Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Curing OU's Hudson Health Center's Ills

by Monique Ozanne

OU Students and administrators agreeHudson Health Center is under-staffed, under-funded and in need of new facilities and longer hours. Students have said that Hudson's system is flawed, the check-in procedure is unclear, and its hours are inconvenient.

These problems, along with several others are the reason behind Student Senate's proposed health and counseling services changes for Hudson Health Center.

Junior Olivia Dawson shares her problems with Hudson.

In July 2007, the Office for the Vice President of Student Affairs released a report of health-related programs and services in Hudson Health Center. The purpose of this report was to review and re-evaluate the effectiveness and quality of the health programs at Hudson Health Center.

Hudson Health Center's Business Manager Jackie Legg knows what students want, and knows where the facility needs improvement. Legg, along with several Student Senate members held a forum last night to discuss the proposed changes, both financial and medical, to enchance Hudson.

Jackie Legg on her ideas for improving Hudson.

Another part of this report was to evaluate the possibility of students' health insurance paying for many services, rather than expecting them to be covered by students' general fees. Although this is the eventual goal of Hudson to bring in outside revenue, the center must overcome a set of obstacles first.

Hudson's Challenges
- Hudson Health Center was originally constructed in 1949 as an infirmary, and has not been siginificantly updated to function as structure for medical and mental health services. Because the facility has not been updated, it has problems in the following areas: structure, maintenance, appearance, infestation and equipment.

- The managment system and electronic health record system has been offline for more than one year since the security breach in May 2006. The return to manual recording has been costly in efficiency and accuracy.

- Student Health Services (SHS), Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS), and Health Education and Wellness (HEW), are all understaffed which is over-working doctors and nurses.

- Students who were interviewed had a negative assessment of SHS, but a more positive assessment of CPS. The negative reviews were found to be a result of dissatisfation with accessability, quality of facility/environment, quality of care and communications, and lack of student input.

Despite what might appear as several setbacks, the University thinks that it has an opportunity to start a unique health program by colloborating the ideas and resources from the already existing programs: Student Health Service, Counseling and Psychological Services, Health Education and Wellness, the College of Medicine, and University Medical Associates.

Improvement Opportunity
- The University plans on reviewing its strategy in relation to current and future goals to improve health-related programs and services. Money alone will not solely improve Hudson, and an overall plan aimed at addressing and enhancing student health is needed.

- Hudson and the university will attempt to directly bill students' insurance companies for services provided in the health center but not covered in the basic health services packages.

- Hudson wants to significantly expand professional and support staff in SHS, CPS, and HEW. They would like to see a ratio of one physician to two to three nurse practictioners. CPS requires five to six mental health providers and HEW needs one to two professional health educators.

- Renewing the practice management information system and electronic health record bank since the breach in 2006.

Altough Hudson has a projected plan and several areas for improvement, it still needs a plan to regain trust of Ohio University students. Olivia Dawson just wants to feel safe under the care of her health professionals and thinks that educated health care providers is something everyone should be able to access.

Junior Olivia Dawson's vision for Hudson.

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