Southern Health Center cost compares favorably with other institutions

For $15, Missouri Southern students are able to utilize the Student Health Center in Kuhn Hall. And in comparison to other colleges and universities, that’s a bargain.

The center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visits to see the nurse or doctor are free, however there are minimal costs for blood tests, laboratory work, breathing treatments and immunizations.

For Missouri Western University students, there is no health center registration fee, but each visit is $25. Southwest Missouri State University charges students taking seven or more credit hours $52 per visit. In comparison to other Missouri universities, Jan Dipley, director of health services, said Southern offers a great deal.

“We are busy most of the time,” Dipley said.

Pam Hosp, the student health center secretary, has served Southern for more than a year. She schedules appointments and keeps students’ confidential records. Appointments are scarce but walk-ins are abundant with the health center seeing an average of 23 students per day.

“Students need to give us a little warning, because in 15 minutes we could go from nobody to six people,” Dipley said.

For $10 students may receive a blood count. The health center is able to conduct laboratory tests, vaginal examinations and sell over-the-counter drugs and vaccines. Hosp said she remembers a group of students traveling to Peru needing a certain vaccination. The center was able to order the vaccination and give it to the group.

However, Dipley and Hosp say the current facility is not enough.

“There’s not much room here,” Dipley said. “We’re crammed to the gills and we don’t get anything new, we borrow whatever we need.”

With space as the primary challenge, Dipley said it holds back progress. Such as employing a student worker and keeping more confidentiality for patients.

“This setup is for well kids, it’s not for real sick kids because we don’t have any facilities for that,” Dipley said. “We can refer them to the hospital or to Urgent Care, or to the physicians’ office. Some have problems that are just aren’t easily solved. One of the worst things is (the students) not having insurance, like a young lady will come in with a lump in her breast, no insurance, and no money to afford to have that checked out.”

One of the newest additions to the center is Guardasil, a vaccine which helps protect against cervical cancer. Guardasil helps prevent cervical diseases, but it does not treat them.

Illnesses relating to STDs are referred to see Marilyn Jacobs, women’s health nurse practitioner, Maggie Holt, a volunteer from the Joplin City Health, or Dr. Troy D’Amour, the campus physician. Sometimes students who are scheduled to see these two miss the appointment, which creates friction in the system.

“They don’t realize how important it is that they take their responsibilities seriously, you make an appointment with somebody, that’s an obligation that you have to meet, and when you don’t it ruins relationships for other future patients,” Hosp said.

If the new Health and Sciences building is constructed, the Student Health Center will be better equipped to handle the amount of patients they see, with the necessary confidentiality. Dipley said the new center will provide more storage, have sinks in the examination rooms, create space to employ a student worker and allow better privacy for patients.

“Since (the $15 fee) was instituted, we have doubled the amount of people that we see,” Dipley said. “It’s good for our students to get their $15 worth.”