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Health & Wellness Center reopens after staff shortage forced close

The Health and Wellness Center is open again after the retirement of the former staff nurse practitioner halted operations. (Preface file photo/ROBERT RESSLER)

The Health and Wellness Center is open again after the retirement of the former staff nurse practitioner halted operations. (Preface file photo/ROBERT RESSLER)

By: ASHLEY KATLUN
Staff Writer

The Health and Wellness Center will begin providing regular services to students this week. Since the start of the spring 2014 semester, the center had been turning students away while the search continued for a permanent nurse practitioner to replace Laura Hieronymus, the center’s former part-time nurse practitioner who retired at the end of the fall semester.

The Health and Wellness Center will begin seeing patients with more than one nurse practitioner on staff according Kari Andert, clinic operations director.

“I want to say there’s going to be five or six of them to fill in the spots. They are going to be part-time,” Andert said.

The clinic is also looking to expand its hours in the near future to provide more convenient opportunities for students to utilize its services.

“We are looking for, in the future, to be open more, let’s say open a little longer for evening hours for students who take night classes and maybe some weekend hours,” Andert said. “We have [a nurse practitioner] in mind that is wanting to do an evening clinic and a weekend, like a Saturday day clinic.”

Andert hopes that the extended hours will bring more students to the clinic. A unique aspect of the Health and Wellness Center is that students don’t need health insurance to use its services.

“Most of our students that come here do not have insurance,” Andert said. “We don’t take insurance. If they have insurance they can still come to us. We charge to the bursar account or they can pay cash. We don’t take credit card or debit card, but it’s really convenient for a student, who lets say, has strep throat and needs a strep screen and then they need a prescription. There are some students who don’t even know about us, and then there are some that use us every other week.”

In the meantime, the official Health and Wellness Center hours will remain from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. They expect to begin seeing patients again by the end of January.

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