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Health center makes changes

April 25, 1997

By Keirsten Layne

Lariat reporter

The Baylor Health Center is undergoing major changes beginning on July 1. Following study into the efficiency of the center, Rosemary Townsend, Director of Business Affairs and Administration for the Health Center, is launching a new appointment system for the center.

Townsend has studied 26 different plans at other universities in order to come up with the proposed plan, while the Health Center staff has conducted surveys.

'A baseline plan with much flexibility has been chosen,' Townsend said. The plan is not concrete, and they are eager to get student input. 'We will continue to refine the system until we meet every person's needs most effectively,' Townsend said.

The Call First Campaign goes into effect this summer, and Townsend will be talking with the incoming freshmen during orientation. Surveys will be distributed in the fall, and Townsend encourages students to respond. She is also willing to visit any organization meeting to discuss the specifics of the program.

The student satisfaction surveys completed this year showed that patients complained most about the long waiting periods. An appointment system is more respectful of students, according to Townsend, because everyone has to wait to see a doctor.

'We are not busy in the morning, and we are extraordinarily busy in the afternoon,' said Townsend. Appointment times should help alleviate the long waits and cut down on late-afternoon overflow.

'It should save the frantic rush in the afternoon,' said Ann Kagle, an R.N. at the Health Center.

There will be three categories of appointments to begin the new program. First, urgent care will be for immediate needs. Second will be first available which should be the most popular category. The final category will be prior-made appointments which consist of follow-up visits, physicals and routine exams.

Allergy shots and immunizations will also be by appointment, and those who take regular allergy shots will have a scheduled time each week.

Mark Martelli, a San Antonio sophomore, is apprehensive about the plan. 'I've been to the Health Center a lot in the past few years, and I enjoy being able to walk right in. However, an appointment system might be nice because I always wait at least 30 minutes to get in,' said Martelli.

Debbie Guerrero, a San Antonio senior, says, 'It's more convenient for me to go an my own, when the need arises, and not have to go the trouble of making an appointment.'

Despite the apprehension surrounding the new system, it is going into effect. Townsend stresses the decision has not been a quick one. They have even established that in order to maintain patient confidentiality, trained staff will be making the appointments.

The Health Center will still be open 24 hours a day with nurses on site and doctors on call. Townsend plans to continue informing students of the changes using every type of media available in the fall.

Shirley McCoy, an R.N. the Health Center, says, 'It will take a while to get used to, but it should benefit the students.'

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