Student health has been one of the top priorities of our administration. In September, we established the Student Health Advisory Council (SHAC) to communicate and advocate for the improvement of student health services. As part improving student experience, we worked with the university to prioritize a comprehensive review of the Colonial Health Center (CHC). Today, the Student Association is pleased to announce changes to the Colonial Health Center based on student voices.
Changes to the Insurance Requirement
Previously, the cost of the student health insurance plan was nearly double that of our peer institutions. Based on feedback from SHAC, students, and groups like Care for GW, the University is moving to a waiver insurance model, reducing the cost of the student health insurance plan from $4,103 to about $2,750 . The new model will allow students with health insurance that meets coverage standards to keep their current plans, while making health insurance more affordable for students who need it.
Eliminating Barriers to Mental Health Care
In the past, students only had access to six free stepped-care counseling sessions. We are excited to announce the elimination of fees for the short-term mental health counselling model offered at the CHC. Removing charges for individual stepped care counseling sessions will guarantee that all students have access to mental health care, regardless of their ability to pay.
Counselling services will also be expanded to the Virginia Science and Technology Campus, providing support to graduate students in more than 20 degree and certificate programs.
Installation of an Electronic Health Record System
The new Electronic Health Record (EHR) system will improve the quality of care students receive at GW through modernizing the center. HIPAA and FERPA compliant, the new EHR will ensure greater protection of privacy. Through EHR, students will be able to utilize a online portal to make and cancel appointments, reducing the incidence of costs incurred for missed appointments. With the new system, physicians are empowered to provide more personalized care and reliable prescribing of medication.
Health Promotion and Education: Public Health and Dietitian Services
A strong focus on public health and preventative care is essential to fostering a healthy community. A new staff member will be hired to oversee the strengthening and expansion of current health promotion and education services and initiatives. Along with offering new dietitian services, these developments will help our university move towards cultivating a more healthy campus community.
With these sweeping changes, we envision a healthier student body that is better supported and cared for by the Colonial Health Center. Through SHAC, the Student Association will continue to advocate for an improved student health experience.
Peak Sen Chua and Sydney Nelson
Student Association President and Executive Vice President
Reed Elman Waxham and Anna Silverman
Student Association Co-Directors of Student Health Services