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The Student Health Center should provide affordable care

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Health and wellbeing are necessary for human life and are, in fact, a basic human right. Texas State’s Student Health Center ought to contribute to the wellbeing of its student body by promoting affordable services, presenting as a source of health education and creating an awareness of the health issues that impair student life.

The Student Health Center should do more to promote student health by offering free health check-ups on a yearly basis. Student tuition is costly and a health check-up free of charge should be included in the medical service fee. The Student Health Center is necessary for student success, so Texas State should promote the wellbeing of its entire student body, regardless of income or insurance.

The mission of the Student Health Center is to provide quality health care that is accessible, affordable and meets its public health mission. Students are constantly confronting life’s challenges, and the Student Health Center must be able to continuously accommodate students’ needs in response to unforeseen or urgent circumstances.

According to the Student Health Center, the three main reasons students go to the Student Health Center are cold, flu or sore throat symptoms, mental health screening and diagnosis, and sexual healthcare such as STI screenings and contraception. These are important reasons to be at the Student Health Center, especially because mental health cases have been on the rise in the last 5 to 10 years.

Of the total 32,471 patient visits to the Student Health Center in 2017, 1,742 were related to psychiatry. Mental health is a problem that affects student life and academic performance, making this an issue that should have easily accessible resources.

In 2017 the Student Health Center offered its services to 32,471 patients, and 16,320 students participated in health promotion services. It appears student satisfaction with the Student Health Center is high and students are pleased with the care, especially in relation to respect, courtesy and accessibility in services.

The Student Health Center currently funds 55 percent of its operations from the $53 medical service fee paid through student tuition; however, this fee only concerns students taking physical classes on campus and not online classes.

Though the Student Health Center does not require insurance in order to see patients, there is a fee for an office visit. According to the Student Health Center’s “Get Healthy. Stay healthy. Live well” campaign flyer, the Student Health Center offers a paid-in-cash discount that charges students with no insurance a $30 fee for an office visit and a $25 fee for a flu shot. Students are not turned away when in urgent medical need because of inability to pay.

According to the “Get Healthy. Stay healthy. Live well” campaign flyer, in cases of financial hardship, the Student Health Center offers students different options to pay the fees off. The Student Health Center and a Student Assistance Program is available. At the moment, a payment plan for insurance can be transferred to Student Business Services. A hold may be placed on the student’s account, and they can gradually pay it off.

Students need to be educated about health, and involving students in the mission of the Student Health Center contributes to the goal of making health care more affordable. The Student Health Center needs to do more to promote student involvement. There are currently only two peer education programs through the Student Health Center: Men Against Violence and Healthy Cats. There is a Student Health Center advisory committee with fourteen students, two of which are selected by the President of Student Government.

These organizations assist in making important decisions about insurance, funding, strategic planning, and operational business-type decisions. Students should be more involved in decision-making concerning their health, and the Student Health Center should stand at the forefront of this process of empowerment.

Health care is not free. However, it can be oriented towards a philosophy that promotes the wellbeing of persons first, and that seeks to render student life more affordable, tolerable, and convenient. The promotion of affordable health care should be a priority of that effort towards living a greater quality of life.

– Patrick Tchakounte is a biochemistry junior

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