Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
I write to provide you an update on an important partnership the University has been exploring with Evangelical Community Hospital and Geisinger Medical Center. We discussed this with the Board of Trustees this weekend and wanted you to know about it now.
As you know in these two local health resources the Bucknell community has outstanding medical services available. Over recent years the cooperative relationship between Evangelical, Geisinger and Bucknell has continued to grow. Building on this relationship, in the past year we have been exploring opportunities to work with these institutions to expand health services and wellness offerings to campus. As a result of these intensive discussions, our initial plans are as follows:
- As we have discussed with our student health services staff, by this fall we intend to formalize an arrangement with Evangelical and Geisinger to establish a new student health services program for Bucknell students. Through this new and expanded student health services center, we will be able to provide even better on-campus health services to our students, work more effectively with students’ insurance programs, and help students manage their healthcare needs throughout their time at Bucknell. The physicians of Evangelical and Geisinger would oversee the provision of all health services on campus through this arrangement. With this change, Bucknell’s current full-time student health services staff will become employees of a joint venture between Geisinger and Evangelical Community Hospital. At the same time, students will have access on campus not only to those outstanding health services staff, but also to the experts, support and services of Evangelical and Geisinger hospitals.
- We expect through this partnership to launch in the coming year an expanded wellness program for Bucknell students, faculty and staff, including expertise in such areas as exercise, nutrition, good mental health and more. We also will be exploring with Evangelical and Geisinger establishing at the University within a few years a dedicated wellness center. Our goal is to work as partners to help students, faculty and staff take the steps necessary to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- As we have discussed with the University’s Planning and Budget Committee, we will be exploring with Evangelical and Geisinger whether it is possible over the next couple years to implement a new health insurance program for faculty and staff. As you know, health insurance costs nationwide continue to rise dramatically. That is no different at Bucknell. Through this partnership we hope to develop a health insurance program for faculty and staff that provides a variety of flexible and effective health insurance options.
We have many questions yet to explore fully, and will provide more information to you as our discussions with Evangelical and Geisinger continue. We wanted you to know at this time the seriousness with which we are pursuing these conversations to strengthen the healthcare available at the University. We look forward to providing you further information as these conversations evolve.