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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Getting a runny nose just a part of being a college student who juggles school, a job and a social life.

So if a trip to the doctor is in order, new students registered for fall classes already have a primary care provider assigned to them at the UF Student Health Care Center. The center, located on Fletcher Drive, offers a variety of programs, from general medical care to mental health care.

All students pay $9.43 a credit hour this year as a health fee, which covers the cost of visits with a medical provider, said Toni Ratliff, associate director of SHCC.

Certain laboratory services, X-ray services, physical therapy services and physical exams are not covered by the fee.

The center also offers a student insurance plan to help cover the costs, and the plan is managed by Aetna Student Health. SHCC is not allowed to bill third-party insurance companies if students use outside insurance, but staff members are willing to assist students with their forms.

"We will help them fill out the paperwork to submit for billing," Ratliff said.

To make first-time appointments easier, new students can call 352-392-1161 and find out which team and provider they have been assigned, she said.

She said it is common for students who call the health care center to schedule an appointment for the same day.

SHCC is closed Saturday and open half the day on Sunday, but students can call the 24-hour phone lines for both mental health and primary medical care if they have urgent, after-hours medical questions.

"We can save the student from a long, costly ER visit," Ratliff said.

She said the busiest months for the center are October and February with Tuesday being the busiest day. Injuries are the top diagnoses.

"The age of this population is very active, and they're involved in intramural sports," Ratliff said.

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Many students also visit the center because of allergies, the flu, asthma, colds or respiratory symptoms.

Anxiety and depression-related symptoms are the top diagnoses at Student Mental Health Services.

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