LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Clarification on proposal between WKU and The Medical Center

Tony L. Glisson, director of Human Resources

In the interest of WKU faculty and staff, students and the community in general, I am writing to clarify a number of inaccurate print and social media accounts of the “original” proposed agreement between WKU and The Medical Center, Med Center Health. As Human Resources Director and with responsibilities for administration of the WKU Employee Health Plan, it is my duty and obligation to keep WKU employees, in particular, and eligible dependents accurately informed of important matters involving their health and wellness coverage. In this instance, there is a compelling need to ensure that the Bowling Green community is clear on what originally occurred and where things now stand.

In a statement issued on Oct. 11, 2016, Drs. Craig Beard and Phillip Singer state that on August 19 President Ransdell informed physician groups “that their services would be terminated under the new deal; and later, they were intentionally excluded from the network of physicians who would be available for WKU care”.  As an act of professionalism and courtesy, President Ransdell did indeed inform the WKONA physician group of the pending partnership with The Medical Center and that in the future (date to be determined) Medical Center Orthopedics would be providing orthopedic care services under the pending agreement to WKU’s student athletes. It is important to note that the context of this conversation was associated with medical services to student athletes only. WKONA has a long history of providing such medical services to WKU athletes. Medical services to student athletes are in no way related to the Employee Health Plan.

The WKU Employee Health Plan is administered by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and includes a vast national network of providers to which WKU employees and eligible dependents have access. WKONA has been a provider in Anthem’s network historically and remains so as of the present.  Any changes to the Anthem network are controlled by Anthem and its unique agreements with physicians and medical groups and not by WKU. So, any statement by WKONA that it has now been terminated from WKU’s Health Plan is not accurate.

Separately but related, any suggestion or statement that Graves Gilbert Clinic (GGC) will no longer be a network provider under the WKU Employee Health Plan as a result of the proposed agreement is also untrue.  GGC has been and continues to be a network provider under the Health Plan. As stated above, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, not WKU, controls negotiations and resulting contracts with those physicians and medical groups who are a part of the Anthem network.

A Request for Proposals (RFP) process is currently underway inviting any interested and qualified entities to submit proposals to construct a new sports medicine complex, operate an on-campus primary care clinic and provide orthopedic services for student athletes.  Any new agreement that may result from the RFP will not impose restrictions on which medical service providers will be available in the future to WKU employees and eligible dependents.  In keeping with standard business practices, the design and oversight of the WKU Employee Health Plan is under guidance of the Employee Benefits Advisory Committee and the Department of Human Resources.

Thanks for this opportunity to clarify this important campus and community matter.