Letter from the Director, Ronald Berry MD
Over the past term, being a student at the University of Florida has obviously changed. In fact, essentially everything has changed because of COVID 19.
At the Student Health Care Center (SHCC) changes have been made to address this infection and implement the best possible ways to keep us all safe. One major change has been Telehealth.
Although you may have left Gainesville due to COVID-19, we have dramatically increased our Telehealth services so we can continue to meet your medical needs while you are away. Telehealth has been offered for a couple of years at SHCC, not many students utilized this service —until COVID-19. During the month of April, we provided medical services through almost 1500 Telehealth visits and are anticipating continued growth.
If you are located anywhere in Florida, we want to be sure you know Telehealth services from your SHCC are available to you. During this time as an active student, even if you are not enrolled in classes, you can access a Telehealth visit or an in-person visit with a provider and there will be no out of pocket cost to you. In other words, if your insurance does not cover the visit, there still will be no charge to you. I feel it is important for SHCC to help provide for your medical needs in this way.
If you are still in Gainesville or recently returned, we continue availability for in-person appointments as needed. These can be stressful times to seek care in-person, so I want to take this opportunity and share with you how we continue to keep everyone safe during in-clinic visits:
- Wearing masks are a must. Everyone needs to wear a mask while in our building. If you have your own mask, we ask that you bring it and wear it when in our building, but if you do not have one, we will provide one for you.
- Of course we have all heard over and over about social distancing. To facilitate this, in-clinic appointments are spaced further apart so waiting areas are much less crowded to accommodate social distancing.
- Using hand sanitizer is another detail frequently mentioned. SHCC has hand sanitizer available in all areas of our building and encourage everyone to use it liberally.
- Increased measures are also being taken to frequently clean surfaces in our building, both in the exam rooms after each patient and in the common areas several times throughout the day.
All of those actions are now standard at SHCC, but that is not all that’s being done. In early March, an integral screening process was implemented that allows us to swiftly respond to any potential cases. Here is what you might experience if you visit us in-person:
- A medical screener greets you in front of the building to review how you’re feeling. If there is any concern or you’re experiencing any cold or flu symptoms, which might indicate COVID-19, you will be asked to remain outside while receiving evaluation by a provider via Telehealth.
- If indicated, you will be guided around the outside of the building to a controlled area where a provider can talk with you in person, perform any physical exam needed and then do testing for COVID-19 if indicated. In March there were 250 students tested this way and another 80 in April.
- If the initial reason for an appointment was not COVID-19 related, the screener still verifies you don’t have concerning symptoms, checks your temperature and clears you to enter the building for your appointment.
Because of its success, we will be continuing the front door screening process over at least the coming year even after the risk of COVID-19 is significantly contained. We will continue to evaluate all of our processes at SHCC and as needed make continual improvements in safety measures to keep our neighborhood safe.
For more information about SHCC Telehealth visits, please follow this link: https://shcc.ufl.edu/services/specialty-care/telehealth-2/
For more information about COVID-19, please follow this link: https://shcc.ufl.edu/2020/04/14/coronavirus-covid-19/
And of course, answers to many of your questions about SHCC services and healthcare needs can be found through our main SHCC page:
Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns. We are here to serve you and do everything we can to try to keep you healthy and safe.
Your SHCC Director,