Hendrix shifts focus to counseling

BY: ALEX BERTSCH alexander.bertsch@go.mnstate.edu

On July 1, Hendrix Clinic ceased providing medical services, and now will offer expanded mental health care instead.

In the past, Hendrix had offered a variety of medical services, including laboratory services such as routine blood counts, urinalysis, throat cultures, STD cultures, pregnancy tests, immunizations, allergy injections, annual gynecological examinations, STD and HIV screening and treatment of minor illness, as well as pharmaceutical services.

The changes came about early in 2019 when MSUM identified problems with the financial model at Hendrix.

“The medical side of Hendrix has been going more and more and more in the hole,” Brenda Amenson-Hill, VP of Enrollment Management & Student Affairs Enrollment Management, told Student Senate at the time. “The financial model is not sustainable.”

A request for proposals was made; however, only one proposal was received. The proposal came from Family HealthCare, but it was considered infeasible.

“(The partnership) was the model that we all really wanted,” Kara Gravley-Stack, Dean of Students, told The Advocate at the time. “But the feasibility of it just does not seem like it’s going to happen.”

According to Gravley-Stack, the proposal would have required a $480,000/year operating fee, which would have left Hendrix medical services still running at a deficit.

Following this, the decision was made to work under a “Navigator/Case Manager” model, while placing an emphasis on expanding available mental health care options.

The new Hendrix Counseling Center has three full-time counselors providing students with short term counseling services.

“We do have another counselor, and she comes from the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center,” said MSUM Director of Counseling Angela Bellanger. “She’s trained in EMDR, so she handles sexual assault and trauma cases, and she’s here eight hours a week.”

Bellanger added that Longtime is a trained counselor and will sit down with students if none of the other counselors is available.

Students in need of counseling can fill out an online intake form in order to schedule an appointment with a counselor. Based upon this intake form, the Counseling Center will decide how best to proceed with the student’s care.

“(The online intake form) is brand new,” Bellanger said. “We just wanted to be a little more user-friendly, and students really like that. Rather than having to walk in and fill out all of the paperwork before an appointment, they can just fill out the intake form, and then get an email or a call to set up an appointment.”

The Counseling Center is always tweaking the intake form based on student recommendations, Bellanger said.

“There’s times where students will say ‘Well I have a girlfriend, but I can’t put that, because I’m not married, and I’m not cohabitating,’” Bellanger said, as an example of something they have changed on the intake form.

They have also added a disclaimer that intake forms sent after Hendrix closes will not be answered until the Counseling Center reopens, and if there is an emergency, students should call 911.

In addition to the changes in mental healthcare, Hendrix will offer help for students seeking medical treatment. Starting on Sept. 30, Hendrix will also have a Medical Services Case Manager, who will assist students in meeting their healthcare needs, including getting transported to medical appointments.

“We just set up an account with Doyle Taxi,” Bellanger said. “We’re hoping that the glitches are all worked out. Concordia has been doing this for a year, so we’re just hoping that it all works out.”

Bellanger also added that Hendrix will soon be able to provide psychiatric services through a Telehealth System. This will allow students to connect remotely with a psychiatric care provider, who can then prescribe mental health medications to students in need.

“I would like for us to be a little more visible on campus,” Bellanger said. “I would like for us to figure out how we can meet the students’ needs.”

At last week’s Student Senate meeting, Bellanger was asked about whether there would be first-aid care still available to students.

“Well, we have a first-aid kit,” she said, but she added that they do not have a nurse on staff.

Gravely-Stack also noted that, “Our health services was never an emergency space.”

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