Student Health Center continues to strive for affordability

Complete Family Medicine has overseen the Student Health Center for almost two years. At the clinic, they provide a variety of measures to help students pay for healthcare. They are currently working with members of Student Government to further reduce costs for students.

Junior Mike Owsley, Student Government treasurer, hopes to see the costs of healthcare reduced on campus by raising the student health fee. Student Government has the power to bring a measure to increase the health fee to the student body, who can then vote on the issue. Owsley said the health fee had not been raised since the early 2010s, so it has been falling behind rising prices.  

“If we all pay a little more, then the people who really need the student health center can pay a lot less,” Owsley said. 

Owsley is working on getting a measure passed to see this fee increased. By doing this, he hopes more money can be used to help subsidize STI testing and counseling at the health center. 

Madeline Harms, Clinic Coordinator, said costs without insurance at the Student Health Center can range from $19 to around $150 depending on what the student is being seen for and what tests need to be completed. For a general checkup, a student can be expected to pay around $40. If insurance is being used to cover the costs, Harms recommends contacting one’s insurance provider before a check-up to see what they might cover.  

Harms said the clinic has a variety of resources they utilize to help students pay for healthcare at the clinic. There is a same-day self-pay option where students will receive a 50% discount if they pay on the same day they go to the clinic. There is also a sliding scale application, where students who meet all income requirements only have to pay $15 for any service at the health center. 

Harms said the prices at the health center are very competitive when compared to other medical facilities in the region, with the health center being more affordable for students. Harms said the health center works to provide the best healthcare they can for students and will work with them to ensure they are able to afford care there.  

According to Tyana Lange, vice president for student engagement, enrollment and marketing, the University spends $1 million on the health center each year. The University has contracted Complete Family Medicine to run the clinic, and pays for the clinic’s operations, covering expenses such as the staff’s wages and supplies. 

Lange said the contract between the University and the clinic sets things such as hours at the clinic and personal requirements. Lange said the University is not involved in billing at the clinic.  

“From my perspective — I’ve been managing the contract since April — I’m incredibly impressed with the staff we have over at [Complete Family Medicine],” Lange said, “We have two nurse practitioners on our clinic on campus — and there’s only one nurse practitioner at the urgent care clinic on Baltimore, and we typically see less patients per day than they do at the urgent care clinic, so that assured me and gave me confidence that our students are being seen quickly and in a timely manner.” 

Lange said Complete Family Medicine has provided the clinic with additional resources the University would not have access to otherwise. For instance, the connections the clinic has across the state and nation allowed them to bring in virtual counselors, so there are currently no waitlists at the clinic to receive mental health services. 

According to Andrew Fajkus, outreach services manager at Complete Family Medicine, a service of Hannibal Regional, Complete Family Medicine began running the clinic during Spring 2021.  Complete Family Medicine submitted a proposal to operate the health center and University Counseling Services, and it was rewarded in June 2020. They are in the second year of their contract with the University to run the health center.   

Fajkus said pricing at the clinic is the same at the health center as it is at other clinics run by Complete Family Medicine. This fee schedule is based on market analysis at the local and national level. 

Fajkus said the clinic provides services to help students register for Medicaid if they qualify for the program. They work with students one-on-one to help them ensure their care is affordable.

Fajkus also said that by taking over the clinic, students are no longer billed by the University for utilizing services there. So, no holds will ever be placed on a student’s account due to a medical bill from the clinic. He said these payment programs are new to the University, and were added after Complete Family Medicine took over the health center during 2021. In addition, wages were raised for staff of the health center along with hiring more workers.  

Fajkus said Complete Family Medicine is in frequent contact with University administration and students to discuss ways to further reduce costs. He met with Student Government last year to discuss ways in which they could help reduce the costs for students at the clinic.  

“If somebody comes in [to UCS] for a crisis, they’re never going to have a bill for a crisis appointment. We have that in our agreement with the University,”  Fajkus said. “We have the sliding scale in place that tries to provide an affordable option [for on-going therapy needs and at the Student Health Center]. That reduces the bill typically for most Truman students down to $15 per visit. We feel like a lot of what we’re doing is making sure the right information is getting out to students about what services are available and the costs of the services.”  

Senior Allison Frey said she has had good experiences with the health center in the past. Last year, she was advised by her physician to get her weight, pulse, and blood pressure checked weekly. Last week, she went there to receive a Covid test, but there were not any tests available. It would be $40 to pay for an at-home Covid test with insurance, but a nurse managed to find an at-home test that Frey was able to take without charge.