The following editorial first appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star.
It makes a lot of sense for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to transfer management of the student health center to the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Chancellor Harvey Perlman noted last year that “health care is not our core competency” at UNL.
At UNMC it is.
The UNL administration expended a lot of time and energy last year in promoting privatization of the student health center under a proposal from Bryan Health in Lincoln.
However, the NU Board of Regents rejected the proposed 36-year contract. Regents said they were concerned about the process UNL officials used to seek approval for the plan. The UNL administration was closemouthed about the plan and released some details only after the Daily Nebraskan student newspaper sought an opinion from the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office. Regents also noted that none of the universities in the Big Ten Conference or Big 12 Conference had private student health centers.
The reasons that Perlman was seeking help in running the student health center are persuasive.
In his State of the University address last year, he said, “The increasing complexity of medical practice suggests that connecting our health center to a larger health care organization could take advantage of scale in purchasing, electronic medical records, regulation compliance."
UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold picked up on that theme in the official news release on the new arrangement, which takes effect July 1.
“I was pleased when Chancellor Perlman reached out to us to discuss this opportunity,” Gold said. “We are taking on this responsibility because we have expertise in the areas of health care management and delivery, which have grown increasingly complex. We are excited about ensuring that this clinic best meets the health needs of UNL students.”
The management transfer does not answer all the questions about the future of the health center.
Still remaining is the issue of whether to construct a new home for the student health center. The Bryan plan had included construction of a $14.4 million facility.
Nonetheless, transfer of management of the student health center to UNMC addresses some of the challenges facing the student health center as health care evolves under the Affordable Care Act.
It seems so obvious a solution that it’s a wonder no one suggested it publicly long ago.