SG passes legislation to improve Health Center

The AU Student Government passed legislation Sunday that aims to promote student awareness of Student Health Center patient rights, according to SG Senator Julie Mills, a co-sponsor of the legislation.

The bill would allow students to request specific doctors when they make appointments, speak with the Health Center Director and make suggestions about Health Center practices, according to Mill. She said the Health Center has always allowed these things, but many students haven't known about them.

"The first step is letting students know what their rights are," Mills said.

The bill also says the Health Center's Web site should be changed to include a student-oriented databank.

"[The Web site] will incorporate information and links to general health and sexual health education, information about preventative measures and commonly diagnosed diseases and treatment options," said Health Center Director Dan Bruey.

In addition, the bill requests that the Health Center Web site include a list of medications provided by the Health Center and their prices, as well as biographies and credentials of the staff.

Bruey said students will also be encouraged to make suggestions directly to the Health Center. The Health Center suggestion e-mail address, shcsuggestions@american.edu, was created in December 2005 and will be linked on the Web site by the end of this month. Students will also be given the opportunity to make suggestions directly after appointments, he said.

"We have purchased a suggestion box and will be creating comment cards," Bruey said. "[It] will be located at the check-out area of the Health Center and will be in place by the end of this month."

AU students think the new legislation will make patient experiences in the Health Center more positive.

"If students have more options, that can only make the experience better," said Josh Ehrke, a junior in the Kogod School of Business.

Ehrke said he thinks posting prices for medicine on the Web site will be extremely beneficial.

"I want to go in there and know that if I have a cold I'm not going to have to pay $300 ... for some unknown medicine," he said. "It's good to have established prices, especially for someone on the AU health insurance plan. It's a vital thing to know what you're actually paying for."

Listing the prices of tests and the situations in which certain tests are needed would also be beneficial, said Audra White, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences.

"Tests are expensive, and I think you should know when you actually need to get certain tests done," she said. "Sometimes it's hard to tell."

White said she has generally been pleased with the service she's gotten at the Health Center, but knowing doctors' credentials would be helpful.

"It's good to know how much experience they have and what service you'll be getting," she said.

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