NIU, Kishwaukee College cooperate on funding bid

By Eric Krol

NIU’s School of Nursing and Kishwaukee College have received the go-ahead to apply for federal seed money to start a nursing center at the Kishwaukee campus.

The Kishwaukee College Board of Trustees gave permission Tuesday night for NIU to submit an application in hopes of getting up to $1 million in federal funds to start a clinic. The clinic would provide primary care such as physical exams, immunizations, family planning services and treatment for sexually-transmitted diseases for Kishwaukee students and area residents at low costs.

The federal money would cover start-up costs such as remodeling a facility at the Kishwaukee campus.

Sara Barger, chair of the nursing school, said the committee’s purpose is threefold. The nursing center would provide clinical experiences in rural primary care for NIU and Kishwaukee students, provide health services targeted to low-income populations and Kishwaukee students and provide opportunities for nursing faculty to collaborate in teaching, practice and research in rural health.

Barger also had to address trustee concerns about possible cost to Kishwaukee College. After the federal money runs out, the clinic would generate operating revenues from service fees. Barger said experience has told her this covers 75 percent of the operating costs.

Trustee Donald Klein expressed concern about who would pickup the remaining 25 percent. “Northern has no money, the federal government has no money and the patients have no money,” he said. “It can’t possibly be self-supporting.”

Barger and Kishwaukee Community College President Norm Jenkins said NIU would pickup any additional costs not covered by service fees.

Barger said a sliding fee scale would be used, but services would not be denied because of inability to pay.

Students from both schools will staff the clinic along with two family nurse practitioners. Area physicians also will be involved with the clinic.