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UCO Recognized Nationally For 'Innovation' For Partnership With Mercy Health System

Aug. 2, 2010

UCO Media Contact: Adrienne Nobles, Director of Communications and Marketing, UCO University Relations, (405) 974-2103,

Mercy Media Contact: Ron Jackson, Senior Media Relations Specialist, (405) 936-5896,


The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) has honored the University of Central Oklahoma with its 2010 Innovation Award for its partnership with Mercy Health System of Oklahoma, which resulted in the new Mercy Clinic at UCO and more that $660,000 in savings for the university.

Central's winning submission, "Healthy Partnerships for a Healthy Bottom Line," detailed the university's innovation in meeting the health and wellness needs of its more than 16,000 students and nearly 2,500 employees while also reducing operational costs by seeking outside partnership with a health care provider to renovate and operate its on campus health clinic.

The search resulted in a partnership with Mercy, and together the university and Mercy opened the Mercy Clinic at UCO in October of last year.

In the 2009-10 fiscal year, the university's labor costs associated with student health services dropped 70-percent from $800,454 to $243,962 and administrative and travel expenses were reduced by 66-percent from $267,378 to $90,000.
Overall, total expenses for the area dropped from more than $1 million to just under $334,000 for total reduction of more than $660,000 in costs or nearly 69-percent.

"In a time of lean budgets for the university and the students and families we serve, we are committed to being responsible stewards of tuition dollars and state funds, while not compromising our level of service," said Steve Kreidler, Central's executive vice president.

"Our partnership with Mercy has not only allowed us to tremendously reduce our costs, but also to advance and improve the health services available to our campus community by taking advantage of Mercy's superior resources."

The partnership with Mercy has allowed for expanded services at the health center, including a new X-ray room and urgent care capabilities for UCO students, faculty and staff. Plus, a new electronic health record system connects patients' medical information with all Mercy's facilities in a four-state region, making it easier to access care when and where convenient.

"Like the Sisters of Mercy before us, our ministry is about exploring new ways in which we can care for people," said David Tew, Mercy chief operations officer. "Our partnership with UCO is exactly what that vision is all about."

The Mercy Clinic at UCO also provides access to Mercy's broad network of primary care and specialty physicians.

"The clinic at UCO is connected with all Mercy's clinics and facilities throughout our entire operations," added Jesse Campbell, M.D., of Mercy. "So they are no longer just another student clinic."

Since initiating the partnership, Central has received inquiries from universities and colleges throughout Oklahoma and the country about initiating a similar partnership on their campuses.

The university was recognized by NACUBO for innovation this year alongside the University of Virginia and the University of Washington, among others.

Central won one of NACUBO's first-ever Innovation Award in 2007 for its cost-saving sustainability initiatives throughout campus.

The NACUBO Innovation Award honors the achievement of higher education institutions in areas of process improvement and resource enhancement as related to the business and financial administration of the institution.

For more information on the Mercy Clinic at UCO and the university's other health and wellness initiatives, visit