Board of Regents committee meetings held Friday, privatization of Health Services discussed

Trey Crumbie

The Board of Regents committee meetings convened Friday morning in the Cornelius A. Martin Regents Room, following the special budget approval meeting. All items were approved and the privatization of WKU Health Services was a focal discussion during the meetings.

The decision to privatize WKU Health Services came in March to help overcome a $3.1 million budget shortfall.  Although no contract is in place, WKU is in negotiations with Graves Gilbert Clinic, to privatize WKU Health Services. Graves Gilbert Clinic is a health clinic in Bowling Green.

Ann Mead, vice president for Finance and Administration, said Graves Gilbert Clinic proposes to expand hours and become flexible on WKU’s schedule and demand. The suggested hours are 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday with desires to be open on Saturday.

“Obviously anyone that is operating a healthcare facility will gauge the demand for patients and meet those needs by adjusting their hours,” Mead said.

Mead said 12 people have found other employment while 15 still remain at WKU Health Services.

“We have been very sensitive to promoting the employment opportunities for current Health Services employees,” Mead said.

Mead said several services of WKU Health Services will still be offered once privatized, but the $1.1 million subsidy from WKU that is no longer applied may have an effect. Mead said WKU will put together an advisory council to help Graves Gilbert Clinic assess WKU’s needs.

“What we want to be able to make sure is that we have some way of assessing their ability to meet the campus’ needs adequately,” Mead said.

The target date for Graves Gilbert Clinic to be operational is Aug. 1, said Mead.

In the Academic Affairs committee, a Master of Science in Environmental and Occupational Health Science was approved, as well as numerous graduate and undergraduate certificates.

Brian Meredith, chief enrollment and graduation officer, gave an enrollment report during the meeting. Meredith said admitted students are up 425 from last year and a more detailed report will come next month.

Personnel actions in the Finance and Budget committee were approved. The committee also gave approval to prepare $2.4 million from university reserves to renovate the Thompson Complex Center Wing and demolish Thompson Complex North Wing, which closed in January. Bryan Russell said abatement of the building is slated for October.

The items will go up for full board approval on July 25.