CMHP, Wittenberg announce partnership

Wittenberg University and Community Mercy Health Partners will work together to develop new academic and medical affiliations under an exclusive affinity partnership announced today.

The formal relationship between the two organizations actually goes back several years when Excel Sports Medicine began providing services on campus. The new partnership opens the door for Wittenberg and CMHP to collaborate on a variety of initiatives. 

This agreement allows Wittenberg and CMHP to continue to work as true partners committed to providing the best for our respective communities and our hometown of Springfield, said Dick Helton, Wittenberg interim president. Its a win-win on every level.

Since the signing, subcommittees have been created and started to explore specific areas of interest, including:

Academic Programs: CMHP and Wittenberg University will explore a future partnership that may include academic program development as well as internships and other experiential learning opportunities that will benefit both the university and the hospital as well as the residents in Springfield and surrounding communities. 

Athletics and Sports Medicine: Capitalizing on Wittenbergs commitment to its new Health, Wellness, & Athletics facility, partnerships are being forged between Community Mercy, Wittenberg University athletics, and Beacon Orthopedic. Further initiatives will build upon the long-standing relationship between Wittenberg and Excel Sports Medicine. The goal is to provide national caliber training and rehabilitation services and facilities to meet the needs of Wittenbergs 24 NCAA Division III varsity sports and the schools in the surrounding Springfield community. Initiatives being investigated are: the creation of state-of-the-art athletic training and rehabilitation spaces, staffing support in strength and conditioning, physical therapy, athletic training and orthopedic coverage for varsity sports. Support for club and intramural sports will be explored, as will enhanced athletic-related opportunities through programs, camps, clinics, and events for athletes of all ages and levels in the region.

Health and Wellness: CMHP has operated the colleges on-site student health center since February under the guidance of nurse practitioner Trecia Narcelles. The Health Center is a satellite office connected with Springfield Regional Medical Groups North Family Medicine and consulting physician Bernadette de Guzman, MD, MPH. The partnership combines traditional on-campus care with expanded access to hospitals, primary care and specialty physician practices, outpatient centers, urgent care, and a variety of outreach programs. Health Center staff provide day-to-day oversight for on-campus diagnoses, treatment, and prescription services for common illnesses and injuries. The subcommittee will explore increasing student access to other CMHP services and expanding services to faculty and staff.

Strategic Business Relationships: The subcommittee will explore opportunities to leverage resources and build partnerships. Possible examples include shared services and developing an affordable health insurance program through a defined network of providers. The insurance offering would provide students, faculty and staff with an additional choice of healthcare providers beyond their current plan. This group will also have responsibilities across subcommittees. 

Both Wittenberg and CMHP have a long history of outreach in the community, said Paul Hiltz, President and CEO of CMHP and Senior Vice President of Mercy Health. This affinity partnership has far-reaching possibilities to benefit the entire community.