Student Health Service special commission established

Story by Alex Zank, Chief Copy Editor

The UW-Eau Claire student senate passed a bill establishing a special commission designed to investigate the current Student Health Service program being provided to — and paid for by — Eau Claire students.

The program is one of the largest Student Senate funds, student body vice president Patrick Martin said; in fact, it is almost entirely funded through money granted by the student senate. As a result, Martin thinks this commission will ensure students are getting what they are paying for.

“(The established commission) provides a body to listen to student opinion,” Martin said.

The commission will be responsible for looking at several things, Martin said, including reviewing data about usage and peak hours, the types of services provided and even reviewing other proposals from outside parties and what they have to offer.

According to a data collection and analysis report created by SHS and given to the student senate, there were 11,690 visits for the 2011-2012 school year. Martin said the students who visit are an almost even split between on-campus and off-campus.

The top four reasons for visits last year were contraception management, depression, anxiety and sexually transmitted
infection checks.

“At this point we have to assess what each point we (Student Health Services) are doing well,” student senator Brianna Burke said. “(The commission) will look at what services are offered now, what students want and what can be given to them at an
affordable price.”

Martin said overall he is satisfied with what the service has provided so far.

“Health Services have done a fantastic job for meeting the student needs,” Martin said. “(The services) provide a basic level of care at a cost reduction.”

In voicing her support for the bill during the student senate meeting, Burke said that the SHS has been her main provider in care.

“(The services) provide things you don’t even think of,” Burke said. “Everybody there is there for one thing … students.”
One problem Burke has encountered is the lack of knowledge by the student body of the services made available to them through the program.

“The biggest thing is students don’t know where (the location) is and what they offer,” Burke said, adding that they even go as far as to provide simple surgeries.

The center is located on Upper Campus in the Crest Wellness Center building.

As the newly established commission gathers more data and feedback, it will shape what direction they take on the future of SHS, Martin said, with the end result hopefully representing the broadest array of voices and a pricing structure that continues to stress affordability.