Baylor health services remain open during pandemic

The Baylor health-center is holding in-person and video appointments for students seeking medical help. The counseling center and physical therapy sessions are also offering online appointments. Brittney Matthews | Multimedia Editor

By Vivian Roach | Staff Writer

Baylor health services remain open and running throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, the health center, pharmacy and physical therapy center are open and offering in-person appointments for any unrelated upper respiratory health issues. They are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Every patient will be screened for exposure, travel history and symptoms before in-person appointments. All staff are asked to wear gloves and staff and patients are asked to wear masks.

Those who need to transfer prescriptions to a local pharmacy may do so by bringing their medicine to the intended pharmacy it will be sent. The pharmacist there can contact the Baylor pharmacy to initiate the transfer. If the student is out of refills, their local pharmacy should contact the Baylor pharmacy for an electronic refill request.

Dr. Sharon W. Stern, Baylor health services medical director, said a sick clinic is being run on the first floor of the SLC for COVID-19 testing.

“It is not ideal, but we have an area blocked off, as a separate entrance,” Stern said. “Some of the time we have been working out of the tent outside. Due to the weather, the makeshift clinic has been brought through the side door though.”

Although there has been less traffic through the health center, Stern said it seems that people are utilizing the center’s resources. She said there is a fairly good demand for people who want to be tested, either they’ve been in an area and they’re symptomatic, or they’ve been exposed to somebody who has symptoms.

Telemedicine appointments, a HIPAA approved video-conferencing tool used by doctors and their patients, are also being offered from the health center for any patient in Texas.

Stern said the physical therapist is open for tele-health appointments, a technology similar to tele-health. Appointments can be scheduled by calling the health center to schedule.

“It is very different for physical therapy, but he is very open to doing it. He has all the tools in place, just need to make it happen,” Stern said. “With telehealth he can demonstrate how to do an exercise for instance and get a better visual on any injury.”

The counseling center is not open for in-person appointments but is offering a range of resources to students. Students can receive counseling by phone or video conferencing.

Another option for students to use on their own is TAO Self-Help, an online resource for mental health. The platform helps manage anxiety and uses mindfulness tools.

Teran Yaklin, associate director of clinical operations, said for students that are out of state, “we are getting lots of information from other states about in-state resources, and we’re putting together a database so when students do call from out of state we can at least give them some of those resources in their state.”

The counseling center is informing students and providing resources through their social media to help normalize the pressures and anxieties of navigating through the constant changes.

“Last thing we want is for people to feel disconnected from their support, for a lot of people Baylor is their support, their home. We want to make sure we are still a Baylor family,” Yaklin said.

Stern said health center’s approach is hugely a community effort, and Waco is no exception. A nurse in the health center has made cloth masks for the staff, and quilting groups have gotten together to support the effort and make masks as well.

“Were still on the up-slope and many of us are anticipating it will get a lot busier before it quiets down,” Stern said. “At this point most everyone is okay and able to get some supplies, we have had people donate supplies or who plan to donate supplies.”