DeKALB – Northern Illinois University announced in a news release Thursday that officials have signed a letter of intent for Northwestern Medicine to provide health care services to students with staffing, operations and management.
Both parties hope to have a final agreement in effect by early next year, according to a news release.
NIU spokeswoman Lisa Miner said the partnership would put campus health care in the hands of one of the top medical groups in the country. She said NIU officials thought it was in the best interest of students to partner with a health clinic provider like Northwestern Medicine.
Miner said nothing has been negotiated between the two parties for the contract, but talks are expected to begin soon.
"It's too early to tell what the specifics are going to be about that," Miner said.
NIU acting President Lisa Freeman said in a news release that the regional health care provider has the capacity provide university students with a broader range of high-quality medical services in DeKalb and elsewhere.
Northwestern Medicine officials said they are excited to expand in DeKalb, since they already operate out of the hospital after acquiring KishHealth System in 2015. They already provide diagnostic imaging, neuroscience, cancer, diabetes and mental health services at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital, 1 Kish Hospital Drive.
Jay Anderson, president of Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital, said in a news release that the provider is excited to advance the health care services available for NIU students. He was not available for additional comment.
Northwestern Medicine will take over sports medicine for NIU student athletes July 1. NIU athletic director John Cheney said they currently use NIU Health Services staff for general medicine and Midwest Orthopedic for orthopedics, but the contract with Midwest Orthopedic expires June 30.
Rather than expand temporary contracts, Cheney said, NIU athletics decided to go with the Northwestern Medicine contract for student athletes.
"This partnership allows access within those networks to those doctors, should our students need them," Cheney said.
The final agreement is expected to take months to negotiate and will be subject to laws and regulations for state institutions.