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Six free psychological counseling sessions a year and chiropractic evaluations are a few of the many health center benefits that most students don’t take advantage of says Student Health Services Coordinator Debbie Canover.
“Most people think our campus health center is like high school where you lay on a cot, have your temperature taken, and get an ice pack,” Canover said.
What most students don’t realize is the $17 health fee they pay, included in their tuition, supports the on campus full service health center that offers a reception to schedule appointments, four exam rooms, two labs, and one-on-one, confidential counseling with a psychologist, Canover said.
Located next to the swimming pool in between the North and South P.E. buildings, students with a stomach ache, sore throat, or any other illnesses can be seen by a nurse practitioner within five to 15 minutes during walk-in hours Monday through Friday beginning at 8:30 a.m., Canover said.
“I didn’t even know we had a health center,” Ruth Flores, business major, said. “But I’m definitely going to check it out and get my money’s worth.”
A nurse practitioner evaluates, determines the plan of care, prescribes medication or refers him or her to the physician. This can be beneficial not only to students without health care, but also to students who don’t have time to go to his or her private doctor or don’t want to miss class, Canover said.
A helpful resource for students without insurance, the Health Center serves as a “gatekeeper for the bigger system,” Canover said.
Complex cases that require more medical attention can receive doctor to doctor referrals from the Health Center to county hospitals, which can hurry the process that can last as long as two or three months to half the waiting time.
“We make no profit in the Health Center. That’s not what we’re here for. So if we get something low cost or free, those savings are passed on to our students,” Canover said. Low cost and free medication ranging from asthma inhalers to antibiotics are available as well as contraception including birth control pills and up to six free condoms.
Serving 22,000 students, debate about whether or not the health center should be open during the summer has been an issue of concern.
“You feel helpless as a faculty that that resource isn’t there. This has gone on for ten years now and every year we keep beating the horse again,” Canover said.
Whether or not students would be willing to pay an extra health fee during summer session along with fee increases is one of the determining factors in keeping the health center open in the summer, President Thomas Fallo said.
“Students have to want it,” Fallo said. With some students covered in their parent’s insurance plans, students already paying for private health care, as well as students on financial aid who get reimbursed for fees, not all students may be willing to pay more money in the summer. Interested students may come by the Health Center to sign a petition, as stated in the flier provided by the Health Center.
Canover hopes to ease students’ fears of getting probed or poked for STD screenings. The STD clinic, open Tuesdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m, offers HIV, chlamydia, and gonorrhea screenings. All that is required is watching an informational video and a urine test with results the following week.
Free workshops including anger management, understanding depression, test anxiety, and positive psychology: the science of feeling good, led by campus psychologists Ruth Taylor and Sally Emery are available in the Health Center now until December. Interested students may sign up in the health center 15 minutes beforehand. The upcoming work shop on understanding depression will take place Tues. Oct. 13 at 12 p.m.