Changes to Student Health Services for 2017-18

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Following the results of the student vote held in January 2017, the University of Washington Tacoma has changed its model for Student Health Services, successfully enhancing and expanding health care services for UW Tacoma students. The “distributive care model” provides students more ways to access health care through six CHI Franciscan Health prompt care facilities throughout the Puget Sound, as well as access to Franciscan Virtual Urgent Care, at no additional cost.

These changes took effect on July 5, 2017.

All UW Tacoma students who pay the Services and Activities Fee (SAF) now receive student health services at six Franciscan Prompt Care clinics: Bonney LakeBurienGig HarborLakewoodPuyallup, Tacoma

The Franciscan Prompt Care clinic located across the street from St. Joseph Medical Center, just up the hill from campus, is designated as the UW Tacoma clinic where students will receive priority treatment. The former Student Health Services clinic located in Laborer’s Hall on Market Street has closed.

These changes do no affect which students can utilize Student Health Services. All current SAF-paying UW Tacoma students have access to Student Health Services, even those who have health insurance.

The following FAQ provides more information on what this change means and why it was made.  


What services will be provided after this change takes place?

  • Current students will have access to all services currently provided at the on-campus clinic. (Click here for a list of those services.)  Instead of visiting the on-campus clinic, you will access these services at any of six Franciscan Prompt Care clinics.  
  • Current students will have access to Student Health Services 7 days per week at the Franciscan Prompt Care clinics;  clinics are open 8 am – 7:30 pm, Monday-Friday and 8 am – 4:30 pm Saturday/Sunday. (This is an 86% increase in open hours each week over the current clinic schedule.)
  • Current students will have access to 24/7 virtual urgent care at no extra cost; currently students utilize this service for a $35-per-use fee. Learn more about Franciscan Virtual Urgent Care here.
  • CHI Franciscan will continue to provide on-campus flu vaccine clinics, to participate in campus events and new student orientation and will provide at least one health education event per quarter.
  • Current students will have on-site access at clinic locations to many supplemental services (e.g. x-rays, ultrasounds, specialist consultations) that are currently available through off-site referral only. Students will need to pay for these supplemental services, as they do now, because they are not covered by the Services and Activities Fee. CHI Franciscan staff will continue to provide consultation about what supplemental services are covered by health insurance (if available) and/or about payment plans and charity care.


Why is this change happening?

  • In Autumn 2015, a group of UW Tacoma students and staff determined that UW Tacoma students could be better served if student health services were provided “…in the student’s home communities, via telehealth or telemedicine, or other unique delivery models.”  At that time, UW Tacoma was not able to contract with a health care provider who could offer services virtually or through community clinics. Beginning in July, this 2015 vision will become a reality.
  • Roughly 30% of UW Tacoma students utilized the on-campus clinic in 2015-16.  By providing access at more locations, on more days and for longer hours — plus offering virtual urgent care — we hope to increase the percentage of UW Tacoma students benefiting from this service.
  • The future of the Affordable Care Act is uncertain. If repealed, we anticipate that many UW Tacoma students could lose access to health insurance. Our on-campus clinic is already approaching its service capacity and it is not financially feasible to increase our clinic’s size or staffing. Franciscan Prompt Care Clinics have capacity to serve more students.


How were students consulted about this?

  • Student and Enrollment Services described the possibility of a realignment of student health services via email, the SI-411 line and ASUWT Chancellor’s line. SAES also funded a Facebook campaign and asked faculty to announce the proposed change in their classes.
  • SAES staff hosted three open forums, attended an ASUWT Senate meeting and met with the Services and Activities Fee Committee twice in open public meetings. CHI Franciscan staff attended all of these meetings as well.
  • SAES asked students to help decide the future of student health services via a vote. 187 students cast their vote: 58% voted in favor of changing from an on-campus clinic to a distributed model.