Health Center under scrutiny from students

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    For students, experiences at the Brown-Lupton Health Center are varied.

    “I really don’t trust [the Health Center] enough honestly to go,” junior social work major Taylor Fulk said.

    Though Fulk has never been to the Health Center other than to drop off and pick up prescriptions, what she’s heard from other students has kept her away.

    “I’ve heard that they take a really long time and they’re not always really accurate with their diagnosis,” she said. “I know people that have not gotten better and have gone to other doctors.”

    Freshman business major Anna Olin said she sought a second opinion after a doctor at the Health Center diagnosed her with allergies. The new doctor successfully treated her for a different illness, she said.

    Health Center Medical Director Jane Torgerson said students should follow up with the Health Center physicians immediately if symptoms do not cease after treatment has been administered. She said open dialogue is also highly encouraged to help the patient receive the best care possible.

    Specific instances of questionable diagnoses could not be discussed for the protection of both patients’ privacy and the Health Center, Torgerson said.

    As for lengthy wait times, Health Center Clinical Nursing Director Kelle Tillman said wait times are significantly less than if a patient were to go to an urgent care clinic or the emergency room.

    “Our wait time here is considerably less this year versus last year [because] we were dealing with H1N1,” Tillman said.

    Once a patient signs in at the front desk, a nurse will assess them within 15 minutes, she said.

    After a nurse has seen the patient, most of the time is spent waiting for the doctor, she said.

    Tillman said they may begin taking appointments instead of being a solely walk-in clinic.

    Torgerson said this year, she’s already started scheduling appointments for patients with more complex medical histories and medical problems.

    She said the downside to an appointment-based clinic is that there would be a decrease in the number of patients a doctor could see in a day.

    “One of the nice things about the Health Center is when you wake up with a sore throat, you will get seen that day,” Torgerson said.

    They’re hoping to do a mix of both appointment and walk-in services because they don’t to turn anyone away, she said.

    One segment of the Health Center, however, is thriving: the TCU pharmacy.

    The pharmacy inside the Health Center is privately owned and operated by registered pharmacist Frank Calhoon.

    Fulk said her prescriptions are about $5 cheaper at the TCU pharmacy than at other pharmacies near campus. Prescription payments may also be charged to the students account.

    Alongside the convenience of having an in-house pharmacy, Torgerson and the Health Center staff are working to add a different program to the mix of services already available to students.

    Torgerson said the next step for the Health Center is to start a program for seniors allowing them to schedule appointments for a wellness check-up that would include basic tests such as checking cholesterol levels and blood pressure. She said the program would help ease graduates out of the university health care system and arm them with knowledge of their personal health as well as tips on getting medical insurance after graduation.

    “I think that would be really beneficial because I feel like a lot of time in college we don’t take care of ourselves maybe as much as we should,” Kristina Rogers, a junior communication major said.

    Courtney Dunn, a junior marketing major, said she thinks that would be a good program to have because students would know they’re healthy before entering the work force.

    Torgerson said the program is not complete, but graduating seniors should check their e-mail for more information.