Student Health budget approved

Jared Clark

Jared Clark

Students accustomed to a lack of health service hours during semester transitions will soon be able to get prescriptions, injections and the results of testing during those times.

At its meeting Monday night, the Students’ Association Senate approved a half million dollar budget to support Student Health services on campus.

Janet Mullen, director of Health and Counseling Services requested funding of $528,417 to fulfil her proposed budget for the 2003-2004 year.

Mullen said that medical care at Student Health is now provided by nurse practioners and supported by medical doctors from Brookings Medical Clinic.

Because Brookings Medical Clinic is able to provide Student Health a doctor at all times, a nurse can ask questions or have test data couriered to them for input.

Because there are some conditions best handled by a medical doctor, however, the nurse practioners at Student Health refer students to appropriate care when necessary.

“We’re getting more appointments on site, and making referrals as needed,” said Mullen.

In addition to salary and benefit increases included in that figure were additional funds to improve the continuity of health care Student Health provides, she said.

Currently, student health services close at the end of each semester and reopen at the start of the successive semester. Because of this period of downtime, Mullen says some students are unable to receive required care and take advantage of prescription services.

“There are a number of students that have regular prescriptions that need to be filled,” she said.

“If you come in after the last day of the [Spring] semester, we are closed then until June 1st.”

Mullen said the eight percent proposed increase would also provide additional lab hours, so students can get results of tests and x-rays before the beginning of the next semester.

“What I’m asking from you…is full staffing–full staffing year around,” she said.

In response to a senator’s question on student popularity of the proposed program, Mullen said her department would closely monitor activity during the expanded hours, and “ratchet” back hours should student interest be low.

After deliberation, the Students’ Association Senate approved Mullen’s request.