Letter to the Editor: Student Health Service

I am writing in response to an editorial in last week’s Spectator regarding our Student Health Services (SHS). I appreciate the opportunity to talk to the students about the SHS request for proposal process and the progress that we have made so far.

The SHS request for proposal (RFP) process began a little over a year ago, centered on a conversation about how we can have the best health service on-campus to address the changing needs of all Blugolds. Due to the rising cost of healthcare and the fact that students currently pay $130 per year regardless of how often they use the service, Student Senate decided to explore potential new options.

Student Health Services will always be on-campus but may not be located in Crest Wellness Center due to other facility needs. While there were two responses to the request for proposal from third party providers, there was never a conversation about eliminating a clinic on-campus. It is important for students to be able to access SHS in a convenient manner, and an on-campus clinic is a vital part of that equation.

Contraceptive services will also always be a part of our on-campus service. Your editorial listed Sacred Heart as a potential third party partner and stated that contraceptive services would not be included. While this provider did respond to a request for information, they did not respond to the RFP. Provision of contraceptive services was a requirement listed in the RFP, and all respondents complied.

Third party collaboration provides many benefits for students which are worth exploring. The first is a potential for a wider array of services. By tapping in to an entire health network, students will be able to access a continuum of care that stretches from campus to the community. Secondly, collaboration can save students from rapid increases in segregated fees. Lastly, there is a chance that a provider may be able to contribute to the creation of a new SHS facility if space is not found elsewhere.

In conclusion, I want to make it clear how important the issue of accessibility is for our students. Contraceptive services, triage appointments, and insurance compatibility are all very significant components of our health service on campus. If a third party provider is not able to meet our many needs, our Student Senate will not advocate for its inclusion on campus.

If you are interested in being a part of the Student Health and Wellness Committee, which is currently discussing these issues, please do not hesitate to contact me or stop by the Senate Office in Davies (220). My door is always open.

Bryan Larson, student body president