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editorial1 Editorial Cartoon by Kelcie Grega/The State Press

Featuring a pharmaceutical vending machine, online appointment scheduling and gynecological services, ASU Health Services boasts a repertoire of medical procedures unmatched by any other urgent care-type facility in the Valley.

Paired with the convenience of being located on campus and the required health care fee billed to our ASU accounts, the center is a dreamboat medical facility currently engaged in a harmonious partnership with the gods of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. Unfortunately, the high-end offerings found on ASU’s humble health services’ résumé are unable to correlate with the demands of students, leading to low-end or non-existent treatments.

In 2011, Allan Markus, the director of ASU Health Services stressed that the issue with long student wait times on Tempe campus fell on the building construction, which at the time, had its last expansion in 1969, rather than the services offered. “The real problem is the building. … It was never a staffing issue,” Markus said in a previous interview with The State Press. He predicted that with the new building, the Health Services staff would be able to see approximately 40 to 50 more students per day.

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However, with each year, the number of students that could potentially use the provided student health services has increased to more than the Tempe Student Health Center can support. At time of publication, the first available non-specialization appointment is four days away. The average registration wait time is between 90-120 minutes. This time does not include the initial vital signs measurement and time spent in an examination room waiting to be seen by a doctor.

This problem is not unique to the Tempe campus, as the study body count is increasing on the Polytechnic, West and Downtown campuses, as well. While the count of students is increasing, the staff is not, which leads to longer wait times or students not utilizing the health centers that are offered on campus.

With the number of students seeking medical attention often being greater than what the ASU Health Services staff is able to support, there is a significant decrease in the care that is provided. Students are often misdiagnosed or fail to receive the treatment necessary to cure their ailment.

Since the expansions and updates to the Student Health Center were funded by fees billed to student accounts, the only acceptable option is that the services provided by the Health Centers are accessible by all students attending ASU — with a minimal wait time and top-notch quality. Instead of forcing students to find other means of medical care that do not have the potential to be as well maintained or staffed as the ASU Health Centers — such as CVS’s Minute Clinics or Urgent Care centers — the directors and staff of Health Service need to find a way to expedite the wait time and registration process (perhaps an app?), give ASU students the health care that they deserve as paying customers and bring back a full-service pharmacy with skilled pharmacists who can provide helpful information and refills rather than a mechanical device only able to provide a small number of “common” medications and paper instructions.

The health services provided by ASU Health Service Centers are both embarrassing and unacceptable for a university that strives to be the poster child for The New American University. It’s time for ASU to be proactive with health coverage and promotion rather than doing the bare minimum and slapping a “sustainable building” tag onto the structure so that the poor internal services are overlooked.


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