Despite not being allowed on campus to access in person health services, the estimated 30,250 students registered at Pasadena City College this fall are still required to pay the Student Health Fee.
The Student Health Fee charges each student $21 in addition to what they are paying for their classes. Typically, this allows PCC students to have access to clinical care and mental health services at the Health Center on campus. Due to the COVID-19 induced shutdown, students are no longer able to schedule in-person visits with campus health professionals, and are now limited only to virtual Telehealth appointments.
These Student Health Fees are required due to a California State Education Code law. According to Dr. Quinn Tang, the director of Student Health Services, the fees are required due to different components of the law that require California community colleges to offer these services.
“In terms of waiving the fees, it’s not up to us,” he said.
Tang said clinical care services include health appraisal, managing disease transmission, emergency care, and first aid. Mental health services are also offered to students. Tang said these services provide students with access to personal counseling, support for victims of sexual harassment, crisis management, and stress management.
“Student Health Fees pay for clinical, preventive and mental health services whether offered in-person or remotely,” Tang said. “Services can be delivered using various formats, as long as it falls under clinical-preventive and mental health services.”
Section 76355 of the California State Education code states that it is the governing board of a district maintaining a community college that may require community college students to pay a fee. The PACCD Administrative Procedure Manual has more information on the board policy and who is entitled to waive the fee. The manual explains how student health fees can be exempt for certain religious purposes, apprenticeship programs and part-time students.
Physician of Record for Student Health Services, Dr. Ann Walker, said that a lot of the in-person visits consisted of evaluating information and coming up with advice.
Although Walker admitted that this is more comfortable when you are able to do it face to face and in person, she explained that these virtual visits with students have allowed her to continue providing them with treatment.
“The good news is we are dealing with mostly a young population that is mostly healthy,” she said. “Most of the problems they get into are things that are pretty amenable to Telehealth treatment, so we can do a lot of things we normally do.”
Walker said most of it is helping people put medical problems into perspective whether they are doing it by phone or zoom and that the clinicians can usually gather enough information to build a framework of what they need to consider if the student needs to get outside care.
Tang explained that students can also use Telehealth Student Health Services for health clearances. Staff can also call in a prescription for students depending on the circumstances.
“We’re here to try to help the students in every way possible using the available Telehealth means we have accessible to us,” Tang said. “One of my nurses shared that the student population has been more than grateful for the Telehealth services since many of the community health facilities are impacted by COVID.”
However, Senior Clerk for Student Health Services, Daisy Huynh, said that many students can’t get access to their private insurance due to COVID-19 restrictions and rely on their services for program clearances.
The Student Health Services department also regularly sends out health awareness emails and posts health updates on the PCC website. Student Health Services are readily available during business hours Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Fridays 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Students can email firstname.lastname@example.org or they may call 626-585-7244 to leave a message.