COLUMBIA — It's going to happen eventually.
Whether a mild case of the sniffles or all-out food poisoning, students get sick. That’s why the MU Student Health Center’s goal is for every student to be able to call and visit the office on the same day.
"Any student who has any kind of a health concern should call," Student Health Center Executive Director Susan Even said.
She suggests that parents and students have the Student Health Center number — 882-7481 — filed in accessible places.
The center is not an emergency room, Even said. It provides general health care to students who need it.
Something like a bone fracture or life-threatening illness will be handled at University Hospital.
The Student Health Center is on the fourth floor of the University Physicians Medical Building, across the street from the Virginia Avenue parking garage.
Students are assigned a primary care provider who works with them throughout their college career, Even said.
"You don’t have to explain your medical history every time, and you build a trusting relationship," she said. "Our goal is to have students feel confident that they have a medical provider at the University of Missouri who’s going to help them when they need help."
The cost is folded into student fees. Any student taking more than six credit hours pays a health fee each semester to cover basic medical consultation with a nurse practitioner or doctor.
Any additional charges, such as a laboratory tests, intravenous therapy or an injection, incurs an extra cost. The amount can be placed on the student’s monthly bill.
The Student Health Center is the preferred provider for the university-sponsored Aetna student health insurance plan, Even said.
The center also can work with a family's health care insurance plan. In those cases, charges are placed on the student's monthly bill, and credit is applied when an insurance payment is received.
For costly procedures, such as X-rays, the patient will be referred to the nearby University Hospital, which can work with most insurance plans.
If students or parents have insurance questions, they should call the Student Health Center, Even said.
"We have two insurance staff members who are very well-versed in these matters and can advise students," she said.
The center also provides mental health services, located in the same office. The health fee covers four visits to a psychiatrist or psychologist. If more visits are needed, the charges have a reduced rate.
The center offers health education programs, including individual appointments for healthy eating, fitness, sexual health, tobacco cessation and stress reduction.
The Wellness Resource Center, located in the MU Student Center, encourages prevention. It takes a holistic approach to helping students learn to live healthfully, Wellness Center representative Lace Cline said.
The beginning of college can act as a new starting point for those hoping to kick a bad habit.
By Jan. 1, 2014, MU will be a smoke-free campus. In light of this, the Wellness Resource Center offers free assistance to those who want to quit smoking, as does the Student Health Center.
The program, FreshU, offers free nicotine patches, gums or lozenges, coaching and peer support. Appointments can be made online.
The Student Health Center educates students on proper alcohol consumption behavior.
The Wellness Resource Center also works with students on nutrition, stress and time management and off-campus housing.