University Health Services announces changes to health care processes
Observer Staff Report | Wednesday, August 16, 2017
In an email sent to community members early Wednesday morning, director of Notre Dame’s University Health Services (UHS) Sharon McMullen announced improvements to student health care on campus beginning this year.
According to the email, these changes include increased access to health care providers, implementation of the urgent care model and increased hours for both Saint Liam Hall and the Walgreens pharmacy located inside the health center. McMullen said in the email that these changes are a result of “student surveys, large and small group discussions, and one-on-one conversations” with students.
In addition to extended daytime hours available for UHS appointments, students will also be able to utilize the UHS after-hours phone line “to improve students’ access to advice after hours,” the email said.
“When students call the after-hours line, they can speak with a nurse who will help them to assess the situation and offer advice about what to do next,” McMullen said in the email. “Often, with advice, the problem can be handled at home during the overnight hours and the patient can wait until the next morning to be seen by a UHS provider. If the problem cannot wait, the after-hours nurse can arrange for student transport to an Urgent Care Center or hospital.”
With the implementation of the Urgent Care model — which will eliminate the previous $5 walk-in fee — UHS will be able to “more efficiently care for patients with time-sensitive needs who present without an appointment,” according to McMullen’s email.
“Please note that you are still encouraged to make an appointment to be seen by a provider,” she said in the email. “Without an appointment, students with needs that are not time-sensitive will be seen after those with more pressing needs. If you do not have an appointment and present with less time-sensitive needs, you can work with the triage nurse and our receptionist to schedule an appointment for another day/time.”
UHS will also implement a Clinical Case Management program to provide greater care to students with chronic conditions and shorter-term conditions that require monitoring, McMullen said in the email.
“Our Clinical Case Manager will work with both campus partners and patients’ health care providers to facilitate comprehensive health care and help students achieve independence so they can continue to meet their academic goals,” she said.
According to the email, the changes additionally address students’ mental health requirements, as UHS has hired a “permanent psychiatry services provider for 8 hours each week to meet the needs of students who require psychotropic medications but are not in therapy at the University Counseling Center.”