By Rachel Gobep
A new proposed Student Health Center fee of $34 per semester will be on the Student Government Association election ballot on April 3 and 4. If approved, the center is scheduled to open in the fall 2018 semester.
The Student Health Center fee, if supported, will generate revenue to help outsource the current Mercy Health Student Health Center. It will become a Mercy Health Primary Care Center, which will provide basic health care to primarily students, but also YSU faculty, staff and the community.
Students will not pay an out-of-pocket co-pay for the services provided by the health center and are covered by the fee.
The center will have expanded hours of operation and offer services during breaks and some weekends. The services can also be used during the summer months by students enrolled in summer courses.
The current student health center will be relocated and expanded to a 5,000 square-foot building if the fee is approved. It will also include a pharmacy. The center will be located adjacent to the new Enclave student-housing complex being developed by LRC Realty.
The $34 fee will be included on the tuition and fees bill, which is distributed to students electronically every semester.
Rayann Atway, president of the Student Government Association, said students will be getting their money’s worth out of the health fee if they use the center just one time.
“Especially for the students who don’t live in the area and don’t have the opportunity to drive back home to see their family doctor. This is critical for those students,” she said.
Atway said she also sees a benefit for international students that may have trouble finding transportation to a doctor.
The new center would be staffed by a full-time primary care physician and can develop continuity of care, address acute issues, provide walk-in care for non-scheduled visits, manage preventative care and draw labs on site, according to the YSU Health Center Fee website.
There will also be access to psychiatric services, which will be available for two half-days per week and will supplement the mental health, behavioral health and addiction treatment offered by Student Counseling Services, the website states.
Nicole Kent-Strollo, director of student outreach and support, said having access to a psychiatrist on campus is critical.
“There are many students on campus that it’s pretty evident that … medication would be beneficial [for them,” she said.
Although she does not prescribe medication, Kent-Strollo said she can recognize when a student may need medication due to her background.
Kent-Strollo said this resource would be helpful for the university.
Kent-Strollo said if YSU students do not vote yes for this fee, it will be difficult for them to get access to care.
She said students that need to go to their psychiatric appointments are currently taking Ubers, buses or having other students drive them.
Eddie Howard, vice president of student affairs, said it sometimes takes students three to six months to get an appointment with a psychiatrist. He said although psychiatry is not a main portion of the health fee, it was vital to be added to the fee.
Howard said he thinks it is important for students to vote yes for the fee because the expanded services that will be available to students will be beyond what they have been receiving in the past.
“This is where we need to go,” he said. “We have a lot of demands on the current Student Health Center that we have in some ways not been able to meet to our satisfaction.”
According to Howard, YSU is the only university in the state of Ohio that does not require a student health fee or mandatory insurance.
For example, Kent State University students pay a $65 health fee per semester, while students at the University of Cincinnati must have insurance.
The current Mercy Health Student Health Center can be used by all students with a valid YSU ID. Students can schedule an appointment with a family nurse practitioner or physician.
Licensed physicians are available by appointment only during the academic year and the center does not offer walk-in appointments.
It is a limited service facility and may refer a student to an immediate care facility, a family physician or an Emergency Center for medical care.
The center is currently open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the academic year with registered nurses. The hours vary during the summer and break weeks.
For the Student Health Center to be considered, 10 to 15 percent of the YSU student population must vote in the SGA election. Atway said she encourages students to “get to the polls.”
If there are any additional questions, refer to the YSU Health Center Fee vote4health website at: