Health Center needs a check-up

By Editorial Board

“Come back in a few days if you’re not feeling better” seems to be our student Health Center’s motto. If a student hasn’t visited the center, it’s likely he or she has heard stories from classmates and friends. Within “a few days,” many students said they have been effectively diagnosed and treated by an off-campus doctor, braved their chances of returning to the Heath Center or in some cases, ended up

in the hospital.

Students have nothing to gain from a health center with physicians who can’t get it right the first time.  Although Columbia strives to keep the Health Center fees low, the effort seems useless if students are willing to seek alternative treatment for better results. It shows students are willing to pay more for better care, and it is time Columbia takes notice.

Compared to most local colleges, the treatment offered at Columbia’s Health Center is the bare minimum. Almost everything beyond the symptoms of a common cold results in a referral to another doctor. Some students said they’ve been referred elsewhere for conditions the Health Center lists as those it is able to treat.

The lack of female care and absence of treatment for sexual health is particularly alarming. On a college campus, women should have access to pap smears without having to seek out a specialist elsewhere. Likewise, treatment for common sexually transmitted infections should be offered alongside diagnosis, as it is at many other college health centers.

The consistency in care is also an issue. Some students said they were prescribed medications without proper testing, while others said the physicians refused to test or treat them for their ailments at all, using the “come back in a few days” line, which may cause conditions to worsen.

College students are adults. They know when they are sick, and they know when extra sleep and orange juice will not do the trick. The lack of prompt, effective treatment for one student puts others at risk by continuing the spread of germs.

Students want better care, and most are willing to pay for it. Those who are not willing to pay more should be allowed to opt out of the fees, as is the case with most college health care plans. It is imperative Columbia reevaluate its student Health Center to offer more extensive, higher quality treatment.