Students can now access campus psychiatric services at the Holzer Health Center, thanks to a recent change in the formatting of campus health services.
Psychiatric Services, formerly housed at the Counseling and Psychological Services building on the corner of West University Boulevard and Country Club Road, will now be accessible to students at the Holzer Health Center on Country Club.
Meeting with psychiatrists at CAPS seemed to make sense, said Deborah Marino, director of the Holzer Health Center, but in reality, the system was decentralized, slow and largely ineffective at providing the service students needed.
The reason for this is twofold. Psychiatrists, unlike psychologists, can prescribe medication to their patients.
The psychologists and staff at CAPS are not knowledgeable about medication in the same way the medical health professionals at the Health Center are, Marino said.
“The other problem was the patient’s charts were on CAPS property, the doctor was at a different location, and no-one can remember everything,” she said.
The second reason is that the psychiatrists were on campus for very limited amounts of time. Each doctor had their own full-time practice off-campus.
If students were to return mid-week because of issues with their prescription or otherwise, no one would be available at CAPS to help manage their medication issue, Marino said. This is especially important for students experiencing adverse effects.
These factors combined to create a difficult situation where students in need of medical attention ended up on waiting lists for weeks, Marino said. With student medical records in multiple locations, this became a big problem.
But the new system should work to fix it.
“We had two psychiatrists providing psychiatric services with CAPS,” said Rodney Bowers, dean of students. “Now we actually have two medical doctors, a psychiatrist and two nurse practitioners who provide psychiatric services.”
Daniel Stump, the new psychiatrist, is at the Health Center from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. every Tuesday.
It made more sense to have a psychiatrist joined with physicians, nurse practitioners, other healthcare providers that can also prescribe medications and can manage medications, Marino said.
“Service hasn’t changed,” Bowers said. “I believe service is actually better.”
Previously, students were required to pay a moderate amount through the university, which was covering the brunt of the physician’s fee.
“It was hundreds and hundreds of dollars an hour,” Marino said. “It was very expensive for the school.”
Under the new system, costs for psychiatric care are billed to the student’s insurance. Just as if they were visiting their personal doctor or a psychiatrist in their community, with a small co-pay, 95 percent of insurance plans cover this, according to Marino.
When students come to the Health Center with a concern, they may ask for a psychiatrist, but not know what kind of treatment they really need.
“So what we’ve done, is anyone who comes to the desk that’s requesting psychiatric services, we have them directly put into one of the patient exam rooms,” Marino explained. “We don’t have them fill out a chart; we don’t have them do anything except bring them into the exam room.”
The nurse practitioners will speak with the student to find out exactly what is going on. This basic triage-style technique is to see what kind of treatment they require.
Depending on the severity of a student’s condition, they will either see the psychiatrist, or remain under the care of Health Center staff. “If a patient’s depression is getting worse, they’re thinking sad thoughts or suicidal thoughts, that sort of thing, now we have a psychiatrist we can move them over to.”
The Health Center staff are prepared and trained for an entire range of medical needs that students may have. “I’ve been here for 15 years, and I have managed depression and anxiety the entire time.”
“The numbers of people that we’ve seen, and that we’ve started on antidepressant medications have increased,” she said. “I probably start someone on some kind of antidepressant three times a week.”
The Holzer Health Center is open from 8:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m. Monday – Thursday, and 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. on Friday, and can be reached at 321-674-8078. Students must bring their Student ID to receive treatment.
CAPS is open Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m.- 12.p.m. and 1:00 p.m.- 5 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.