Established with the goal of providing “general health care for all registered students,” the Student Care Center (SCC) too often falls short of its stated mission, suffering from inconvenient hours and a backlog of appointments. You might come to the SCC with a sprained wrist, but frequently you’ll leave with a headache.
The University is finally beginning to take notice, hiring an outside consulting firm to evaluate the state of student health-care services and make recommendations for future improvements.
The U of C can start by more clearly articulating the priorities of the SCC, refining the Center’s focus to emphasize non-emergency, but time-sensitive, cases. As it stands, students with pressing medical conditions—such as the flu or strep throat—might turn to the SCC only to find that the next available appointment is a week away.
The SCC can reduce the glut of appointments by de-emphasizing services such as yearly physicals and shots for study abroad programs. While such services are vital, they can also be taken care of off campus, during the summer, and over breaks. The SCC can save room for those with urgent needs by encouraging them to take care of these at home when possible.
Even with these changes, however, the Center will still be doing a disservice until it revises its hours of operation to accommodate those of students. Currently, the SCC stays open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. through 5 p.m., and by special appointment on Saturday morning.
The SCC should change its schedule to stay open on the weekends, when students have the most flexibility to stop in. If a five-day workweek is imperative, then perhaps it makes sense to cut down on hours during the middle of the week, when students have less flexibility to schedule an appointment. Further, its hours should be shifted to accommodate students, many of whom finish class in the late afternoon and are inclined to sleep in while nursing an illness.
These changes would likely add costs to an already expensive operation. But sound health services are both necessary and beneficial for a healthy university, and the cost of neglecting students is far greater.
Student health should never be relegated to the waiting room.
The Maroon Editorial Board consists of the Editor-in-Chief, Viewpoints Editors, and two additional Editorial Board members.