New health-care option now at Coffman

Bryce Haugen

On Monday, a storage closet in Coffman Union turned into a clinic.

MinuteClinic-Coffman provides University faculty, staff members and students with a new health-care option for quick treatment of minor medical conditions, such as strep throat and ear infections. It also performs quick cholesterol screenings and vaccinations on demand.

At 1 p.m. today, University officials and officials from MinuteClinic, a Minneapolis-based company, will cut the ribbon on the company’s first college location.

“It’s an easy place to get care,” said Karen Chapin, the University Office of Human

Resources health programs manager. “You don’t have to get an appointment, and your visit lasts about 15 minutes.”

Built inside Coffman’s Commuter Lounge, MinuteClinic resembles an elementary school nurse’s clinic, with a small check-in lobby and examination room.

Since its opening Monday, two patients have used the facility.

Chapin said MinuteClinic-Coffman will be open to the public and students but will be most helpful for faculty and staff members with the U Plan, the University-subscribed health-care plan.

Since January, U Plan subscribers have been able to go to MinuteClinic’s other metro clinics, in suburban Target Stores and Cub Foods locations. Last summer, the Twin Cities Student Unions Board of Governors endorsed the opening of a clinic in Coffman Union.

Because MinuteClinic-Coffman is a joint venture between the company and the University, the University might need to contribute financially, Chapin said.

“We hope it will be funded by people who go there,” she

said. “However, if we don’t have good participation, the University may end up providing some funds.”

MinuteClinic is a cheaper option for U Plan subscribers, said Sheryl Bartholow, the certified nurse practitioner who works in the clinic.

“We’re providing the same service for 10 percent to 50 percent of the price, depending on your insurance,” she said.

The new Coffman Union clinic sounds great, said Rene Jara, a professor in the department of Spanish and Portuguese. Should illness strike, he said, he will gladly use it.

“It’s not hard to get sick, especially when you’re too old, like me,” he said.

The new clinic will not necessarily be helpful for most University students, said Dave Golden, the Boynton Health Service director of public health and marketing.

“For students that are paying the Student Services Fee, for the most part, they would end up paying out of pocket for services they can get at Boynton for no expense,” he said.

Chapin said students who have family insurance coverage or the University’s Student Health Benefit Plan can still use the clinic for a low price, but Boynton makes the most sense for most students.

University students interviewed Tuesday said they were unaware of the new clinic.

“I haven’t heard about it,” first-year student Hannah Piper said.

Students haven’t heard about it, Chapin said, because the education efforts have been directed to U Plan subscribers and not students.

“We’ve got a pretty positive response about it,” she said. “The faculty and staff I’ve talked to seem pretty enthused.”

MinuteClinic-Coffman is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. It is in the Coffman Union Commuter Lounge.