I have always disliked acronyms. When I first saw HWC on campus I thought it stood for Handle With Care. “Oh,” I thought to myself, “That building must be a post office.” No, that can’t be right. How about Hazardous Waste Combustor? If that’s what it is, I had better stay away from that building. Then I thought, Hot Water Converter. Hmm, if they have a whole building dedicated to boiling water, then I could take as long a shower as I wanted! To my surprise, when I finally walked up to the building to read the sign, it said Health and Wellness Center. I soon came to learn that this building offered a whole host of things way better then a hot shower.
I had the opportunity to meet with the Director of the Health and Wellness Center, Kevin Murphy R.N., MSN. We discussed some of the wonderful services offered to the students along with exciting changes planned for the future. As Kevin Murphy described, “We offer a holistic model of care that is both Western and Eastern. We believe in treating the whole person.”
If you are a current student attending Farmingdale State College, then oh boy, you have a lot of free services to take advantage of at the Health and Wellness Center. Some of these opportunities include massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic services, yoga, relaxation seminars, and a Student Fitness Room. These nontraditional free offerings are indeed the best of the East meeting the West.
If your needs run more toward the traditional, then the Health and Wellness Center can also accommodate you in that the center offers a medical clinic, vaccinations, drug and alcohol treatment counseling, OBGYN services, over-the-counter medications (OTC), and a full-service laboratory. Kevin Murphy describes the Health and Wellness Center as, “Warm and accepting, with a welcoming staff that look forward to treating the students. Whether they are sick or stressed, want to get a massage or chiropractic treatment, we have services that can really benefit students and keep them healthy in order to ensure their academic success.” This positive energy can easily be felt by anyone who walks through the Health and Wellness Center door.
All services at the Health and Wellness Center are either free, at cost or given for a nominal fee, depending on the type of services rendered. The Health and Wellness Clinic accepts no outside insurance. Each department will make a referral when needed while maintaining strict confidentiality. According to Kevin Murphy, “We try to treat every aspect of the patient and not focus solely on medical diagnoses.’’
The staff of the Health and Wellness Center takes the importance of patient confidentiality very seriously. Their medical records are all electronic (EMR). Medical information is not released to anyone except to the patient. This practice extends to family members. Family or others are only given information if the student specifically documents who is to receive the information as well as what specific information is to be released. This allows students to be able to take advantage of services offered by the Health and Wellness Center, such as drug and alcohol counseling and OBGYN services discreetly. In this way the Health and Wellness Center is following its mission statement that it is “supporting the physical, mental, and emotional needs of students by adhering to the most recent evidence based guidelines, while at the same time offering complimentary services.’’
Some of the future plans for the expansion of the services provided by The Health and Wellness Center include the offering of CPR certification classes to students. Narcan training will also be offered. Each participant, after completing the Narcan training, will receive a free Narcan kit. Kevin Murphy states, “I am looking to bring as many free services to the campus for students while collaborating with outside agencies in the local area.” Recently the Health and Wellness Center signed an agreement with the Long Island Aids Coalition (LIAC). This agreement allows LIAC to come on campus to administer free confidential testing for sexually transmitted infections (STI). Since LIAC works under a grant, no explanation of benefits (EOB) statement would be generated through insurance. Although the Health and Wellness Center currently offers STI testing, this would be another option for students to take advantage of.
The Health and Wellness Center has also formed an agreement with Rite Aid Pharmacy to administer flu shots for all students and staff who have insurance. This is in conjunction with the Health and Wellness Center’s active existing flu campaign.
To better serve students, increase convenience, communication and enhance confidentiality, the Health and Wellness Center has plans to move from the current EMR system to an online patient portal. This portal would allow students to make appointments, receive test results, complete pre visit questionnaires, and sign consents and releases. This concept is state of the art and is the direction the medical field is heading toward as it relates to medical records.
Before leaving, I asked Kevin Murphy if there is any message he wishes to get out to Farmingdale State College students. He said, “I encourage students to come see us. For a long time, I think we were thought of as a clearing house for administration, but we offer a lot of nice free services. When we look at our satisfaction surveys, the people that come here love the services that we provide them. They really do!” I, myself, look forward to my massage appointment next month.