Survey Examines Portable Pension Benefits as Incentive for Recruiting and Retaining Public Health Leaders

Study on the portability of benefits for public health officials

According to a 2002 survey by the Council of State Governments, states will face an increasing shortage of qualified public health workers over the next decades. Offering portable pension benefits is a strong incentive for recruiting and retaining qualified public health leaders, making it easier for them to move from one state or public health system to another, thereby serving as sources of innovation and improved practice.

In 2006, investigators with the Council of State Governments, Southern Legislative Conference conducted a 50-state survey and produced a white paper examining the portability of pension benefits for public health officials.

The survey examined four mechanisms that allow portability of benefits: direct rollover from a previous employer, the installment purchase of service credits, pretax purchase of service credits, and interstate and intrastate reciprocity agreements.

Key Findings

  • Investigators received a 100 percent response rate from the survey respondents, who included public officials charged with overseeing and administering retirement plans in the 50 states.

    They reported their findings in a white paper, entitled "Pension Portability Among Public Health Officials."

Afterward: The project team distributed copies of the white paper to survey respondents in the 50 states and members of the Southern Legislative Conference. The white paper is available online from the website of the Council of State Governments, Southern Legislative Conference.