In addition to the new Student Life building’s bowling alleys, fitness centers and office spaces, Student Health Services will also be given more space and with it, the opportunity for expansion.
Student Health Services plans to add another medical patient room and regular nurse, giving the clinic five rooms and three rotating nurses but hopes to convert all their current office spaces into patient rooms.
“A drop [in enrollment] is a perfect time to catch up”, said Bill Erb, Director of Student Health Services.
Nonetheless, only time will tell if their expansion in resources will expand their availability or eligibility policy for services.
Currently, Student Health Services provides care to currently enrolled students as well as faculty and staff, but not to dependents or those not currently enrolled or employed. As noted on their website, services to faculty and staff are “limited” always taking care that students who are taking at least six credits are served first.
“[In an emergency situation], I don’t think any medical center should turn anyone away, but can we serve everybody? No,” said Erb.
According to JC Graham, suicide prevention and awareness program coordinator, if a student was not currently enrolled but still required services, their claim would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis by Erb.
Erb spoke much about the responsibility he has to Student Government and the students whose fees support Student Health Services.
Because student health services uses student fees to keep their co-pays as low as possible, insurance for medical health services is not required, according to the Health Services website.
However, as with many aspects of student health services, procedure points to serving students on a case-by-case basis. International students, for example, must document their current insurance provider before being admitted as a student.
International students are therefore, “encouraged” to have medical insurance that allows them to be covered in the United States in case Student Health Services need to refer them to heath care in the community.
In regards to mental health, Graham stated that Student Services is equipped with emergency suicide intervention to help students immediately, regardless of enrollment status.
“We [on the mental health staff] each rotate who takes home a cell phone, which can be called at any point in case of a suicide crisis,” Graham said. “During a crisis, students can reach the on-call UVU therapist by phone after hours by calling campus police at (801) 863-5555 and the police dispatch can make the connection.”
Although flexibility is emphasized, the current strain of being short-staffed can also make for haphazard availability. Although their website states their medical hours as 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Tuesday and Friday, hours are subject to change depending on staff availability.
In their state of transition, Student Heath Services hopes to eliminate the dreaded three-week-long wait for mental health appointments. However, Mental Health Service, which is funded by the state instead of student fees, is predicted to improve at a much slower rate.
“We are thousands of dollars away from a 24-hour turnaround mental health assistance to students,” Erb said.