The Student Care Center (SCC), a U of C Hospitals (UCH) clinic for University students, is undergoing a series of changes following the departure of two top administrators last year.
Proposals include expanding the number of drugs available for free and without prescription, packaging pills in bottles—medicines like ibuprofen are currently given in paper envelopes—and overhauling the clinic to improve its efficiency and aesthetic features.
“We just want to strive to do things in a way that’s more effective,” said Kristine Bordenave, the new director of the SCC. “We want to look at how we can make medicines more accessible and safer, bring costs down, and make this a place that is a little more welcoming.”
The center is working with the UCH pharmacy to buy drugs and lab tests in higher volume in the hope of driving down prices and increasing the quantities available to students. For instance, the SCC is looking to enable women to purchase a three-month supply of birth control, rather than the 28-day supply currently available.
Increased purchases have put certain medications in short supply. Similar issues have dogged a transition to an updated computer scheduling system. Training and implementation have increased clinic waiting times.
“As changes were occurring, we had staff off training, and that probably did affect service some,” Bordenave said. “But the implementation went well, and I think in the long run, it will help a lot.”
The SCC is also consulting an interior designer to help improve both the style and comfort of the center for students, as well as the efficiency and utility for staff. Additionally, the center is planning a number of events across campus to promote student health issues.
“We’ve actually teamed up with the bookstore, Merck, and Sony to have an event at the bookstore where Sony brings in an up-and-coming artist and gets students information about the HPV vaccine, and we’re bargaining now with insurers for next year to try to be able to provide that at a lower cost for students,” said Tara Paulson, the new director of health promotion.
The center has also been seeking a new location on campus, scouting other sites in the medical complex.
“We desperately need to find a new space for the SCC with more room,” Bordenave said. “The center is way less efficient than it could be.”