Health Services Grapples with Demand and Catholic Morality

Manhattan College Health Services provides care for sick or injured students, faculty, and staff on a daily basis. Students are given access to this basic health care as a part of their health services fee.

Students that suffer from your average common cold to students with broken bones or collapsed lungs are all welcomed to visit the Health Service Center.

Nurse Practitioner Amy Dall is the sole provider for 3,500 undergraduate students, 1000 graduate students and any faculty or staff who needs immediate assistance.

“There are days where we hit a maximum,” said Dall. “We try to hit 18 max in a day but we often go over. For the first three weeks of the fall semester I could be seeing up to 30 students in one day.”

Walk in appointments are allowed, but due to the high influx of students, health services is not always able to accommodate everyone, which is why they attempt to schedule students throughout the day.

The appointment system was implemented three to four years ago to eliminate some of the anxiety of a long wait time.

A sign hanging up in the waiting room says: “The nature of our practice is to give our patients the utmost in care and service. Please excuse any delays! We will give you this same careful attention as soon as possible.”

“We triage who’s coming in to be seen and we see who is more serious and sometimes we triage people out and see if they would like to come back the next day or be referred to a different doctor or urgent care facility,” said Dall. “We will also help them with what their insurance is and who they can go to and how to get there. But when you are in the room with me you are my whole world. We don’t want barriers here and want students to feel comfortable and see us for any health issues they have.”

The college provides these health services and does not bill students to use them, other than the fee that is part of their tuition. The health services fee is for accident insurance if a student gets injured on campus.

Billing occurs when you are picking up medication, receiving blood work, or any care that is not covered by your insurance.

“I had a cough and cold that lasted a while so after a week of coughing I went to health services. The people who work there are nice and I didn’t have health insurance so sometimes getting the medication was a little tough so it took me awhile to get better but they were helpful and I was able to see them,” said sophomore Christopher Hoffman.

Health services avoids doing too much primary care but instead provides many routine services.

“Assume the person sitting next to you has mono and they don’t even know they have it. Things like mono, the flu and the stomach bug were around this year which put a lot of people out of class. Any kind of medical condition is seen here and either treated or referred to someone else if they need a higher level of care,” said Dall. “It’s really good if everyone can be seen here because that way my hand is on the pulse of everything that is going on here on campus.”

The most common reasons for students going to health services are for treatment of upper respiratory problems and mononucleosis, but students can also receive treatments for UTIs, kidney infections, and even STDs.

Health services is consistent with the Catholic Church’s practices.

Manhattan College does not allow contraception, prescribed birth control or to have condoms given out to students unlike a public or state college.

Among exclusions is also sex education.

“We do STD testing and treatment here and I encourage students to come get checked. I want people to understand even though we can’t do contraceptives we can still treat STDs and I can refer students out to places for family planning,” said Dall.

Sophomore Monika Simikic discussed her views on visiting the Department of Health Services for reasons involving sex.

“I wouldn’t feel comfortable going to health services for any sexual health reasons because premarital sex is against the school’s code of conduct and I know there’s confidentiality but it deters me,” said sophomore Monika Simikic. “[With that said] I do know people who have gone for those reasons and received treatment.”

The Department Health Services is open Monday through Friday 9am-4:30pm.