August 25, 2014

New facility to provide students the full range of primary care

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The new Student Health and Wellness Center opened earlier this month in a renovated space that combines the Health Services medical clinic and Counseling Services in a central location on Ninth Avenue South.

The center, which follows an integrated health and wellness model, will provide a comprehensive program in a facility designed to meet all of a student’s medical, counseling or developmental needs

“Shared and adjacent work environments will help create a more seamless delivery of care, enhance the ability to consult with colleagues and foster the development of treatment teams and other innovative strategies to promote better health,” said Jake Baggott, executive director of Student Health and Wellness

“Both health and counseling services are important to the success of students,” Baggott said. “Until now, those services were provided in an inadequate space inconveniently located to the campus and places students frequent. The new location in the Learning Resource Center is ideally positioned in the heart of campus and in close proximity to the residence halls.”

The new center includes 23,000 square feet of space; by contrast, the combined space of the two former locations was just more than 4,100 square feet. The facility is equipped to give students the full range of primary care, including appointments with health-care providers, routine diagnostic lab testing and X-ray services. Michael Faircloth, M.D., is the medical director.

“Additionally, the Student Health and Wellness Center will be offering health education and promotion programming on a full range of topics important to the success of students,” Baggott said.

Both Health Services medical clinic and Counseling Services are by appointment only, although Counseling Services is prepared to respond to crisis circumstances.

“The medical clinic instituted an open-access appointment system that offers students appointments on the day they call,” Baggott said. “The idea is to take care of today’s needs today. Students are busy so we want to try to meet their needs when they arise.”

Student Health and Wellness Center contact information

 – Main line and information: 934-3580

– Health Service appointments: 934-3581
– Counseling Services (including appointments): 934-5816

The center is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The system has been in effect for the past year, and Baggott said it has been a success. Both services will offer online scheduling options for students later this fall.

Counseling services are provided at no cost to students. Visits with a physician or nurse practitioner are also free. If diagnostic testing is recommended, those charges are billable to students’ insurance or to the students themselves, if they prefer. Baggott said the clinic accepts most major insurance plans, including VIVA, and the student insurance offered through UAB.

The center also will provide training opportunities for medical residents.

Baggott said the opening of the center is timely because demand for health and counseling services has risen more than 30 percent since 2012 — to more than 15,000 from 12,000. He said he expects the numbers will continue to rise because the more convenient location will enhance awareness and accessibility.

“The demand for counseling services has grown significantly at campuses across the country and UAB is no exception,” Baggott said. “In 2010, 2,998 appointments were scheduled and that number grew to 4,470 in 2013.”

Baggott said a grand opening event will be held in September.