Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Student Medical Services works to keep colds away

Photo provided by Student Medical Services.

The West Texas A&M University Student Medical Center is in the Virgil Henson Activities Center, Suite 104, and is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday while school is in session. The center offers more than vaccines and health check-ups; they offer lab and x-ray services, medical equipment, women’s health services and more.

Students can also grab free cold care packs with decongestants, antihistamines, cough medication and pain relievers from the center to keep seasonal symptoms at bay as the weather turns chillier. The center also offers flu shots. Senior Director of Student Health and Wellness Dayna Schertler said that students don’t typically need to wait more than 24 hours for an appointment and that appointments usually take less than 30 minutes.

“Lots of the nursing programs, other health professions, the students will need like a TB [Tuberculosis] test or anything to start that job or start that internship, they provide them there,” Schertler said. “Again, it takes very little time to get that done as long as we know you’re coming.”

The center aims to provide the same care a typical community primary care clinic would provide. A physician, two nurse practitioners and faculty nurses from the College of Nursing and Health Sciences oversee the medical center.

“We’re one of the few regional campuses that have a university physician, so that’s Dr. James Gibbs,” Schertler said. “And he actually started the clinic 30-plus years ago, so he’s been with us a long time. He has lots of experience. He has worked in ERs all over the Texas Panhandle for years, so he’s very competent.”

Like community primary care clinics, the health center has a patient portal called HealthyBuffs.

“Out [in] the community, when you get a doctor, they use the patient portal and that is just a lot easier to request prescriptions, to see your lab results and [ask] any questions that you might have,” Schertler said. “So, we really are trying to be as close to and as similar to just a community clinic. Mostly for the purpose of when students leave here, they have an ability and the knowledge of the how to access their medical records and take care of themselves.”

According to the Student Medical Services website, the $70 health fee students pay upon enrollment covers office visits to the medical center. Tests, injections and procedures may incur additional charges, but Schertler said these charges aren’t as high as outside clinics.

“They’re nothing like what you would pay via insurance,” Schertler said. “So, we’ve made some different arrangements with lab companies and so generally, I’d say it’s $25 or less. I know we do a lot of STD testing and I think that’s around $15. It’s usually not a ton of money out of pocket.”

The medical center has a Class D pharmacy where students can access common medications. It also provides crutches, braces, breathing machines and other medical equipment that students can check out when needed.

“We’re not making any money off of our antibiotics,” Schertler said. “We’re just getting them so our students have them. A healthier student is more likely to be a student who persists and retains and graduates.”

The medical center collaborates with WT counseling services to provide a range of mental health support solutions. The health fee also covers up to eight counseling sessions per fiscal year, and counseling services advocate for students to visit the medical center to obtain medication and evaluate any underlying medical causes for mental health struggles. The medical center and counseling services are also collaborating with Texas Panhandle Centers to further this goal.

“They are helping us provide a psychiatrist, so a doctor who specializes in mental health, for seven hours a month and for students who are not insured,” Schertler said. “They can see her, and they have to go through Dr. Gibbs first. And then we also have a psychiatric nurse that they can see if they are insured. And so, we’ve tried to collaborate with some community resources in an effort to provide care that students need.”

For more information, visit the Student Medical Services website. To schedule an appointment, call 806-651-3287.

This article is sponsored by Student Health Services. To advertise with The Prairie News, please view our advertising page or email us at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Jo Early
Jo Early, Editor-in-Chief
Hello, my name is Jo Early and I am a senior digital communication & media major from Amarillo. I transferred from Amarillo College in Spring 2023 and began working as editor-in-chief in Fall 2023. I want to inform the West Texas A&M Community and spotlight student resources. In the future, I hope to work for NPR.

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