Boynton clinics treat students’ illnesses

Amy Olson

Tucked away behind Coffman Union and the Basic Sciences Building — almost out of sight from Washington Avenue — lies one of the University’s most important buildings: Boynton Health Service.
Boynton Health Service provides health care to University students, staff and faculty and their insured family members. Its team of licensed medical staff includes physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and physician’s assistants who provide preventive health care and treat illnesses and injuries.
Sara Pedersen, Boynton’s marketing coordinator, said that Boynton’s clinics on the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses treat about 100,000 people annually. The St. Paul clinic, located in Coffey Hall, treats about 1,500 of those patients.
Many college students become responsible for their own health care for the first time as freshmen. While some students are still covered under their parents’ health insurance plans, others are not.
The University requires all undergraduate day-school students taking six or more credits each quarter to have health insurance or purchase the University-sponsored Student Health Insurance Plan when they register, which costs $216 per quarter. The insurance, also called hospitalization insurance, covers the cost of surgery, hospitalization and other services.
Pedersen said Boynton’s staff recommends students talk to their parents about which option will best meet their needs. Students should also know what type of health insurance they have and which clinics and hospitals accept their policies before emergencies arise.
The University-sponsored health insurance is separate from the $160 student services fee students pay each term. Approximately 49 percent of the student services fee goes to Boynton, which provides treatments such as general check-ups, HIV testing and urgent care visits.
Boynton provides other free services as well, including health education classes and stress management workshops. Other services, like physical therapy, mental health counseling, massage therapy and physical exams have fees ranging from $5 to $50. Students can get an annual dental exam and x-rays for $50.
But Boynton’s medical services extend beyond doctor’s visits. Boynton’s Stress Management Zone offers free regular health promotion activities each day of the week including yoga, meditation and Tai Chi. Last year, more than 500 students, staff and faculty attended the Stress Management Zone workshops.
Pedersen said Boynton trains students who live in the residence halls to become health advocates as part of its public health outreach. Health advocates learn basic first aid and have supplies of everything from Band-Aids and aspirin to condoms.