Starting Jan. 1 the student health and counseling center will no longer service students physical health needs. All students will have the option to receive care from Baldwin Family Medicine Clinic and Lawrence Memorial Hospital. Students with insurance will pay their copay to receive care, and students without or who are unable to pay can apply for financial assistance.
Dean of Students Cassy Bailey was a part of the transition process. Bailey said the university started the process by looking at how they could best optimize student resources. The ultimate goal is to provide Baker students with the best care within the university’s capabilities.
Traditionally Baker has had a nurse practitioner for students to visit for their basic healthcare needs or to seek a referral to a specialist. It is currently appointment based, and will be until Jan 1.
The health center switched from a walk-in system to by appointment only last year. Bailey says through research they identified the three main reasons students were using the current health center: flu shots, student athletes who need physicals or have a athletic injury and students suffering from general illness.
The university will continue to do flu-shot clinics, and student athletes can receive treatment from the sports medicine department in Mabee Hall and through a system similar to the one for the general student population with Baldwin Family Medicine at OrthoKansas for more specific needs.
During their research the university quickly realized that there were two dichotomous reasons for students to visit the nurse practitioner: students who truly had a serious illness and students who just weren’t sure what to do while suffering from the common cold.
“Students who needed that bridge between mom and doctor,” Bailey said.
In order to provide better care for those students who are suffering from something more serious, the university hopes the new system through LMH Health will be able to meet those needs.
“[LMH Health has] a variety of health care providers; many more resources for labs, x-rays, blood work, et cetera; they will be able to prescribe psychotropic medications,” Director of Health and Counseling Services Tim Hodges said.
Hodges says they will miss having Jody Mitchell, the current nurse practitioner down the hall in the center; however, he feels the change is a benefit to students. The current counseling and mental health services will continue on the corner of 6th and Grove streets, and Hodges says there will not be any changes similar to the ones to physical health side.
“Baker only has to pay my salary and yet have the services of three other providers besides myself since the counseling center is a preferred training site for graduate schools of counseling in the area,” Hodges said.
Bailey says she is excited but also worries about students that do not have the resources for care.
“I think in many ways [the changes] are positive; I am nervous for our students who might not have financial ability or insurance,” Bailey said.
She is also worried about those students that still need the bridge from “mom to doctor” and do not know where to go. Bailey hopes there will still be a way to provide students with throat lozenges and over the counter medication.
Condoms will still be provided for students in the student health and counseling center by the door.
Until Jan. 1, the Student Health Center will still operate as it has for the past year. Students can make appointments by calling 785.594.8409 for the health center and 785.594.8365.
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