Responding to student’s needs

Student Health Service proposed to leave, but is staying


SAVED BY THE BELL: The doors of Student Health Service, UW-Eau Claire’s on-campus infirmary, will stay open despite talk of moving to an off-campus location.

Ask Laura Chellman, director of UW-Eau Claire’s Student Health Service, how much planning she has been a part of the last four years, and she’ll reveal a bookcase shelf lined with binders. Not to mention the handful of binders are just for planning one thing.

When former Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich wanted the best healthcare for his students, the possibility of combining Student Health Service with a community health care provider came to fruition, according to Beth Hellwig, vice chancellor of student affairs.

“He felt like we needed to explore what kind of options were out there for students,” Hellwig said. “Whether it was in terms of the university partnering with an independent provider or to look at our own program.”

Levin-Stankevich has worked at other institutions where the healthcare provided to students was across the street, so he had good experiences with a healthcare partnership, Hellwig said.

Eventually, Levin-Stankevich’s idea became a proposal that needed to be looked into. Teaming together with Student Senate, the university launched the proposal that lasted four years. The proposal included looking at other venues for Student Health Service on campus, looking at partnerships and holding open forums.

The role of Student Senate throughout the process was to find ways to lower the segregated fees, which seem to be on the rise. By taking Student Health Service off campus, Hellwig said it would decrease these fees, saving students money.

Chellman said receiving the segregated fees is why the medication students receive is reasonable.

“Basically, we don’t have the overhead to worry about,” Chellman said. “Every time we order something we are shopping for the best price under the guidelines of the state. We purchase things that are reasonable.”

Both Chellman and Hellwig have noted besides finding another place off campus to serve students, maybe Student Health Service could move from its current location below Crest Wellness Center to lower campus. The problem was finding the space for this to happen.

By Sept. 5, a decision was made to keep Student Health Service in business and where it’s currently located. Chellman said there are improvements that are to be made, but nothing is set in stone or planned out too much yet. She said she’s pleased with staying on campus and happy to help.

“We feel that our mission is to help students’ success,” Chellman said. “And so we do that by providing health care, whether it’s education, or clinical services … we remove barriers to learning.”

Hellwig said despite going through multiple chancellors and multiple student body presidents, she is happy to have gone through this process and is confident with Student Health Service.

“I am just really happy that we went through the process,” Hellwig said. “I think our Student Health Service really responded by trying to find ways to meet the student needs.”