Health Service consolidations, cost-savings heard at CUPB

Cassie Buchman, Editor in Chief

The Health Service, Counseling Center and Student Insurance have been consolidated as of Aug. 1.

Eric Davidson, interim director of Health Service, detailed this change and cost-saving measures the departments are taking during a report at a meeting of the Council on University Planning and Budgeting on Friday.

Before their consolidation, the three areas operated separately and independently.

Part of the reason for the consolidation was a continued discussion within student affairs about how to increase coordination and collaboration of those units, Davidson said.

Looking at the consolidation of different areas was also a recommendation made by the group looking at student services during the vitalization project.

“They’ve always reported to the director of Health Service. What we’re really doing is bringing all those three departments under one umbrella and really creating a mega-unit,” Davidson said. “We’re still going to be geographically located in different spaces. It’s really kind of a restructuring.”

The transition is going to take a long time, so part of the process is getting ideas on what the departments need to do to make the consolidation more visible, Davidson said.

One thing the senior leadership administration team is working on is having all three departments have the same new employee orientation.

New interdisciplinary teams and how they will work are also being looked at.

One example is how the medical staff will work with the counseling staff in providing care.

Davidson said what they will probably look at is if whether or not a student is being seen by one of the doctors for a mental health issue, and also receiving counseling, if it is possible for the two providers to work together as a team.

During the meeting, Davidson said some of the benefits of the consolidation were an increase in these interdisciplinary treatment teams, the continuity of care for students and a decrease in the duplication of programs and services already offered.

He said it also allowed the departments to share some resources.

Like other departments on campus, the Medical Clinic in Health Service, the Counseling Center and Student Insurance have been taking measures to save money.

In the Medical Clinic, there have been positions left vacant, such as a physician’s assistant, pharmacy tech, clerk and phlebotomist position. The director position has been left interim, as well as the associate director.

The assistant director position in the Health Education Resource Center has been left vacant, as well as the alcohol prevention, intervention and recovery specialist position.

There is a psychiatrist that the Medical Clinic contracts with 20 percent of the time. Davidson said they have an “on and off” relationship with registered dietitians, and they have done an in-house cost analysis review of medical supplies.

Marketing and promotions for the area has decreased as another cost-saving measure.

In the Counseling Center, the director and associate director position are both vacant, with the assistant director position remaining interim.

Two of the 12-month counselors were made 10-month counselors, and three counselor positions have also been left vacant.

For Student Insurance, Davidson said there are deficits in the budget, but there are things the department is trying to do to make these deficits corrected.

In the past, they were on an 80/20 plan, which has been reduced to 70/30. The maximum benefit was reduced to $15,000. Davidson said it had been $25,000 in previous years, but then it was reduced to $20,000 and now $15,000.

The deductible was increased from $50 to $100.

Davidson said a conservative estimate is that these efforts will save a minimum of $300,000 in Student Insurance, though it could save more.

“When making projections it was difficult to discern because we did not know where enrollment would be or what it would look like,” he said.


Cassie Buchman can be reached at 582-2812 or [email protected].