Section: Opinion

Staff Editorial 11/12/15: Health center care costing more than it’s worth

Back in October 2014, the James D. Cox Health and Counseling Center opened to much fanfare. The gleaming white building on Scott Lane was long overdue: a central nursing station, more exam rooms and new equipment were improvement to Kenyon’s medical facilities, previously housed in the cramped and makeshift offices of Sparrow House.

But as the Health Center attracts more and more students — with Kim Cullers, nurse practitioner and director of the center seeing upwards of 60 patients a day — it’s become clear that staff are overworked and students underserved.

The fact that Kenyon students pay more for its mandatory health and counseling fee than do students at each of the Five Colleges of Ohio — Oberlin, Denison, the College of Wooster and Ohio Wesleyan University — combined and still cannot get convenient care is absurd.

Students at Denison can visit their health center around the clock; Oberlin’s health center has weekend hours. The lack of either of these at Kenyon’s health center is inconsistent with the kind of 21st-century liberal arts college that the administration wants the College to be.

Granville, home of Denison, and the city of Oberlin are no metropolises, of course. So it’s more worrisome that the only health facility in Gambier is offline at night and on the weekends. The reality of rural life forces students to find a ride to Knox Community Hospital in Mount Vernon and likely incur more cost than they would at Kenyon’s health center.

The College seems to be taking a step in the right direction by discussing a 24/7 transportation service to KCH. But most medical needs students may have on nights or weekends would better be served by a health center than a hospital.

Kenyon needs to reexamine how it provides medical services. Any of the other Five Colleges of Ohio offer services that have either cheaper up-front costs and/or more convenient hours. The College should take decisive steps to ensure the form of the Cox Health and Counseling Center fits its function.

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