Willamette University and Salem Health: Partnership for Student Health Services

Beginning in the 2017-18, Willamette is entering into an agreement with Salem Health to formalize a program for students to utilize the hospital’s urgent care health services, across the street from campus, and is transitioning the management of all non-counseling health services to Salem Health, anticipating that full transition will be complete before the 2018-19 academic year.

Counseling and psychiatry services will continue at current levels and will remain on campus at Bishop. Based on student feedback and best practices, keeping counseling on campus ensures these confidential and sensitive conversations happen with our on-campus counseling resources.

The health and wellness needs of students are high priorities and the staff in student affairs, which oversees Bishop, is working hard to ensure that a consistent level of care is achieved. Additional information about the partnership, insurance programs and FAQs are available online - and as we finalize details with Salem Health we will continue to add content to this webpage.

Willamette is in a unique position among residential colleges, with a strong regional medical center in very close proximity to campus.  In addition, Salem Health offers many opportunities for operational and educational collaboration. Students regularly cross the street for internships and course-related projects and Salem Health currently serves after-hours (and weekend) needs of Willamette community members and takes referrals.

Last year Willamette engaged the American College Health Association (ACHA) to complete an analysis of operations at Bishop and the pros and cons of creating a stronger partnership with Salem Health. The report confirmed what those who have utilized Bishop Wellness Center have come to know - that the staff is dedicated to offering outstanding service to students.

In May a decision was made that Willamette would enter into more focused talks with Salem Health about a formal partnership - and as part of these discussions the positions of health services staff at Bishop were guaranteed for the 2017-18 academic year. However, there is a strong market for quality health care providers in our region and as a result several members of the health services staff at Bishop have found other opportunities outside Willamette. Because of these position vacancies and the competitive market for providers, the university is at a moment where exploration of a partnership and a transition has by necessity commenced sooner than originally planned.

Willamette’s collaboration with Salem Health will enable both organizations to focus on what they do best, with Bishop providing student counseling and mental health services that best matched the needs of the campus community, and Salem Health building a program of medical services to meet the health and wellness needs of students, including urgent care, preventative care, and support for athletics. As part of a new partnership, campus safety will also be available to provide safe transport for students to the urgent care facility as needed. Salem Health is also working closely with the staff in student affairs to ensure students feel comfortable utilizing the urgent care facilities.