A Sanford-sponsored campus clinic, now up and running for the convenience of all Augustana students, has rejuvenated the old medical facility located in the lower level of Solberg Residence Hall.
According to assistant dean of students Beth Torkelson, the Sanford Health Campus Clinic was added because of both Augustana’s growing relationship with Sanford hospital and a desire to provide more health services for students.
The clinic, launched earlier this semester, offers expanded on-campus services such as testing for strep throat and influenza, immunizations, physical exams, consultations and access to a certified nurse practitioner six days a week.
“The addition of this clinic makes it easier for students to get the health care they need right here on campus,” Torkelson said. “It will cut down on transportation issues and make it significantly easier for students to get medical services.”
Augustana has had a relationship with Sanford hospital for more than 20 years, Torkelson said, which has allowed students to receive medical care from the clinic located in the lower level of Solberg.
According to dean of students Jim Bies, only basic triage services, such as examinations by a registered nurse and first aid care, were provided to students at this campus clinic. In the absence of a certified nurse practitioner, referrals were frequently made for students to visit a doctor at the Sanford Clinic–Family Medicine located on Minnesota Avenue, resulting in many students having to travel off campus to receive treatment.
The implementation of the Affordable Care Act played a significant role in the clinic’s policy shifts.
“With the changing healthcare law, a lot of services could no longer be provided here on campus due to new regulations,” Torkelson said. “Through the addition of an advanced service care provider, students now have access to an increased variety of services.”
“The Affordable Care Act is changing how health care is provided nationwide, including college and university campus health centers,” Bies said. “Most importantly, [the Affordable Care Act] will significantly reduce the number of uninsured students, and this means that they will more than likely pursue services sooner as opposed to delaying or even ignoring situations that should require a visit to see a nurse or a physician.”
The ease of student appointments is one of the main benefits provided by the Affordable Care Act.
“Previously, students had to show proof of insurance every time they wanted to receive medical care,” Torkelson said. “Now, students won’t necessarily have to show proof of insurance because most will still be covered by their parents under the Affordable Care Act.”
The act allows students to be covered through their parents’ health care insurance until the age of 26. Bies said that in the past, medical expenses were placed on the student’s account in the business office.
“At times, these charges, if not paid during the current academic term, could potentially place a hold on the student’s ability to register for classes,” Bies said.
Sanford employees, including two rotating registered nurses and one certified nurse practitioner, Rebecca Moen, staff the clinic. Moen said the new Sanford Health Campus Clinic operates more like a traditional clinic. Students will schedule an appointment and may have to wait 10 to 20 minutes longer for medical care due to more in-depth checkups and medical consultations.
“We are very happy to see students come in,” she said. “We have many more services available, and if we can handle your medical needs here at Augustana we will. If not, we can refer you to a specialist.”
Torkelson said students should bring their insurance cards and know that appointments may be 10 to 15 minutes longer than they were previously.
“Plan accordingly,” she said. “This is not going to be a five-minute visit, but a lot like going to a normal clinic.”
The Sanford Health Campus Clinic receives funds through student activity fees and is open solely to Augustana students.
“Students are our first priority,” Torkelson said. “Faculty and staff of Augustana could receive services in the future, but for now the clinic is open only to students.”
Students are excited about the addition of the Sanford Health Campus Clinic to Augustana’s campus.
“It was really helpful because it was right on campus, and I could get in contact with the medical staff before I got really sick,” freshman Alyssa Klimisch said. “I was able to get medicine really fast, and the new clinic is very convenient.”
The Sanford Health Campus Clinic is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Moen will be available Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Outside of those hours, students will still be able to receive care through Augustana’s Sanford affiliate, the Sanford Clinic–Family Medicine located at 6110 S. Minnesota Ave.
Students will need to present their health insurance card at the off-campus clinic, as student fees will not cover these services. Those with an appointment at the off-campus clinic may request a transportation voucher free of charge by contacting the Sanford Health Campus Clinic by phone (605-274-5552) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Torkelson hopes students will use the campus clinic services to “keep themselves healthy. You don’t need anything extra to use it,” she said. “Our services are easy and convenient, designed for all Augie students to receive the best medical care possible while on campus.”