A Bloody Mess

Q: I’m a nursing student and when I was drawing blood on a patient yesterday, the tubing became disconnected and some blood splashed onto my arm above my gloves.  I washed it off right away.  Is there anything else I need to do?

A: Students exposed to another person’s blood run the risk of getting a blood borne pathogen (a virus or other agent that lives in blood).  Blood borne pathogens (BBP) include HIV and hepatitis viruses.  This is a common concern for health professional students, but can impact anyone.  If you have an exposure to blood on your intact skin, the risk of disease transmission is extremely low.  Immediate washing of the skin with soap and water should protect you.  If the skin is broken (cuts, abrasions, rash) or if the blood gets to a mucous membrane (mouth, eye, etc.), then you should see a healthcare provider for advice after cleaning your skin.  For more information, refer to the blood borne pathogen exposure document.  


Real to Reel Campus Choice Award Instructions – Read First!

As part of its ongoing collaboration with the Inspire USA Foundation – a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the health and well being of young people worldwide through the use of technology based, culturally competent interventions – the Ohio State University Office of Student Life launched an online film competition for OSU students last January.    

“Real to Reel” gave OSU students the opportunity to show off their creativity in promoting positive mental health messages while offering them the chance to win multiple prizes, including a grand prize of $1,000! We were thrilled to receive 7 outstanding videos.  The judges have cast their votes for the grand prize winners, but there is one major award left to be determined.  And that’s where you come in…

We’ve placed all 7 videos on our blog here and we invite the entire campus community – faculty, staff and students – to vote for the one YOU think is the best.  The video with the most votes will receive the 1st annual Real to Reel Campus Choice Award!  Cast your vote by posting a comment on your choice’s blog post.  Feel free to write a review or explain why you chose it.  You can comment on all of the videos, but only vote for one.  

The winners will be announced at our Preview Party and Awards ceremony in Room 150 of the Younkin Success Center on Tuesday, May 12th, 2009 from 5:30pm – 7:00pm.  Everyone is welcome to attend this celebration of our students’ creativity and dedication to positive mental health support for young people around the world!

Out of network, out of mind!

Q: If my health insurance plan considers the Student Health Center an “out of network” provider, is there some way that I can know how much my visits/tests/exams will be?

A: The cost of your visit depends on the complexity of your medical issue.  An initial visit can range in price from $40 to $195.  There are separate charges for any lab tests or other procedures that are performed.  We can provide you with general estimates for services that we provide, but the actual cost to you will vary depending on which insurance plan you have.  If you are covered by an insurance policy other than the Student Health Insurance plan there are a few steps you can take to get more specific information. 

  • Always carry a current insurance card or a copy of the front and back of a current card.
  • Call the customer service number on the back of the card, tell them you are an OSU student and ask if you have out-of-network benefits under your plan. 
  • Our Tax ID number is 311657245.  If you give them this number they will be able to give you an accurate quote of benefits.  If they tell you they will not cover your care here ask them where you can be seen in Columbus.  

If you decide to see us, you will want to register your insurance by bringing your insurance ID card to our Patient Relations Department on the 3rd floor of the Wilce Student Health Center (you don’t need an appointment).  We will make a copy and have you sign a medical information release.  You should do this once a year or if your insurance changes.   

If you don’t have any good choices for out-of-network healthcare, check out the WilceCare Supplement Plan.  It is only $187 for the entire academic year and provides you with coverage at the Student Health Center for office visits, lab tests, x-rays, physical therapy, and $500 in prescriptions.  Care provided outside of the Student Health Center (i.e. in an urgent care, emergency room, or a specialist’s office) would be covered by your other insurance plan.

If you have any questions or need help making your way through an insurance problem, our patient relations staff is here to help you.  You can stop in to see us on the 3rd floor of the Wilce Student Health Center or call us at (614) 292-0113.

Susan Henn

Manager, Patient Relations  

Hang Over Sloopy, Sloopy Hang On!

wikimedia commons

one drink of alcohol


Where's my liver? (CDC)

Q: My 21st birthday was yesterday. I went out drinking with my friends and now I have a horrible hangover. What kind of things can I do to get rid of it?

A: First things first… BuckMD does not support binge drinking in any way. Its advers effects on the body are numerous, and it can lead to poor decisions that have serious consequences for your future.

Now that the mini-lecture is out of the way, let’s talk about hangovers. They are not completely understood by the medical community. We have a pretty good idea that they come from a combination of dehydration, low blood sugar, and buildup of alcohol breakdown products in your system. Despite all the dubious home remedies out there – I’ve heard everything from more beer in the morning (a little hair of the dog that bit you) to those bogus pills sold in gas stations to McDonald’s fish sandwiches – nothing has been scientifically proven to cure hangovers.  However, a few things can help.

The first thing you can do is keep hydrated. Next time you’re at the bar, try to drink a glass of water on the rocks in between drinks. Also remember to drink a nice big glass before you go to bed. This will help counteract the dehydrating effects of alcohol.

The best thing to do on the morning after is replace the glucose and electrolytes that you have lost. This can be done with a glass of orange juice or Powerade (yes, BuckMD also has to support Coca-Cola products). Another thing to do is exercise. Some studies have shown that increasing tissue oxygenation through exercise has a beneficial effect on curing hangovers. It will also help you shed those extra pounds you’re gaining through drinking.

While these steps can help with a hangover, the only proven way to prevent one is to abstain or at least drink in moderation. More information about responsible drinking, the effects of alcohol and the local laws governing its use can be found at http://partysmart.osu.edu/.


Are you interested in a long term relationship?

Q:  I am a new student at Ohio State on student health insurance, and I am looking to start a long-term relationship with a family physician or internist here at Ohio State not just for acute illness. Should I find my doc at the student health center, or should I go to an off-campus primary care office? And would going to an off-campus office cost the same with student insurance?

A:  You can absolutely establish an ongoing primary health care relationship with one of our physicians, nurse practitioners or physicians assistant here at the student health center.  We all provide comprehensive primary care, including management of medications and any necessary testing, referrals to specialists and reviewing previous medical records to ensure appropriate continuity of care.  You can even have prescriptions from your previous health care provider transferred to our pharmacy.  

You will be scheduled with your designated health care provider for all routine follow up visits, and whenever possible for acute visits as well.  Obviously, when students are acutely ill, our first goal is getting them prompt evaluation and treatment, so you may be offered same day appointments with another health care provider if needed.  To learn more about our health care providers, visit our bio page

In general, it will be cheaper for you to come to the student health center if you have student insurance.  Your co-pays are waived for illness and injury related office visits and in general, you receive a higher level of coverage for ancillary services (lab, x-ray, physical therapy) performed within our facility.  Be sure to check with the Student Health Insurance office for details regarding coverage. 

What if I have a problem at Student Health Services?

We hope that every experience you have at the Student Health Center is a positive one, but we know that interacting with the health care system can often be confusing, frustrating and downright annoying – especially when you’re not feeling well.  So who can you go to if you have problems?

The Patient Advocate is here to help you!  The Patient Advocate is a resource person provided by Student Health Services for patients, their families, and other members of their support network.  Our current patient advocate is Kristen Kelly.

Kristen will…

  • act on your behalf to review complaints, concerns, inquiries, and needs
  • respect and maintain your confidentiality at all times
  • point you in the appropriate direction
  • support you
  • assist you
  • encourage you
  • alleviate stress
  • listen to you
  • understand where you’re coming from

Kristen is committed to becoming involved and focusing on…

  • Improving communication
  • Accessing information
  • Addressing concerns
  • Answering questions
  • Resolving difficulties
  • Scheduling problems
  • Staff courtesy
  • Emotional support
  • Treatment related issues
  • And anything else that happens

You are welcome to contact Kristen in person, by telephone at 614-247-1834, by email at shs@osu.edu, or in writing at: Kristen Kelly, 1875 Millikin Rd., Columbus, OH 43210

Can any student use the Student Health Center?

One of the most common questions we get from students is whether or not they can use Student Health Services if they don’t have Student Health Insurance.  Here are the basics:

  • ALL enrolled students are eligible to use Student Health Services, regardless of your insurance coverage.
  • Having the university’s insurance program (SHIP) is NOT required to be a patient here.
  • Your eligibility begins 7 days before the 1st day of classes, and lasts until the night before the next quarter begins (so breaks are included).
  • You also remain eligible for one additional quarter after graduation or leaving school, but you need to be sure to purchase the off-term coverage from Student Health Insurance or alternative coverage.  If you don’t, you’ll be responsible for all charges.   
    • Example 1 – You are enrolled summer quarter, you take fall quarter off – you can still use SHS until winter quarter begins.
    • Example 2 – You graduate spring quarter – you can still use SHS until fall quarter begins.
  • Student Health Services at Wilce is the preferred provider for that plan.
    • We bill directly for you to the SHIP.
    • Your best coverage benefits are for services at Student Health.
  • How does it work if you have other insurance?
    • SHS can bill to them directly as well, but you must register your plan at the Health Center every year.
    • Check with your insurance company about how they will pay for services here.  We are considered “out of network” for most plans.
    • Even if you choose not to see our clinical staff, the SHS pharmacy does accept a number of prescription insurance plans.  Call the pharmacy at 292-0125 or stop by to find out more.
    • Our lab and radiology areas can also process orders from your hometown doctor.  
    • All students are required to submit proof of health insurance during registration to be enrolled.  Soon, with the updates of the Student Information System, we may be able to use that information here at Student Health.  Until then, you must re-submit your insurance info to SHS to allow us to bill your insurance company on your behalf.