By: Logan Peterson, firstname.lastname@example.org
“The medical side of Hendrix has been going more and more and more in the hole,” Brenda Amenson-Hill, VP of Enrollment Management & Student Affairs Enrollment Management, said on Thursday, Feb. 21 during a Student Senate meeting. “The financial model is not sustainable.”
According to Amenson-Hill, Hendrix has faced financial troubles for some time. She said it has been one of her top priorities since 2015. After consultations and recommendations from experts in the field, MSUM is moving forward with a new approach that they hope will solve the financial puzzle.
The newest solution is to outsource the medical side of Hendrix, and focus on what the administration has deemed to be a bigger priority for students: mental health. A Request for Proposals (RFP) has been drafted to solicit bids from medical providers.
Within this new model, mental health services would still be run by MSUM, and the third party medical provider would still operate in the on-campus clinic. Examples of medical providers are Sanford, Essentia, Urgent Med, Family Healthcare and Valley Medical.
“The one thing we want to make sure of, whoever that vendor is that we select, is that they fit with our mission, our strategic anchors, our vision for this institution,” Kara Gravley-Stack, Dean of Students, said. “So it’s not purely based on numbers or things like that. We want to make sure that the costs of services doesn’t go up for students because we are bringing in someone from the outside.”
The biggest changes with the new model would be that the medical portion of Hendrix would no longer be funded by student fees, the hours of service would be increased and medical services would be open to the general public as well as students.
“It will be just like any other clinic,” Gravley-Stack said. “It will be open everyday in the summer as well as over breaks. It also gives the opportunity to serve people in the community, not just students.”
Although the medical services will be open to the public, Gravely-Stack said that part of the conversations with the vendors is that MSUM students remain the priority.
Currently, the Health Services Fee students find on their bills goes toward physical and mental health services at Hendrix. Once medical services are switched to a third party, the administration plans on using the entire amount for mental health services.
“Students aren’t having to come see us because they aren’t getting along with their roommate … they’re coming in for significant mental health diagnoses, where they need trained professionals to help them work through those,” Gravely-Stack said.
The emphasis on mental health is based on what the administration interprets as student need.
“We have looked at a lot of information and trends from students, and student behavior, not just one but several years to see what are the needs, and that is driving a lot of our proposal,” Amenson-Hill said. “If the needs were going the other direction, more to medical health, we’d lean that way.”
Bids from medical providers are due March 11 and the administration hopes to implement the new system by next fall.