UNL looks to privatize University Health Center - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

UNL looks to privatize University Health Center

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By: Bill Schammert

There were some heated words between UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman and some students as the University Health Center's fate is up in the air. 

An open forum was held Tuesday night where the chancellor laid out the details of a proposed contract between the university and Bryan Health.

"I would like to know what gives you the right to tell me whether or not my health care is important?" UNL Senior Bryce Bonet said at the meeting. "I understand at this university, that students are not always your top priority."

After a few more insults, Chancellor Perlman responded.

"I've heard what you've had to say, what do you want?" he said.

For the chancellor, there's no question a new building needs to be built.  The question is, how much will it cost students?  Perlman says the proposed contract would save students about $85 a year in fees.

The proposed new building would go at the intersection of 19th and R streets, about four blocks east of the current Health Center.

Still, for some, it's not about money.

"I've developed some great relationships and couldn't be happy with the providers," UNL student Wendy Oleson said.

In the proposed contract, Bryan Health guarantees the same services and zero cost increases for at least two years.  Also, all operations, including the pharmacy, would need to be kept on campus.

With the uncertainty of the Affordable Care Act and questions about the state of the country's health care system, Chancellor Perlman says he's more comfortable with Bryan Health taking over the reigns.

"I hate to break it to you, but things change," the chancellor said. "Those are risks that I would prefer to put on someone that's going to have to bear them and bear them more cheaply."

Health Center staff would be guaranteed at least one-year of employment.  Its fate is expected to be decided at a March 16th Board of Regents meeting.

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