

Helping employees prepare for retirement has been a top priority for Christine Pirri, Vice President, Non-Clinical Operations and Human Resources at Cobleskill Regional Hospital, since 2013, when she began working on the hospital’s benefit programs.

“I have been involved in managing retirement plans for 15 years,” Pirri says. “I want people, when they are ready to retire, to have that option.” Over the past two years, Cobleskill Regional Hospital has made retirement readiness and financial wellness a priority. TIAA, a financial services organization, is the service provider for Cobleskill Regional Hospital and responsible for managing $7.9 million in employee retirement savings. 

Cobleskill Regional Hospital and TIAA earned an Eddy Award ranking in third place in the “Special Projects” category. With the help of TIAA, the hospital’s administration created accessible communications to help employees prepare for retirement. These communications were paired with one-on-one counseling sessions and special topic live/on-demand webinars.

Human Resources has worked diligently to embed financial wellness into the hospital’s culture. Each employee is encouraged to take advantage of an “Annual Retirement Check-Up,” a one-on-one retirement education session, with a representative from TIAA or Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) Benefit Services, another resource the hospital invests in to help employees.

The hospital accomplished a number of achievements to gain recognition as an Eddy Award recipient:

  • In 2019, 63 percent of full-time and part-time employees completed an “annual financial wellness checkup" with a financial advisor from HANYS Benefit Services or TIAA.
  • The hospital introduced an annual auto re-enroll program at the rate of three percent of annual salary to allow employees to start saving at a rate not as noticeable in paychecks.
  • As of Jan. 1, 2020, retirement plan participation increased from 41 percent to 93 percent, maintaining an average participation rate of above 90 percent for two consecutive years since implementation.
  • The average participant contribution has increased from four percent to seven percent. 
  • 42 percent of plan participants have increased their contributions over this past year.

“I am extremely proud that my staff and I have been able to implement so many programs that teach our employees about the importance of saving for retirement and offer annual wellness checkups for their financial health,” says Pirri.

Other ways the hospital is improving the financial literacy of its employees include:

  • Launching a TIAA Workplace Banking Program
  • Hosting Retirement 101 lunch and learn workshops
  • Promoting the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
  • Reminding employees to take advantage of monthly webinars through TIAA
  • Providing education around cybersecurity awareness

For 2020, the hospital increased its tuition reimbursement benefit, eliminated hardships from the retirement plan, and aims to develop a student loan debt solution that will benefit the employee and the employer. Employee benefits are an important way that organizations compete for talent. Experts say that financial wellness is directly linked to an employee's engagement at work. Cobleskill Regional Hospital is working hard to make its total compensation package stand out from other organizations while hiring and retaining employees who are in high demand.