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Staff expects new changes to the Otterbein Student health services to provide extensive care

The closing of the Health Center is part of a plan to help balance Otterbein's budget

This fall, Otterbein is partnering with Mount Carmel to offer medical care for students. Mount Carmel plans to provide virtual and in-person options for Otterbein students, while Otterbein’s physical health center will be closed for the semester.

This change comes as part of a plan to balance Otterbein's budget. "Changes include an end to our "free" health center and delivery of medical care through telehealth and local providers," said President John Comerford in a Sept. 9 email titled "Campus Update from President Comerford".  "The reality is that the past three years have left us a smaller institution. And smaller institutions do not need as many employees, services, etc."

"There is still great disruption and pain to having to continuously make changes," he wrote.

Otterbein is partnering with three different medical professionals at three different locations to better help students get scheduled for the care that is needed. Mount Carmel is only 1.2 miles from campus resulting in a four-minute drive or a 25-minute walk.

Also, through COTA Plus, students have free transportation to any of the three locations. Still, though, many problems can arise for students who do not have a car on campus. In the event of serious illness or injury, it isn’t always possible for students to safely make it to appointments off campus, especially without strongly inconveniencing friends with cars, or COTA Plus bus drivers. 

Along with Mount Carmel, there are several other options for first aid access and medical care. CareFirst Urgent Care and Equitas Health services are both located close to Westerville, though they do not partner with Otterbein in providing financial assistance.

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