WMU News

Trustees approve University-community partnerships

July 6, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- Acting at its July 6 meeting, Western Michigan University's Board of Trustees authorized University officials to enter into Kalamazoo County and Calhoun-area partnerships.

Trustees gave approval for WMU officials to become a part of the Kalamazoo County Health Plan Corp., which will serve the needs of the county's underinsured. The new organization is being formed to fill the gap that currently exists in the county for uninsured people who do not qualify for Medicaid dollars. According to organizers, these are typically people who are employed, but whose jobs provide no medical coverage. Similar programs exist in three other Michigan counties.

WMU has been invited to form the organization with seven other organizations: Bronson Healthcare Group, Borgess Health Alliance, Kalamazoo County, the Kalamazoo Foundation, the Kalamazoo Academy of Medicine, Healthy Futures and the Family Health Centers. The Kalamazoo County Health Plan calls for the group to apply for federal matching funds. WMU and other partners will provide funds that will be sent to the federal matching network. Within five business days, those funds will be returned to the Health Plan, along with matching funds. The original funds will be returned to WMU. The University may also receive matching funds that could be used to directly assist students with uncovered medical costs. WMU may withdraw from the organization at any time, with no financial penalty.

Trustees also authorized the University's membership in the Calhoun Area Millennium Partnership. Founded in October 2000, the organization aims to install a fiber optics infrastructure to serve the Battle Creek and Marshall areas; enhance the operations of and enable the full development of WMU's College of Aviation; and establish a research and development area for e-learning. Those moves will enhance aviation education, research and e-learning efforts that are major ingredients of the Battle Creek economic development initiative recently designated a SmartZone by the state.

In addition to WMU, Kellogg Community College, the Miller Foundation, Battle Creek Unlimited and the Calhoun Intermediate School District are all CAMP members. The organization requires a $300,000 commitment over three years from each member.

Media contact: Jessica English, 616 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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