SEU switches to BSWH for medical services, HCC provides counseling

Back in May, St. Edward’s administration announced that the Health & Counseling Center (HCC) would defer students to Baylor Scott & White Health (BSWH) for health services amid COVID-19 concerns. This change was just one of many that St. Edward’s University implemented this semester in the midst of the pandemic.

Director of the HCC Dr. Vanessa Peña  explained that the conversation to switch over to BSWH began in 2019. Peña said that it was clear to staff and the university that the HCC was no longer enough for St. Edward’s students. Administration wanted to give students access to a facility that was better equipped to handle their growing needs. “That is where BSWH came into the picture,” Peña said.

Baylor Scott & White Health will now provide students with full wrap-around healthcare services such as physicals or immunizations. Peña recommends setting up appointments immediately to get accustomed to their system. Scheduling appointments must be done through the BSWH website. Further scheduling instructions are listed on the HCC website, but students can also contact the HCC Monday through Friday, 8 a.m to 5 p.m. for help.

Hilltoppers can now schedule telemedicine visits and have priority scheduling at BSWH which is located downtown, at 200 E. Cesar Chavez St., Ste G140. The Student Health Insurance Plan will be accepted at all BSWH clinics. Those with SHIP will only have to pay a $15 copay. “We…want students to know that it is ultimately their decision what provider they choose to engage with,” Peña said. She also acknowledged that students on campus are still inconvenienced with health services now being off-campus.

The original HCC was a convenient on-campus alternative for students who needed quick access to healthcare. This is no longer the case due to BSWH being three miles off campus, however St. Edward’s is offering free transportation to appointments which students can set up by contacting the HCC

Receiving counseling and mental health services on-campus is still a major concern. An Active Minds survey reported that 80% of college students said that COVID-19 worsened their mental health. They also reported increased feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety made their academic lives more stressful. Despite the changes, Peña states that the counseling services are still being offered on-campus. They will be prioritizing crisis and group support sessions. BSWH clinics will not be offering any mental health or counseling services.

“Health services – especially health and counseling services – are essential to college students…Convenience, cost and cogent health services are critical for students’ abilities to succeed in college,” assistant professor of psychology Dr. Moira Martin said. According to the New York Times, students who struggle with mental or physical health disorders are extremely vulnerable during these times and can often suffer in silence. 

Good mental health is vital and health centers should focus on much more than [a] sprained foot. Medical issues are only a part of it. I would hope that students would find encouragement for healthy habits and have health providers that provide personalized, individualized and compassionate care,” Martin said. 

For more information and instructions on how to get both health and counseling services, visit the Health & Counseling Center page on St. Edward’s University website.