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Miami rips off Band-Aid with McCullough-Hyde

By Mariah Schlossman, For The Miami Student

This past year, Miami University switched providers from McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital to Tri Health, a health care service based outside of Cincinnati, to manage the student health centers for Miami students. The schism between Miami and McCullough-Hyde ways not due to any negative reflections on the hospital's evaluated year, but because Tri Health had greater experience, knowledge and services to offer.

In the spring of 2013, Miami's university employee in charge of managing the student health centers resigned, leaving a gap, and due to the complexities of health in today's world, Miami thought it time to consider its options.

McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital, just five minutes from campus, has always been there to aid in the health and needs of students and faculty at Miami University. The reputation of the hospital among faculty, students and locals has always been fair and after extensive discussion, the university awarded McCullough-Hyde with the position of managing the student health centers for Miami University at the end of the 2013 spring semester.

The initial contract for McCullough-Hyde was set for one academic year. With this change, it was the first time in history that Miami University used an outside health provider. Lack of precedent and a short time frame required that the contract be re-evaluated at the end of the academic year.

The contract stated there would be an interview process in which proposals from hospitals, clinics and other medical centers would be brought in to provide more in-depth information on how they could manage the student health centers.

During the spring term of 2014, Miami University issued a request for proposals, which led to the selection of Tri Health, a unified health system, to manage the student health centers for Miami University.

"Tri Health prides themselves on being a unified health system in which physicians, hospitals, and communities work together to improve the lives of citizens," according to the Tri Health website. "

The contract was awarded to Tri Health for the experience, their greater knowledge and expertise, and the wider variety of services they offer," Treasurer and Vice President for Finance and Business Services David Creamer said. There was a lengthy process to go through to reach the university's decision, and Tri Health simply came out as a dominating force.

"The University went through a bidding process and McCullough-Hyde was one of three finalists who were asked to present a more in-depth presentation of their services," President of McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital Bryan Hehemann said. "We were disappointed by the decision but we understood the rationale that went into the choice."

The job that McCullough-Hyde performed as managing the student health clinics of Miami was not terminated due to any specific complaints or wrong doings, but some students who used the hospital's services had a few things to say on the matter.

"The hospital was extremely accommodating in helping me with what I needed at the time of my initial visit, but things like the paperwork and financials were not made clear to me at the time of my visit," Miami University sophomore Margaret Bosch said. "I had things hanging over my head, things having to do with insurance, paperwork, and financials for months after my visit."

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"McCullough-Hyde did a wonderful job [managing the student health centers] but at the end of the day, Tri Health was a better provider with more experience and more options," Creamer said. "We went into this knowing that we needed to make the best decision for the students, and Tri Health was the one that can really meet the student's needs."

Tri Health operates clinics such as urgent care and employer clinics, and offers an array of services that other providers just did not match up to. Experience is invaluable, and that really was a huge factor in the decision process.

"Students will always have the choice of where they would like to go for aid," Creamer said. "The patient can be referred to Tri Health or McCullough-Hyde hospital. This new selection does not limit where the patient has to go for services. There will always be a choice."

According to Hehemann, McCullough-Hyde worked with Tri Health up until July of 2014 to help them in the initial transitioning period. McCullough-Hyde also still offers services in the student health centers for Miami University.

The university will continue to explore ways on how to improve the student health centers and the selection processes for providers, but Tri Health will be managing the student health centers for Miami for the next 5 years.