Mar 232006
 
Authors: Kristen Majors

Between 450 and 550 students seek medical help at Hartshorn Health Service every day for ailments that range from broken bones to asthma.

HHS offers a fully certified staff as well as an insurance plan to cover the costs.

“The health center is really designed to take care of college students,” said Stephen Blom, director of HHS. “We’re designed as a model to helping students get well, but we’re also based on a teaching or wellness model.”

There are seven physicians and seven nurse practitioners currently employed at the health center, which is intended to be a primary care facility. The staff works within its licenses as far as what can legally be done to treat a student. If something is beyond the staff’s capabilities, the student will be referred to another facility.

The health center’s outpatient programs include a children’s clinic, psychiatric services, a women’s clinic, triage/urgent care and a medical clinic. Ancillary services include X-rays, lab work and pharmacy services. The specialty clinics offered by HHS are allergy and asthma, dental, optometry, dermatology, orthopedic and physical therapy.

Erika Lindgren, a sophomore human development and family studies major, said when she went into HHS for medical care, the experience was a pleasant one.

“I had a sore in my mouth,” Lindgren said. “They just took a look at it and told me what kind of treatment I needed.”

Lindgren walked in without an appointment in the morning and was able to have the sore looked at by a nurse. She then made an appointment to see a doctor for later that afternoon, so she experienced almost no wait for treatment.

“The nurses were really nice and the doctor was helpful,” she said.

Students who are taking six or more credit hours at the university are charged a $102.60 health fee per semester. That fee covers the cost of any visits to medical specialists in the health center. Students are charged for ancillary services.

Blom said HHS receives about 60 percent of its funding from the health fees. The other 40 percent comes from the ancillary charges. These services are priced below the community cost, so almost any healthcare will be less expensive at HHS than in the community.

The fee does not cover health insurance, which is available through HHS for less than $800 per semester. The plan includes a $200 prescription benefit, as well as a $1,500 miscellaneous benefit, which most other services fall under.

Stella Anderson, the insurance billing coordinator for HHS, said the insurance the health center offers is less expensive than buying insurance elsewhere.

“What you’re looking at out in the community, if you’re not insured under your parents’ plan, would be an individual plan,” Anderson said. “They are not governed by the same laws as group plans. There could be a high deductible; they will exclude a lot of things.”

About 10 percent of CSU students are insured through HHS, a drop from the 12 to 15 percent that have utilized the program in past years. Services not included in the plan are allergy and acne treatment or medications, dental care, massages, routine eye exams, orthotics, administrative fees and charges deemed not medically necessary.

Kristen Majors can be reached at campus@collegian.com.

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The health center is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday during the academic year.

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