On Monday, Jan. 28, the Board of Trustees at Jacksonville State University passed a resolution that will outsource student healthcare to Regional Medical Center beginning in the fall semester of 2013.
Services will include things at JSU’s on-campus site, an off-campus office accessible via the Gamecock Express, and at RMC Jacksonville.
Services will also include familymedicine, internal medicine, psychiatry, primary care, urgent care, women’s health, men’s health, mental health screenings, laboratory testing, radiology services, rehabilitation services, physicals, immunizations, medication management, check-ups, and health fairs. There are also opportunities for education in infection control, safe sex practices, and campus safety, as well as nutritional and faith-based counseling, and wellness clubs.
It is not known at this time how the extended health services will affect students’ pocketbooks, as the Board is not set to decide on that matter until their April meeting. One possibility is that each student will be charged a health fee each semester, and another possibility is an increase in tuition.
While many students seem to agree that the decision is good for students without insurance, they are concerned about how it will affect them.
"Like myself, there are tons of people that have never used the school's healthcare services," says Junior Alex Lang. "If anything, they need to find a way so that if you want to use the services, you can pay for it. All students shouldn't be charged."
Junior Curtis Holman says, "I feel that this proposal is going to help the students who don't have any health insurance. But for the ones who do have health insurance, it's not really going to matter. It will just be an extra charge on us."
"I think it's irrelevant for students that are on their parent's insurance," says History major Nicole Easterwood. "I think it's completely moronic to charge everyone the health fee when most won't use it. If JSU would offer affordable health insurance to students who need it, [...] things would be better and students who need to see a doctor can without the fear of incurring even more debt than they already have with student loans."
Students are hoping that extended hours at the center will mean that they will have access to doctors when they need them. "I unfortunately have no personal insurance, and being a non-traditional student, am too old to be on my parents' insurance," says Art student Jeremy Bagwell. "I wouldn't mind paying a little extra on my tuition for affordable health insurance and be able to see any doctor, any day that I choose. But if I have to start paying to see the on-campus doctor, I better be able to see the doctor any day, any time and not pay the same as I would to see a doctor off-campus."
Another Art major, Ashlee Jones, echoes the sentiment. "Every time I have ever tried to contact the Student Health Center, no one would answer the phone or return my calls, so they felt ineffective and useless. Hopefully this decision will improve the Health Center for the better."
The on-campus facility will be open Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Friday from 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. during the school year. Summer hours will be 9:00 a.m-2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The off-campus location is at the office of Dr. Wyndol Hamer, which is on Pelham Road, across the street from the Jacksonville RMC hospital. Care will be available there from 7:30 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. on Saturday, and 12:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. on Sunday.
The emergency room at RMC Jacksonville is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.