By SAVANNAH JUNES
At the beginning of the fall semester, Institute of American Indian Arts students were quick to notice that the medical clinic on campus had closed. The decision to close the clinic came right before the start of the semester when negotiations between the school and the providers, Presbyterian Medical Services, could not reach an agreement, according to Carmen Henan, the dean of students.
“Every year we go into negotiations with providers,” Henan said. “This year we wanted to cut down from three days a week to two, but keep it at four hours. Presbyterian Medical Services wanted to increase it to two full days.”
However, because of the budget, she said, that didn’t work.
Usage was also a consideration, Henan said. The first year in Fall 2014, when the clinic was for students only, usage was low. Faculty and staff were then added, but the number of users was still low.
“The only increase came when flu shots were offered,” Henan said.
A short survey went out the entire campus Monday, October 16, 2017. There were not enough responses to get accurate information, so the results here are not conclusive.
Of the 30 responses received, 14 respondents stated the only reason they used the clinic was to get flu shots.
Most of the nine staff and faculty did not use the clinic but do feel that it is important to have for the students. Only a couple of responses stated that the on-campus medical service was unnecessary.
Most people had similar answers as to what an on-campus clinic should provide. These range anywhere from treatment for minor illnesses to advice on sexual health. Several requested vaccines to be available.
Overall, more than half of the respondents were in favor of an on-campus medical center in the future.
The Future of the Clinic
The school is currently looking into alternative means of medical services including massage therapists, medicine people, a chiropractor, etc., said Henan.
There is no definite word on whether or not a medical service will return to campus or if the school will incorporate alternative means of care. Until then, students will have to seek medical care off campus.
Students who need transportation to the hospital can call Alvin Sandoval, the IAIA Shuttle driver, and he will take them to their appointments.
A flu shot clinic provided by Indian Health Service will be on campus sometime in the next or so.
(Featured Photo by Savannah Junes)