Frequently Asked Questions

University of South Carolina
Student Health Services

What are the Hours of Operation?

    What are the Hours of Operation?
    Fall & Spring Semesters
    Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Sunday: 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    Counseling Monday-Thursday: 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

    Summer & Break Hours
    Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    Closed on university holidays

What services does Student Health Services provide?

    Medical Services - Center of Health and Well-Being (TSHC)
    Primary Care provides a wide spectrum of services that meet the primary and urgent health care needs of the student population. Examples of services include assessment and treatment of illness or injury, physical exams and consultations for health concerns.

    Women’s Health provides accessible and affordable comprehensive gynecologic preventive and problem-focused care for female students. Examples of services include well-woman visits, Pap tests and pelvic exams and birth control consultations and prescriptions.

    The sports medicine clinic provides evaluation, management and prevention of musculoskeletal injuries including, but not limited to, sprain, strain and fracture care; hand, tendon and nerve disorders; elbow and shoulder disorders and foot and ankle disorders.

    Physical therapy assists patients in the recovery process necessary after surgery, an injury or any type of musculoskeletal issue requiring rehabilitation.

    The laboratory accepts orders for lab tests from both Student Health Services and off-campus providers. In-house services include, but are not limited to, complete blood count, urinalysis, pregnancy testing, rapid flu screening and complete and basic metabolic panels. Additional testing is provided through a network of relationships with certified reference laboratories.

    The radiology department provides in-house radiological procedures by a registered diagnostic radiologic technologist and are interpreted by a board-certified radiologist. It also provides electrocardiograms, which are interpreted by a board-certified internal medicine specialist.

    The Allergy, Immunization & Travel Clinic provides allergy injections, immunizations and travel consultations.

    Counseling & Psychiatry: psychiatric services assists patients through consultation, psychotherapy and medication.

    The pharmacy provides professional, confidential and economical prescription services to students, faculty and staff at competitive prices. The Pharmacy fills prescriptions written by health care providers outside our campus as well those written by our providers.

    Counseling & Psychiatry: counseling services – Close/Hipp Building 
    Counseling & Psychiatry: counseling services feature a multi-disciplinary staff representing psychology, social work and counseling. Counseling staff provide psychological counseling, education and consultation to the university community, as well as clinical supervision for selected mental health graduate students.
    Its multidisciplinary team offers services that promote social, emotional, physical and cognitive well- being for people facing developmental or unplanned challenges. They believe that confidential and culturally aware professional relationships can facilitate the creative power of resilience, problem resolution, morality and self- determination. Services provided include, but are not limited to, general psychotherapeutic services, assessment, counseling (such as individual, couples and group therapy), consultation, outreach, prevention, education, biofeedback and training of counselors and psychologists-in-training.

    Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention & Prevention (SAVIP) – Thomson Building
    Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention & Prevention (SAVIP) provides advocacy and support services to students who have encountered interpersonal violence by providing crisis intervention, academic advocacy, guidance through the criminal and student judicial processes, medical advocacy, safety planning, assistance with temporary alternative housing and permanent relocation and on- and off-campus referrals. Sexual assault advocates are on-call 24/7. The office also works to prevent assault and violence through extensive outreach programs including the Stand Up Carolina bystander accountability program, Stand Up Carolina Hero Awards, Clothesline Project and many others.

    Wellness services – Strom Thurmond Wellness & Fitness Center 
    Wellness services support students’ academic success by providing programs and services that promote health and wellness, which include nutrition, physical activity, stress management, sexual health education and disease management services. It provides a continuum of care to students, in partnership with clinical departments, to give a holistic health and wellness care experience.

Where is Student Health Services located?

    Center of Health and Well-Being - 1401 Devine St., Columbia SC 29208
    Primary Care (third floor)
    Women’s Health (fourth floor)
    Pharmacy (second floor)
    Laboratory (first floor)
    Radiology (fourth floor)
    Nutritional consultations (first floor)
    Physical therapy (fourth floor)
    Sports medicine (fourth floor)
    Allergy, Immunization & Travel (first floor)
    Administration (fifth floor)
    Healthy Campus Initiatives (first floor)
    Financial Services Office (second floor)

    Thomson Building - 1409 Devine St., Columbia SC 29208
    Counseling & Psychiatry: counseling services
    Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention & Prevention

    Close/Hipp Building (fifth floor) - 1705 College St., Columbia, SC 29208
    Counseling & Psychiatry: counseling services

    Strom Thurmond Wellness & Fitness Center (lower level) - 1000 Blossom St., Columbia SC 29208
    Wellness student services
    Sexual Health (suite 112)

    Blatt Physical Education Center (main level) - 1300 Wheat St., Columbia, SC 29208
    Wellness faculty/staff services

    McBryde Quandrangle - F 1309 Blossom St. Columbia, SC 29208
    Public Relations and web services

How do I get to Student Health Services?

    Center of Health and Well-Being and Thomson Building
    The buildings are located side by side behind the Russell House Univeristy Union. Parking is available in the Bull Street Parking Garage located behind the buildings. If picking up a prescription, you can park in the garage for free for up to 30 minutes; show the parking attendant your receipt.
    The closest shuttle stop is on the Green Line stop #4 (Coker Life Sciences at Sumter Street behind the Longstreet Theatre).

    Counseling & Psychiatry: counseling services
    The closest shuttle stop is on the Red Line stop #4 (Horseshoe at Sumter Street right across from the Byrnes Building).

What is a “patient care team”?

    Based on the Patient-Centered Medical Home model, Student Health Services developed three teams (Pine, Magnolia, Dogwood and Oak) of staff members (medical providers, counselors, nurses, support staff, dietitians, wellness professionals, etc.) to ensure a fully integrated evidenced-based holistic approach to provide high quality care.

    While the patient care teams are based in the Primary Care area of the Center of Health and Well-Being, each patient care team has consultants from other areas within Student Health Services, including a staff member from the Counseling & Psychiatry and a Women’s Health consultant. The care team works together with the patient to provide the most comprehensive care possible.

Why are there four patient care teams in the Primary Care Center? Can I use any of them?

    Each of the three care teams (Pine, Magnolia, Dogwood and Oak) has physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and support staff. Students are randomly assigned to one of the three groups. We encourage you to continue to plan your appointments within the same group for the best possible, continuous care.

    You can view the three care teams on the Primary Care staff page https://www.sa.sc.edu/shs/aboutus/staff/care/.

How do I contact my patient care team?

    Each patient care team has its own phone number to call for questions or making appointments and a separate nurse line.

    Pine Care Team
    Phone: 803-777-8343
    Nurse Line: 803-777-8338

    Magnolia Care Team
    Phone: 803-777-1546
    Nurse Line: 803-777-8338

    Oak Care Team
    Phone: 803-576-5651
    Nurse Line: 803-777-8338

    Dogwood Care Team
    Phone: 803-777-3175
    Nurse Line: 803-777-8338

What is a primary care provider (PCP)?

    Your primary care provider (PCP) at Student Health Services is a clinician (physician or nurse practitioner) with training, experience and expertise in managing primary care medical problems. Your PCP is the person you should see for most of your health care needs in Primary Care.

Who decides who my primary care provider (PCP) is?

    Primary care providers (PCP) are randomly assigned by the computer except in a few cases where a person is already seeing one clinician on a regular basis or has requested a specific primary care provider prior to the assignments. The Sports Medicine physician is the PCP for all university intercollegiate varsity athletes.

Will I see the same primary care provider (PCP) every time I use Student Health Services?

    Your primary care provider (PCP) is the person you should see for most routine problems in Primary Care, but there are some conditions or needs that may arise when you will need to see a different clinician. For instance, for women's health issues you should contact the Women's Health clinic, and for any counseling needs, you should contact Counseling & Psychiatry.

Can I change the primary care provider (PCP) I'm assigned to?

    Yes, there is a simple way to change primary care providers (PCP), which may be the right thing to do for several reasons. A good person to talk to about changing providers is the clinic nurse, who can help you. You may contact the staff at the front desk in the Center of Health and Well-Being or by calling 803-777-3175 option six to request a change.

How do I find out which provider is my PCP?

    Log in to MyHealthSpace. Click on “Profile.” Your current primary care clinician, which is your PCP, will be listed. You may also find out by calling 803-777-3175 option six or by visiting the front desk in the Center of Health and Well-Being.

I don't remember whom I am supposed to see. What do I do?

    Log in to MyHealthSpace. Click on “Profile.” Your current primary care clinician, which is your PCP, will be listed. If you make an appointment online using MyHealthSpace for Primary Care, the available appointment list automatically starts with appointments with your specific PCP. The list then continues with available appointments with other providers on your care team. You can also call 803-777-3175 option six to find out your PCP by telephone.

What if I need to be seen today and my primary care provider (PCP) is out?

    You can still be seen today by a member of your primary care provider's team. Each team is composed of several clinicians, nurses and other support staff, and when one clinician is out, there are others to fill in for them.

What if I have an emergency and can't wait to see my provider?

    Student Health Services does NOT have an emergency room. If you have an emergency, you should call 911 or go directly to a local hospital emergency room. If Student Health Services is closed and you feel you cannot wait for us to reopen, there are also local urgent care clinics that are available as a resource: https://www.sa.sc.edu/shs/afterhours/.

Do I have to make an appointment? Can I just walk in?

    Your visit will be more prompt if you schedule an appointment, and you will be able to schedule at a time that is convenient for you. You can walk in for a visit, but when you do walk in, you will be given an appointment time to be seen and may have to wait for an opening in the schedule.

    Appointments can be made at MyHealthSpace: http://www.sc.edu/myhealthspace

How long will my appointment actually take?

    The length of time it takes to complete a visit varies depending on the reason for the visit. While most appointment lengths are about 15 minutes, you must add the time it takes to check in and do other tasks related to the visit, such as laboratory tests, X-rays or other procedures.

What does the student health fee cover?

    The student health fee pays for:
    • Flu shots
    • Office visits for the treatment of routine and chronic illness (excluding in-house specialty referrals, Physical Therapy and Psychiatric Services)
    • 10 individual counseling visits per academic year
    • Support groups and workshops on issues including anxiety, couples therapy, grief and loss, substance abuse, international student support, sexual assault and more
    • Preventive health screenings, including blood pressure and body fat percentage measurement
    • Individual exercise and fitness consultations
    • Individual nutritional consultations with a registered dietitian

    The student health fee does not pay for:

    • Allergy shots and other vaccines
    • No-show/did-not-keep-appointment fees
    • Radiology and laboratory services, EKGs
    • Prescriptions and over-the-counter medication
    • Physical Therapy (has an additional nominal office fee)
    • Physical exams
    • Psychiatric services (has an additional nominal office fee)
    • In-house Specialty Referrals (has an additional nominal office fee)
    • Individual counseling sessions over the initial 10 per academic year
    • Metabolic rate testing
    • Flu shots, allergy shots and other vaccines
    • Medical supplies used during the administration of services (bandages, sutures, etc.)
    • Travel consults
    • Minor surgical procedures and other procedures (IV therapy, breathing treatment, injection of medications, etc.)
    • Services received at any other hospital or clinic

What type of insurance is accepted at Student Health Services?

    Student Health Services can file claims for services rendered with the university-sponsored Student Health Insurance Plan and most other insurance carriers. We are not in-network for any insurance provider except the university-sponsored health plan. At this time, we cannot file claims with Medicaid or Medicare. For questions regarding insurance claims filing, please call Financial Services at 803-777-3174.

Why does the university require health insurance as a condition of enrollment for graduate students enrolled in nine or more hours, all graduate assistants and international students?

    Many universities across the United States require health insurance as a condition of enrollment. Research shows when students who are uninsured become seriously ill or injured, substantial health care debt, disability or both can seriously threaten their academic careers. This is why the university requires health insurance. For more FAQs about insurance, visit https://www.sa.sc.edu/shs/billing/insurance/faq/

What are the immunization requirements for students?

    The University of South Carolina follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College Health Association's (ACHA) recommendations regarding immunizations for college students. Immunization requirements must be met and on file at Student Health Services before a student can register for classes. Students should have their Immunization Record Form (https://www.sa.sc.edu/shs/forms and included in your acceptance packet) sent to Allergy, Immunization and Travel before their orientation date.

    Required immunizations:

    • Two doses of MMR (Measles, mumps, and rubella), or positive blood titer reports.
    • If you are < 21 years of age, you will need a meningococcal vaccine or to sign the decline on the front page of our Immunization Record Form. If your meningitis vaccine is more than five years old, please get a booster.
    • Tuberculosis Risk Assessment Questionnaire or submit a Tuberculosis Test done within the last year.

    Recommended immunizations:

    • Gardasil for students between the ages of 11 and 26
    • Hepatitis B
    • Varicella (chicken pox)
    • Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis (Tdap)
    • Meningococcal group B

    Immunization exemptions

    Students may be exempt from the above immunizations on grounds of permanent medical contraindication, conflicting religious beliefs or enrolling in distance education courses only. Proof of exemption status must be provided.

Can I refill an existing prescription on campus and where?

    Yes, the USC Center of Health and Well-Being Pharmacy can fill prescriptions written by doctors outside of Student Health Services. Also, we will be glad to call an outside pharmacy to transfer any remaining refills you may have on a prescription at that location. Please provide the pharmacy name, phone number and the prescription name or number if possible. Please allow 24 hours to complete the transfer. For more FAQs about the Pharmacy, visit https://www.sa.sc.edu/shs/pharmacy.

How is confidentiality assured at Student Health Services?

    All medical care at Student Health Services is confidential. Health care records are completely separate from all other university records. Student Health Services staff members confer with one another as needed to provide integrated medical care for you. Otherwise, Student Health Services will not release any information about you without your written permission, except for regulatory or quality assurance audits or as authorized or required by law, or as necessary in our judgment to protect you or others from a serious threat to health or safety.

    If a patient wishes to allow a release of information from his/her records, the Authorization for Disclosure of Protected Health Information is available on our patient forms page (https://www.sa.sc.edu/shs/forms/).

    If you have any questions regarding the release of protected health information, please email the Student Health Services Privacy Officer at shspo@mailbox.sc.edu.

How do I obtain medical records? Or send them to other facilities?

    To protect the confidentiality of your health information, written authorization is required before we can release your medical records. To obtain a copy of your medical records or send them to other facilities, you may download and complete the Authorization for Disclosure of Protected Health Information (https://www.sa.sc.edu/shs/forms/medical-release/) and bring it to Medical Records located in the Center of Health and Well-Being.

Do you provide excuse notes for classes?

    Student Health Services has no authority to excuse a student from class or from meeting other academic requirements. Upon a patient’s request, Student Health Services will provide students with validation slips indicating the date and time that the student presented for health care and any limitations their medical care may impose.

SUMMER AND SCHEDULED BREAKS

I am staying here this summer or over other scheduled breaks. Do I still have access to care through Student Health Services?

    If you are a returning student not enrolled in summer classes, you can use Student Health Services during the summer on a fee-for-service basis. If you are enrolled in summer classes, you are also eligible to use Student Health Services, and depending on whether you pay the student health fee, will pay a discounted rate for certain services. During other university breaks such as winter break and spring break, students are eligible to use Student Health Services.

Can I still fill prescriptions through the SHS pharmacy over summer break?

    Yes, you can fill existing prescriptions and submit new prescriptions over summer break.

What are the Student Health Services hours of operation during the summer months and university breaks?

    All Student Health Services offices are open 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. during the summer months and during university breaks (Sunday clinics are not available during this time).

What if I need medical care when Student Health Services is closed and/or I am not in Columbia?

    For urgent care needs: Follow up with an urgent care facility when you experience a problem that cannot wait until Student Health Services opens or when you are not in the Midlands area. For urgent care clinics in the Midlands area, visit www.sa.sc.edu/shs/afterhours.

    For urgent mental health needs: Call the Richland Springs Psychiatric Hospital Hotline at 803-434-4813 if you have an urgent need to speak with a behavioral health professional, or call 911 and report to the closest emergency room. If you live on campus, please contact the professional housing staff about the emergency.

    For all emergencies, call 911 or report to the closest emergency room for immediate evaluation.

THINGS TO REMEMBER!
Always bring your CarolinaCard with you to check in.

Allow enough travel time, whether it is on foot, by bus or car. If you are late, you may need to reschedule your appointment.

There are no-show fees for certain types of appointments. If you can’t make your appointment, please let us know as soon as possible.

If you would like us to file insurance for your visit, please bring a copy of your insurance card.

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