COCC task force to assess student’s health insurance

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Alyssa Wilder

The Broadside

Imagine one of those icy nights on campus. You’ve got a thousand stairs to climb, but halfway up your foot slips and you start to fall. If you’re like millions of uninsured Americans, your first question might be, “How am I going to pay for this?”
Central Oregon Community College is forming a task force to assess the potential of a new on-campus clinic after Mosaic Medical recently approached Brandi Jordan, the Associated Students of Central Oregon Community College’s outreach coordinator. Jordan referred them to Alicia Moore, Dean of Student and Enrollment Services.
“Considerations include, but are not limited to, staffing impacts, physical space needs, budgetary impacts, student need, liability issues and related topics,” said Moore.
Mosaic Medical is a non-profit organization operating locally in Oregon with offices in Prineville, Bend and Madras.
While some of the activity classes require insurance, COCC does not require nor does it not offer a health insurance program, according to Gordon Price, director of Student Life.
The COCC website directs students to an off-site insurance company, Myers-Stevens and Toohey (there are also pamphlets at several locations on campus, including the CAP Center and in the Student Life Office in Campus Center). COCC employees, like Terri Botts of the Student Life Office, are careful to refer to this insurance as a reference only.
This “reference” insurance is accessible to students until the age of 22, according to their website. As the average age of COCC students is around 28, according to Price, this leaves many uninsured students without coverage if they need medical care.
“Students that are 22 and under can be covered by their parents’ insurance if they have it, although these days that’s certainly not a given,” Price said.
COCC’s website also directs students seeking medical and mental health care to the Deschutes County Health Department, with the stipulations that the services are limited. The website also directs students to Bend Memorial Clinic’s westside offices and St. Charles Medical Center.
Six years ago, according to Price, COCC had on-campus health services through Mosaic Medical. Services included acute care, immunizations, family planning and the office was staffed by a registered nurse.
“By the early 2000s, the contracted cost for the health care services increased to the point that it was no longer manageable and student government had to cut this service. The campus has not had on campus health services since then,” said Moore.
COCC has started the process of investigating the proposed health center.
“The Committee will decide a formal charge and membership for the task force at its meeting on Feb. 17. The hope is that the task force will have a final report by the end of the academic year,” said Moore.
Moore also stressed the financial constraints of implementing a new on-campus clinic.
“I am supportive of providing this type of service on campus, but realize that we also have need for other equally important services (e.g., child care assistance, services for Veterans and expansion of services for students at the Madras and Prineville campuses, among others). At the same time, we have limited budgets.  Having reports such as these will help the campus prioritize how dollars may be directed,” said Moore.

(Contact: AFWilder@cocc.edu)

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