Health Services improves services, rank

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By moving up to third on a 2013 Princeton Review ranking of best college health services in the U.S, University Health Services has grabbed some of the spotlight usually reserved for the University’s athletics program and breakthrough research. The University moved up from their 2012 No. 4 ranking.

Jamie Shutter, director of University Health Services, said UHS was able to improve its service and earn a higher rank by conducting satisfaction surveys sent to patients via e-mail and paper surveys available in every UHS clinic.

“We took the data from our surveys and built on it,” Shutter said. “All feedback is logged in our system, whether it is a compliment, suggestio or a bad experience. These are fully researched and brought forward in our monthly committee meeting.”

With the surveys, UHS found out many students thought it was mandatory to have health insurance in order to receive health care. Shutter said that the UHS worked to inform the student body about using the UHS without insurance.

“We worked to educate UT that we accept any patient as long as they are a student,” Shutter said. “A student could come in for a visit without any money in their pocket, and all fees would instead go to their ‘What I Owe’ page.”

While the Princeton Review honored UT with No. 3 in “Best Health Services,” it also ranked the University at No. 15 in the “Party Schools” category and No. 12 in the “Lots of Beer” category. Susan Hochman, assistant director for University Health Services, said that these numbers show progression and reflect much work done on UHS’s part.

“This is the first time in 10 years that the University has not been in the top 10 for Party Schools,” Hochman said. “UHS has many programs that have helped reduce the [amount of] high risk drinking on campus, such as the Wellness Network, AlcoholEdu and Know Your Line.”

The Wellness Network teaches about the consequences of high-risk drinking. AlcoholEdu presents students with a two-part program for all incoming freshmen and transfer students that encourages students to make well-informed decisions in settings where alcohol is present. Know Your Line Project teaches the difference between drinking and being drunk, and urges students to learn their personal limits to avoid situations where judgments may be impaired by alcohol.

History junior Calla Beach said she relies on UHS for healthcare.

“I have never had a bad experience at University Health Services,” Calla said. “It is so much more convenient and economical for students.”

Gage Paine, vice president of Student Affairs, said the capable UHS staff members are responsible for the lack of bad experiences and the success of UT’s student affairs.

“The people that choose to be here come to work thinking how they can help students be successful,” Paine said. “Their primary concern is having good service, and they are dedicated to making the student experience good.”