Student Health Center relocates, expands services

After nearly half a century of treating and taking care of students in the same facility, the Sam Houston State University Student Health Center has relocated to a brand new building which opened Aug. 25.

With a growing student population, reaching close to 20,000, nearly every aspect of campus is in the process of expansion. According to Sarah Hanel, director of Health Services, relocating the Student Health Center was inevitable in keeping up with campus progress.

“It was time,” Hanel said. “Our previous building was about 47 years old. We ran out of space to house more providers and nursing staff which limited ways to expand our services.”

Services offered in the new building include an allergy injection clinic, medical clinic, nursing clinic, traveling health and preventative clinic, and a women’s health clinic. In addition the center also conducts laboratory services, pharmacy services and dental services.

Regardless of the expansion of services, the new Student Health Center still does not treat students during a medical emergency, women that are pregnant for any medical reason, or offer any type of prenatal care.

“We have seen students with illnesses ranging from a sprained ankle to cancer seek our help,” Hanel said. “Most students are away from their families for the first time and need guidance in self-care and accessing the healthcare system. It is our job to help them learn these steps and get them well.”

In addition to services already offered by the department, the new building also hosts the student counseling center which was previously located in a separate building.

As far as insurance is concerned, for students who have purchased the university-offered insurance, the Academic Health Plan, all services are billed by the clinic. Although other forms of insurance are not accepted by the Student Health Center, students who carry insurance can file a claim with their itemized receipt and get reimbursed.

Conversely, the dental clinic accepts all insurance carriers and will file a claim for the client, according to Hanel.

“Most of the health center’s charges are extremely minimal in cost and typically cost less than a copay,” she said.

In an effort to avoid waiting, Hanel said that being proactive and making appointments at the first sign of illness is vital advice for students.

“Our clinic is extremely busy throughout the year, so there can be a potential wait time to be seen,” Hanel said.  “If a student begins to feel sick, I would recommend making an appointment at the beginning of symptom onset instead of waiting until they feel worse.”

Although the health center’s main concern is maintaining and achieving health for the students at SHSU, their motivation, is education.

“Typically, students don’t think of us until they are feeling unwell,” Hanel said. “Our mission is to provide health services and education to students in a timely manner to help minimize disruptions to their academic pursuits. We support students that need to get through their illnesses or medical event so they can get back into class and their daily routine.”

Students can make a medical appointment by calling 936-294-1805, a dental appointment by calling 936-207-8472 or contact the health promotion and education department by calling 936-294-4347.

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