Small Fee Adds Up to Valuable Services

Sose Frankyan

Nestled inside the San Rafael building behind the coffee kiosk, the Health Center offers counseling for students who might be depressed and need someone to talk to, among other services.

Students are required to pay a student health services fee of $15 per semester in addition to the $12.50 student services fee and $20 per unit enrollment fee.
Most students wonder why they have to pay the health fee since they think they will never get sick enough to use the services the health center offers.

“I know I pay $15 for health fee each semester at the time of registration, but I don’t know what the fee covers and what I can get out of it,” said student Annie Kirakosyan. This is mainly due to the fact that most students are not aware of the current services offered.

The Health Center, which has been around since the 1940s, is located on the first floor of the San Rafael building. It is open to assist students Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Some of the services it provides are: first aid, blood pressure checks, crisis counseling, immunizations, tuberculosis skin testing, vision and hearing screenings, rape referrals, pregnancy tests, and various over-the counter medications such as aspirin, cough drops, antihistamines, ibuprofen, nasal decongestant and heart burn medications, as well as band-aids.

“I will definitely consider using the services offered if I am in need since I paid for it,” said Kirakosyan.

“Our mission statement is simple,” said Mary Mirch, a registered nurse and the associate dean who has been with the health services for 12 years now. “We promote personal and educational success by assisting students to develop skills and behaviors that allow them to become self-directed health care decision makers,” Mirch said.

The registered nurses from the health center respond to approximately 20 emergency calls each semester, providing aid to students who faint or have a serious medical emergency. The campus is covered by student accident insurance.

When a student gets hurt on campus and does not have health insurance, the health center helps them with the bill payments, or if their insurance does not cover all the costs, through the secondary policy. The health center covers the difference.
The services are open to all credit students.

“We assist non-credit students only in case of an emergency since they are excluded from the health services fee and each credit student is covered by the health services from the first day of each semester to the final day of the semester,” said Mirch.

Each year, about 18,000 students visit the health center. This is a number that include students who visit multiple times.

“When a student walks into the Health Center, the clerk or the receptionist will take care of the necessary paperwork that is needed to be filled out,” said Jessica LoGuercio, the administrative assistant who has been working at the health center for 11 years.

Before any treatment can be provided a medical consent form needs to be filled out by the student. This gives permission to the center to provide care. If a student is over the age of 18 then he or she may give the consent, but if the student is a minor then consent has to be given by a parent or a legal guardian.

All health services are confidential, with legal exceptions such as domestic violence cases, sexual assault cases, and elder and child abuse cases, all of which have to be reported to the county health department. The students’ medical records are kept for 10 years from the last visit made to the Health Center ,after which they are shredded.

“I see over 20 students a day who come in the health center for various reasons such as for T.B. testing, immunizations for study abroad programs, or they simply want to ask the registered nurse a question,” said LoGuercio.

Currently, the health center offers free health evaluations administered by dietetic interns where one can learn about basic nutrition, healthy weight loss and maintenance, diet facts and fads. This service is offered to both students and staff, by appointment only.

“I would like the students to think if they do not know where else to go and who to turn to they should at least try us, to come in and see how we can help them and if we cannot help them then we will refer them to someone who can,” said Mirch.