Creighton University’s student government has criticized the administration’s decision to eliminate the student health center and direct students to a nearby CHI Health clinic.

The student government passed a resolution last month that said, in part, that the closure of the student health center is “a shift away from the values that students at Creighton have come to expect from their leadership and institution.”

Donna Shahbazi, president of the Creighton Students Union, said by email that “the student body is facing a lack of transparency” from Creighton leaders.

Creighton spokeswoman Cindy Workman said working with CHI Health, which partners with Creighton in a variety of ways, expands the availability of health care for students. The students have a designated area at the clinic at 2412 Cuming St., she said.

And Todd DeFreece, a CHI Health administrator, said: “We closely monitor all of our patient satisfaction scores. Based on the surveys we’ve seen so far, the students coming to us have had a fantastic experience and are very satisfied with their care.”

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Shahbazi said the students are less concerned that they are being directed off campus to the CHI Health clinic just north of campus than they are about “discrepancies in service, care and overall misunderstanding of what the new clinic has to offer.”

Shahbazi, of Kansas City, Missouri, is a senior in health administration and policy and is on Creighton’s pre-law track.

The resolution cites numerous reasons for the student government’s displeasure. Among them:

  • Creighton sought no input from the students on the decision. The Creighton health center closed in late June.
  • Fees at the CHI Health clinic exceed those at the health center. Students with university-sponsored insurance, for instance, must make a $40 copay at the CHI clinic.
  • The CHI clinic doesn’t provide allergy shots and some other services.
  • Creighton moved mental health services to Markoe Hall, but students felt a greater sense of confidentiality at the old clinic. At the dedicated mental health clinic, it is obvious what patients are being treated for.
  • Appointments made through the CHI clinic can be inaccurate and can lead to wait times. Some calls go unanswered. The health center didn’t have those problems, the resolution says.

The student health center was on the lower level of the Harper Center, where the Creighton College of Business is expanding.

The CHI clinic in question is called the CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center-University Campus.

Workman said Creighton is working with the provider of the student health insurance plan to lower the copay for the next school year. CHI Health said the clinic is a one-stop shop for primary care, mental health care, physical therapy and pharmacy services.

Workman said that the CHI clinic has “extended occupational hours for greater appointment availability” and that the clinic serves walk-in patients, although there might be a wait.

Contrary to the resolution, Workman said, the student health center struggled to provide such availability. It is true, she said, that students can’t receive allergy shots at the CHI clinic.

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rick.ruggles@owh.com, 402-444-1123

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