The Medical and Counseling Care Center plans to hire additional staff as they struggle to accommodate the needs of students and faculty.
Cindy Gravitt, office manager of the MACCC, said the staff has had about 40-45 patients a day, but can only handle about half that number. The clinic has had to turn students away or refer them to other medical resources in the Abilene community.
“It breaks our hearts that we have to [turn patients away], but we want them to know they are important to us,” said Steve Rowlands, director of the MACCC.
The MACCC staff also began charging a $40 fee for no-shows in order to bring accountability to the students who miss appointments and therefore are withholding care from their fellow students.Students have up to two hours prior to their visit to reschedule or cancel. The fee also applies to appointments with psychiatrist, Dr. John Casada.
“We all know that the more students we turn away, we’re gonna lose some of that trust, so we’re really working hard to kind of balance that,” Rowlands said.
The clinic is operating with only one nurse practitioner and one full-time nurse. The clinic just hired a part time nurse who works two days a week and is looking to hire a full-time secondary nurse.
“Oftentimes [the staff] is working long hours or working straight through lunch,” said Rowlands. “The workload on the one nurse we have is pretty extreme, so we need to supplement that. Two nurses and two nurse practitioners would be ideal staffing.”
One of the main reasons for the increased demand, Gravitt said, is proportional to the increase in overall enrollment and the clinic now services faculty and staff.
Positive test results for the flu started on the second day of the school year. Though the number of weekly diagnosed cases has decreased, the flu is still going around.
“Flu vaccinations are in, so students can look on MyACU for the most effective way to receive one,” said Gravitt.
The main challenge in hiring new medical staff is that the nurses and nurse practitioners are employed by Hendrick Provider Network.
“The medical field is pretty stretched in Abilene already, so even the hospitals are having difficulty with staffing,” said Rowlands. “The clinic is interested in somebody who has the right personality for us, that is skilled and that is a professional and is a good team player.”
One resource available to students through the MyACU Quicklinks is the Wildcat Patient Portal. The portal is a way for students to make appointments, view their immunization records and fill out forms online before they visit the clinic for service. They can also message their provider with any questions or concerns under the confidentiality of a secure medium.