Piedmont lacks on-campus health service for students

By ALEXANDRA SMITH

Staff Writer

With cold and flu season in full effect and new strains of the stomach virus and the flu this year, could Piedmont students be better prepared with an on-campus Medical Center?

Piedmont College contracted out its medical services to PrimeCare, a “quick-care” facility inside the Habersham Medical Center about three miles from campus.

According to the Piedmont website: “PrimeCare, Habersham Medical Center’s non-emergency clinic, is available to help you with those unexpected illnesses and injuries, especially when your primary care physician is unavailable. PrimeCare is not a walk-in clinic and patients are seen by appointment only. Limited same-day appointments are available. For a full-time student living on campus an office visit is free of charge (not including tests or medications). You must show your valid student ID.” 

Not being able to be seen as a walk-in is a huge set back for students. 

Linda Scott, dean of the nursing school, said, “The best way to keep illness from spreading is to been seen as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms.” 

Students do not have the ability to be seen right away and must wait for an appointment to be available. This allows more time for the illness to spread among students. When PrimeCare was called, the next appointment was available within 24 hours.

Scott said that setting up a clinic is quite expensive. Expenses include physician and staff salaries, equipment, malpractice insurance and more. 

Nursing professors are required to work in the field a certain number of hours per week. Scott said although this would be a way for the professors to get their hours, she feels that there still would not be enough people to cover a 24 hours a day 7 days a week clinic. 

The public relations director for Habersham County Medical Center did not return calls concerning how Piedmont and PrimeCare work together.

Michaela Gardner, a freshman art major, said, “I’ve actually been sick the past couple of days, but not severely enough to need to go to a doctor, so I haven’t been to PrimeCare because of the lack of time and the inconvenience. However, certain professors require a doctors note to excuse sick absences, and I find it unfair that there is no open medical aid on campus for minor cases such as that.”

Scott said that free flu shots are available to athletes and nursing majors on campus. Other students may purchase a flu shot a local pharmacy.