EVANSVILLE - The University of Southern Indiana has entered into a public-private partnership with a medical claims processing company that will include internship opportunities for both students and faculty. The school says the five-year collaboration with Evansville-based Pollux Systems Inc. will strengthen the region's role in the growing industry. USI President Linda Bennett says, while a traditional internship benefits one student, a faculty internship can "change the path of hundreds of students."

The partnership will allow faculty members from the Romain College of Business and the College of Nursing and Health Professions to work with Pollux on skills including project management and risk analysis. Students in business and health programs will also be selected for competency-based pathway internships focusing on management, computer information systems and health administration. The internships could begin as early as this summer.

Pollux says it will set up a satellite office in USI's Business and Engineering Center in the fall. The company says the office will help facilitate the educational and faculty collaboration components of the partnership. Pollux also has long-range plans to create a medical coding center in Evansville. It says the center would be one of the first in the United States and present an opportunity to providers that ship data offshore to be processed.

Bennett says the school is treating the partnership as a "learning exchange," which she says will "add dimension to current USI degree programs, provide experience in the industry for faculty and students and give Pollux management access to expertise on campus."

Pollux Chief Executive Officer Paul McGowan calls the partnership a "landmark model for not only enhancing competencies for students and instructors, but also for creating well-defined pathways for economic development in Evansville." In addition to Evansville, Pollux has locations in Paducah, Kentucky and Philadelphia.