Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do if there's an emergency and the Health Center is closed?

If I suspect another student has alcohol poisoning, whom should I contact?

What are the costs of different services that the Health Center provides?

What does student health insurance cover?

If the student cannot pay for testing (HIV, pregnancy, etc.) can the Health Center help in any way?

Are all records, visits, and medical information kept confidential? Can families request them without the student's permission?

What is the Health Center policy on responding to phone calls from parents about a student?

If I'm seen at the Health Center and need a prescription medication, how do I get it?

If I charge something at the Health Center will my parents know?

Can I have prescriptions filled by an outside pharmacy delivered to the Health Center?

If a student is referred from the Health Center to the hospital emergency room for evaluation how are they transported there?

What is "the flu"?

When are flu shots available?

What is the average wait time at the Health Center?

Is it possible to come to the Health Center just to get information on health issues?

Is it recommended that students use the Health Center for their gyn care?  Should they come in only if they are sexually active?

Do I have to have a pelvic exam in order to receive gyn care?

Can students get emergency contraception (the "morning after pill") at the Health Center?  How much does it cost?

Can hormonal contraception be given to people with depression? 

Is it OK for people with migraine headaches to take birth control pills?

I have to have blood drawn.  When can I have that done?

How will I find out about my lab test results?

I was seen at the Health Center, I did what I was told, but now I feel even worse (or no better)! What should I do?

 

What can I do if there's an emergency and the health center is closed?

In a medical emergency, call Public Safety (X7911).

In a counseling emergency call ProtoCall, the on-call counseling service, at 610-526-7778.

If I suspect another student has alcohol poisoning, whom should I contact?

If a person is unable to care for herself, someone must stay with her. 

If that person is unresponsive, requires substantial assistance to walk and/or cannot hold herself upright, call Public Safety (X7911) and tell them there is an emergency situation.

If it is apparent an ambulance is needed, let them know.  Public Safety is best able to contact emergency services to direct them to the correct location.

What are the costs of different services that the Health Center provides?

Our fee schedule is on our “Services” page.  All Physician, Nurse and Nurse Practitioner evaluations for a problem or question are free of charge to all undergraduate students and to graduate students who have the college insurance.  There is no charge for up to 6 counseling visits for undergraduates.

Health Center Fees

What does student health insurance cover?

Each student should have received a brochure which describes the services covered by the student health insurance.  It is a “secondary” insurance, which means the student must first file the charges with their primary (usually their parents’) insurance.  If that claim is denied, or there are some charges not covered (e.g. co-pays and deductibles), a claim can be filed with the student insurance. 

BMC health insurance information

If the student cannot pay for testing (HIV, pregnancy, etc), can the Health Center help in any way?

We encourage students to come see us and we will work with them to overcome financial barriers to care.

COST SHOULD NEVER BE A BARRIER FOR A STUDENT SEEKING NEEDED CARE AT THE HEALTH CENTER. 

 Are all records, visits, and medical information kept confidential? Can families request them without a student’s permission?

Medical and counseling records are completely confidential.  We cannot release any information to family members, a dean, or other college officials without a student’s permission.  The only time we can break that confidentiality is if you threaten harm to yourself or others or in a life-threatening situation.  We can also release information to other treating professionals . 

What is the Health Center policy on responding to phone calls from parents about a student?

For both legal and ethical reasons Health Center providers cannot share any information with a parent, dean, friend, etc without the student's permission.  Generally a parent is asked to contact their child and ask them to call the Health Center if they would like to give us permission to talk to their parent.  Occasionally the Health Center provider will try to contact the student and ask if they want us to share information with her parent. 

We do tell parents they are welcome to share any concerns they have with us.

If a student is in an imminent life threatening situation, however, or if the student is physically unable to give permission (e.g. unconscious) it may be necessary to talk to the parent without permission.  In such a case every effort is made to have the student be part of that conversation.

If I'm seen at the Health Center and need a prescription medication, how do I get it?

The Health Center has many common medications on site.  They can be dispensed by the nurses at the time of your visit.

If the medication needs to be obtained from an outside pharmacy, the student may be given a prescription or the prescription may be called in to an outside pharmacy.  Monday through Friday from 9 am-4 pm the nurse can work with the student to help them understand how to utilize their prescription plan.  If their insurance is accepted by Merrick's Apothecary, it can be delivered to the Health Center for pick up by the student, usually the same day.

If I charge something at the Health Center, will my parents know?

Charges from the Health Center will appear on a student’s tuition bill as a “Health Center charge”, but will not include information about the specific medication, test or other service which was provided.

Can I have prescriptions that are filled by an outside pharmacy delivered to the Health Center?

Merrick's Apothecary serves as our Pharmacist Consultant and they make deliveries to the Health Center at least once a day.  If you get your prescriptions filled at another pharmacy it is up to the pharmacy and you to make arrangements to deliver them to us.  If they won’t deliver, you need to make arrangements to pick the prescriptions up.

If a student is referred from the Health Center to the hospital emergency room for evaluation how are they transported there?

Campus Safety is called to transport the student unless they have their own transportation or their condition requires an ambulance. 

What is "the flu"?

While people often refer to a variety of viral illnesses as "the flu", the medical term "flu" (or influenza) refers to a specific illness which is seasonal in nature and generally occurs in this area between December and March.  Classically it is sudden in onset, almost always results in a cough, fever and body aches, and can have other symptoms such as sore throat, stuffy head, nausea and vomiting.  The flu shot protects you from this specific illness.

The Health Center will send out a community email when flu is first diagnosed on campus with reminders of what to do if you develop symptoms.  Follow these tips to increase your chances of staying healthy when flu is in the community.

When are flu shots available?

Assuming it is a “normal” flu season, flu shots will be available in early November.  A campus wide email will be sent to announce the date.

What is the average wait time at the Health Center?

Wait times are highly variable, depending on whom you are scheduled to see, how busy the providers are, and the severity of illness for you and of others waiting to be seen. 

If you have an appointment in Gyn or Counseling, you will generally be seen very close to your appointed time unless there is an urgent situation which takes priority. 

For appointments in the medical clinic, it is not uncommon to wait up to 15 minutes since there is tremendous variability in the amount of time needed to evaluate and treat a patient.   If it is a busy day, an emergent situation occurs, or there is a patient with a serious or complicated problem, the wait can be longer.   If a student is waiting 30 minutes or more for an appointment, and the cause for the delay is not apparent, it is very appropriate to ask when you will be seen.  It is also appropriate to ask if the provider is running on time when the nurse first sees you.

If you “walk-in” for a non emergent problem, you may be seen quickly, or you may have to wait depending on how many people are waiting to be seen.

Is it possible to come to the Health Center just to get information on health issues?

Health Education and empowering the student to be actively involved in their medical care is an important part of our mission.  If students need information about a medical issue, probably the first place to start would be with the nurse.  If necessary, the nurse can refer the student to other appropriate providers for more information.

Is it recommended that students use the Health Center for their gyn care? Should they come in only when they are sexually active?

Our Gyn Nurse Practitioners are extremely knowledgeable about the gyn issues and questions college-age women have.  You do not need to be sexually active to see them.  If you are contemplating becoming sexually active, have questions about your body, your menstrual cycle, birth control, sexually transmitted disease or pregnancy risks, etc., we encourage you to make an appointment.  Our Gyn Nurse Practitioners are especially helpful with first pelvic exams.

Do I have to have a pelvic exam in order to receive gyn care?

Anyone can make a gyn visit for any reason, even just to talk.  The recommendations for gyn exams have changed and you can discuss that with the nurse practitioner when you meet with her. 

Can students get emergency contraception (the "morning after pill") from the Health Center and how much does it cost?

Yes, Emergency Contraception is available through the Health Center.  Please check our fee schedule (on the “Services” page) for the cost.  It is generally less expensive than drug stores.

Can hormonal contraception be given to people with depression?

Depression is considered a condition in which it is safe to use any form of hormonal contraception.

Is it OK for people with migraine headaches to take birth control pills?

It depends.  When a student with migraine headaches wants to start birth control pills, they will be asked for more information about their headaches.  For those who have an "aura" (i.e. a neurologic symptom that precedes the headache), a deeper discussion will take place about the risks of contraceptive use.  While there is a very small risk of blood clots or stroke in all people who use birth control pills, studies indicate that risk may be greater in people with migraines with aura.

I have to have blood drawn.  When can I have that done?

A nurse is available to draw blood at the following times:

Monday 9-4:00

Tuesday 12:30-4:00

Wednesday 10:30-4:00

Friday 9-4:00

 

How will I find out about my lab test results?

A provider from the Health Center may notify you of your lab results via secure message.  If that happens, you will receive an email directing you to Online Student Health.  The sender will be noreply and the subject line will be:  Online Student Health:  New Message.  In Online Student Health, you will enter your college username and password in order to view your results securely.

If you have not received a message from the Health Center about your lab test results within a week, you can call the Health Center to request that information.

I was seen at the Health Center, I did what I was told, but now I feel even worse (or no better)! What should I do?

Return to the Health Center!

Ideally each patient should be told at the end of the visit that if they feel worse or there is no improvement in a reasonable period of time, to return or call.

The practice of medicine is a combination of science and art.  We use the “history” of the illness which the patient tells us and the physical exam of the patient to develop a “differential diagnosis” – which is a list of possible illnesses the patient could have.  Most of the time we use this information along with the knowledge of what is most likely to occur to make a working diagnosis and create a treatment plan.  The “course” of the illness is another important diagnosis tool.  If, for instance, it appears an individual has a “cold”, then symptoms should abate after a few days.  If the symptoms don’t improve or additional symptoms occur it may suggest allergies or complications such as sinusitis, ear infection, mono or bronchitis.  Could these illnesses have been diagnosed on the first visit? Sometimes expensive, inconvenient, and /or uncomfortable testing may have given an indication, but not always.  Many times the course of the illness indicates the diagnosis more quickly than testing would anyway.  It may also be that a new problem developed after you left the Health Center, e.g. when a viral illness (like a cold) sets up a great environment for bacteria to grow leading to the development of sinusitis or bronchitis which then needs antibiotics.