At the start of this semester the Counseling and Wellness Center (CWC) expanded the medical services provided for students as the result of a partnership with University of South Florida (USF) Health. This extensive healthcare group services students at various USF satellite campuses. Since the CWC sees USF Sarasota-Manatee patients as well as New College patients, students from both schools will benefit from this partnership. The contract for this partnership, facilitated from Dr. Joe Puccio at USF Health, renews annually. Dr. Anne Fisher, program director at the CWC, has worked on getting this new program for many years and feels that it will greatly benefit the students. Fisher stated that the CWC will become more cost-effective under this new program lead by Dr. Puccio. This new partnership also brings electronic medical records to the CWC, which provide a safer, more secure method of maintaining students’ medical records.
These changes affect the students as well as the CWC. Should a student need any sort of medical service, they need to bring their insurance card with them to the appointment. If a student comes to the CWC without their insurance card they will be seen, but certain tests may not be free. Any kind of general medical visit will be free for students who do not bring their insurance card with them, but certain tests like a Physical Exam or a Well Woman’s Exam will cost $30 and will be billed under self pay. Dr. Fisher explains that the insurance works as method of putting money back into the CWC. Any charge that the CWC makes towards a student’s insurance company, 90 percent will go to the CWC and 10 percent will go to USF Health. Dr. Fisher also ensures that students will not be charged without their consent, and will have the option to choose if a payment option may arise.
Thanks to the Health Fee that comes up on the bill each semester, students have access to any general medical service.
“The health fee that students are still paying is considered the co-pay, so students don’t actually give us any money,” Fisher said.
Certain specialty services may cost minimal fees, but that depends on a student’s insurance. Allergy shots and immunizations are a part of these low-cost services. An expanded access to trans-health options comes with this new partnership. Dr. Fisher believes that this will provide trans-students a safer option for obtaining care.
“[Dr. Puccio] is here every other Monday and he will be willing to do trans-care,” Fischer said. “We’re going to be able to add hormonal therapy and supportive therapy and a variety of other things.”
Finally, the CWC welcomes a new nurse practitioner Dr. Kripa Varghese, DNP, FNP-C, as another part of this partnership. Dr. Varghese works at the CWC on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Students can call ahead of time and schedule an appointment to see her at (941) 487-4433.
The CWC is located across Bayshore Road from the library and adjacent to B Dorm. To find out more about the CWC, go to their website at ncf.edu/cwc for a more detailed look at the various medical and counseling services offered.