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Saturday, October 24, 2020

Virtual Visits

A new portal has launched for students to access services provided by the Student Health Center (SHC), such as virtual consultations for mental health assistance.

Some of the other services that are offered through the SHC include nutrition counseling, STI testing, birth control refills, and community referrals.

Beth Benne, the Director of the SHC, said in an interview on Zoom that COVID-19 has put some limitations to in-person services but the health center is doing the best it can virtually.

“We can’t do hands-on physicals, but we are now doing STD testing, we’re doing family planning, we’re doing labs,” Benne said. “We can do it as far as we can without hands-on treatment. At some point, yes, we have to refer out.”

Students can make appointments by calling the center and by accessing the Student Health Portal. To access the portal, students will need to use their Los Angeles Community College District login information.

The portal–which was implemented during the summer session this year–allows students to view the consent forms needed for consultations and their medical information online. It features accessibility to lab results, immunization records, appointment history and a chat log with SHC’s medical providers.

Prior to the first appointment, students will need to complete health and consent forms online. Students will also need to pay either a $16 or $19 student health fee to gain access to the center’s services.

“You have access to free mental health counseling,” Benne said. “You could join a free group, you get access to free medical consultations.”

Benne said that the center has created an interface with Quest Diagnostics, a company that performs the labs at discounted rates to work around virtual consultations.

Students can order the required labs through the college’s bookstore website. Shortly after, they’ll be sent an email with the receipts and the locations of nearby Quest locations where they can receive the labs.
Benne also said that though the labs aren’t free, the cost of the labs is incredibly low and the consultations are free.

The center is also offering nutrition counseling, STI testing, birth control refills, community referrals and mental help assistance on Zoom through one-on-one or group therapy sessions.

According to Loralyn Frederick, a SHC assistant, the counseling clinic has been busier since the start of the stay-at-home safety measures.

“We want them [the students] to know that if they have any type of concerns, physically, mentally, that we are available,” Frederick said in an interview on Zoom. “We are here.”

Bonnie Zahavi, another SHC assistant, said in an interview on Zoom that the staff is still trying to figure out how to navigate the new system, following their online training of it during the summer.

With the campus closed, staff must work remotely from their homes. Although it’s a learning experience, the portal allows both staff and students to adapt to previous COVID-19 restrictions.

“It’s something new for all of us here at the Health Center and for the students, but the program is very intuitive and I think it came in at a great time because we are working remotely,” Frederick said.

The SHC is open Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The center’s phone number is (818)710-4270. More information about the center can be found on the SHC’s website.

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