Weber State University considers outsourcing student health care

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FILE: A statue of Louis Frederick Moench, founder and first principal of Weber State University, is pictured on the Weber State University campus in Ogden on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

OGDEN, Utah — Weber State University is exploring the option of shutting down its on-campus health center and outsourcing student health care to nearby providers.

Whether students would be better served by another system is the question for administrators.

“Are we getting the best value for our students by having this model on campus?” said University President Brad Mortensen.

“Could we put those resources to better use, maybe a use that would have a broader impact for all of our students?”

Right now, the center provides low-cost care to students and does not require any form of insurance. That isn’t lost on Executive Director of Health and Wellness, Diana Abel.

“We are very well aware that not all of our students have insurance,” she said.   

Abel said access to insurance is a factor they will consider as they move closer to a decision about outsourcing student health care.

Administration officials are also considering how the current health center is funded.  A portion of the operating expenses come from student fees which would have to be reviewed and reworked by a Student Fee Recommendation committee.

“We would work very closely with that group to make sure how those fees were being used,” Mortensen said.

“It would be very transparent,” he said.

Mortensen admitted the process of shutting down the on-campus health center is a lengthy one. He said it will require input from multiple parties.

If outsourced, Weber State will be the second university in Utah that doesn’t offer on-campus healthcare. Southern Utah University is currently the only Utah university without a health care center.

Contributing: Simone Seikaly

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