I want to share with you a brief overview of the process surrounding the issuance of a Request for Proposals (RFP) for Student Health Services and let you know about another opportunity this week to gather information, ask questions and provide feedback.
We have planned two listening sessions for this month, including one for Thursday, where we will discuss this issue and welcome input from faculty and staff. The forums will be held as follows:
· Thursday, March 14 : 3-4 p.m., Chancellor’s Room 311, Davies Center
· Wednesday, March 27: 11 a.m.-noon, Ho Chunk Room 320E, Davies Center
As you know, our Student Health Service (SHS) has a very long history of providing quality care to our students. The SHS staff’s knowledge of the unique health care needs of our student population is understood, and their commitment to ensuring our students receive the care they need to successfully live and learn as part of our campus community is greatly appreciated.
We also have on our campus a very long history of working closely with our student leaders as we move our campus forward. The new Davies Center and the Blugold Commitment are examples of the extraordinary things that can happen when we work collaboratively with the elected student leaders on our campus.
The Student Senate has requested that the university investigate options for student health services because of concerns about rising health care costs and the Senate’s desire to reduce the overall percentage of segregated fee allocations to health services. In response to that request, we designing an RFP to explore options, including possible partnerships with external health care providers. With several leading national and regional health care providers operating within the city of Eau Claire, the university may have a unique opportunity to accomplish the goals of the Student Senate while maintaining the accessibility to and quality of care our students expect.
In addition, with the construction of a new 300-500-bed residence hall on upper campus, the cafeteria in Hilltop will be greatly expanded to accommodate the increased on-campus student population. This expansion will displace University Recreation and Sports Facilities staff. The Campus Master Plan calls for the relocation of SHS and University Police, currently located in Crest Wellness Center, to accommodate the staff and services of the University Recreation and Sports Facilities unit. Space elsewhere on campus would need to be renovated for SHS use.
The plan to relocate SHS, coupled with the request from the Student Senate, makes this a logical time to study our options regarding future health care services on our campus.
With that in mind, I have appointed the RFP Working Group, which consists of individuals from SHS, Student Senate, Student Affairs, and Business Services; faculty from the College of Nursing and Health Sciences; and the faculty chair of the SHS and Counseling Services PEEQ Review Committee. I’ve asked this team to begin drafting the RFP document.
Among the many considerations I have asked the group to incorporate into the RFP document are the integration of current SHS staff into any staffing model; maintaining the affordability and accessibility of services for our students; the continued relationship between student health services and Counseling Services; the provider’s funding model as it relates to campus renovation and technology; and collaborations with other university constituents.
Our goal is to issue the RFP by mid-April. Proposals would be received sometime in June. Your new chancellor then would have the opportunity to work with the campus community to determine next steps.
I will keep you updated as this work continues. In the meantime, please join us at the listening sessions and/or contact me or those on the working group directly with questions or comments.