Student Health Center problems need to be addressed
During my freshman year at AU, I contracted a virus that required me to seek medical help. I thought going to the Student Health Center was a reasonable idea. After waiting two days for the first available time slot, I then waited another hour and 24 minutes past my appointment time, watching other students who arrived after me get seen before me. I was also blindsided by the high price tag and the inability to use my insurance card at all, instead having to use EagleBucks.
Since then I have only been back to the Student Health Center once. This time the wait was only 40 minutes.
My experiences are only the tip of the iceberg. I have friends who have been unable able to schedule an appointment because the online system was down. Others were incapable of entering the building during business hours because the door was bizarrely locked. Some were dramatically overcharged for prescription drugs. This is why, if you ask most upperclassmen at AU, they will tell you to go to the CVS Minute Clinic before you go to the Student Health Center.
To me, the issues with the Student Health Center boils down to three things: logistical woes, the size of the health center and the lack of a proactive campus-wide health strategy. The good news: each of these problems have possible solutions.
First, AU needs to expand their health center. It has become abundantly clear to me that the first floor of McCabe Hall has become too small to serve the health needs of this University. With the additions to Nebraska Hall and Cassell Hall as well as the planned East Campus, it is clear that more students will be relying on these health services. AU can either build a new health center (hopefully one in a more central location) or they can renovate the existing building. It is my hope that they incorporate a new health center into the plans for the East Campus. Imagine how overwhelmed the current health center will be when even more students are housed on campus.
Second, the University needs to address the obvious logistical woes at the Student Health Center. Like most services at AU, the health center is plagued by long waits and poor customer service. There is little financial transparency or fairness when it comes to scheduling appointments. It needs to change the way they organize appointments so that patients are seen within 15 minutes of their appointment.
Finally, AU needs to develop a proactive, campus-wide health policy. At a minimum there should be increased access to hand sanitizer on campus to cut down on common colds and illnesses and widespread placement of condoms in dorms.
AU needs to begin caring more about their students’ health and hopefully start with these three proposals.
Glenn Holmes is a junior in the School of Public Affairs