University Health and Counseling Services

FAQ's Health Related for Parents/Family

My son/daughter has complex medical needs I'd like you to know about.  How can I make this happen?

We strongly encourage any such student to make an appointment with one of our nurse practitioners shortly after arriving on campus to gather a history and discuss care plans.  Sometimes such planning involves ensuring students are connected with local specialty and/or primary care resources such as endocrinologists, allergist, psychiatrists, etc.  Advance time is valuable to have past medical records sent, coordinate needed referrals, sign releases of information and schedule specialist appointments.  Please contact our Clinical Director at the contact number below se we can discuss your student's specific health concerns and how we might be able to help.

What health care supplies should I help my son or daughter pack so they’ll be prepared? 

Students can visit our waiting rooms without an appointment for acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil, cold lozenges, decongestants, and condoms.   We dispense or prescribe other over-the-counter and prescription medications as needed to students seen for office visits.   There are two  local drug stores (Hannaford and Rite Aid) in Gorham within walking distance to campus.  Closest to the Portland campus is Hannaford on Forest Avenue, but there are many other convenient pharmacies in the surrounding area.

 A brief list of some commonly used and needed supplies, especially during the cold and flu season includes:  tissues, sunscreen, a thermometer (an inexpensive digital one is fine), a daily multivitamin, gatorade (or other electrolyte drink), a small box of bandaids, antibiotic crème, decongestant of personal choice, and a cough syrup of personal choice.   Also, a meningitis shot is recommended for residence hall students, especially in their first year on campus.  A flu shot with us in October or November is a great idea too!  Health Services can provide these vaccines for a fee.

Students that have chronic medical conditions such as asthma or diabetes, should be encouraged to make an appointment with us to touch base and coordinate care if needed.  If your son or daughter takes chronic medications (such as inhalers, antidepressants, insulin, etc), they will often continue to get their prescriptions from their regular provider, especially if the provider is local or they don’t need specialized, frequent follow-up.   If your student needs to transfer care for their psychiatric needs to us, they will establish a relationship with a Counselor first and then be referred to a prescriber in Health Services as appropriate.

 I’m worried about my son or daughter because they haven’t sounded well for the past week when I’ve talked to them.  I keep telling them to go and be seen at Health Services! Can I call to schedule an appointment for them or should they just walk down? 

Great question!  Sometimes students can be hesitant to follow your advice when they’re away from home and it can feel scary to hear your student not feeling well when you’re not there to take care of them directly.  That’s just what we’re here for.   Please continue to gently nudge your student to call us for an appointment.  It’s always best for them to call for the appointment, because we will need to speak with them directly about their symptoms and we usually cannot accommodate walk-in visits.

My student called to make an appointment but did not get an appointment right away—instead they talked to a nurse.  Can you please explain this? 

Registered nurses with experience in college health call students before booking an appointment at Health Services.  The nurse will ask detailed questions in order to determine a best care plan which might include:  self-care advice, booking an appointment in one of our centers, or referring them for higher level care (e.g. if x-rays or emergent labwork is warranted).  This professional assessment helps us make sure we give the right kind of care to your student.  Students are always encouraged to call back if symptoms worsen or change.

My student has been getting immunotherapy (shots) for allergies at home.  Do you do these shots at Health Services?

We do not administer these shots at Health Services because according to recommendations by the American Academy of Family Physicians, facilities that administer these injections need to be ACLS qualified in order to provide this service safely.   We do not have the funding or volume to allow for the kind of training and equipment stocking necessary for this service.  There are local allergists close to both campuses that do offer these services.  Often student’s home allergists are able to transfer care/orders to these practices directly.  Please call for more referral information.

 My student will be covered under our private insurance company (e.g. Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Aetna, etc.).  How does billing occur?

Students who have paid the Health Fee have unlimited, free office visits at Health Services and 12 visits at Counseling Services (most students registered for 6 or more credits have paid the Health Fee).  Examples of services charged separately are labwork, medications, or supplies such as ace wraps, etc.  Payment of these fees is expected at the time of service or can be put on the student’s bill.  Itemized  receipts are available for submission to private insurance companies for reimbursement.  For information about the optional USM student health insurance, please see the insurance link on our homepage.

Do you need a parent’s permission to see/treat my student and will you inform me if my student was seen for care?  

Students who are 17 years old or younger need a signed consent form from a parent in order for us to see them for medical health care, except for certain diagnoses/conditions such as:   mental health care, substance abuse treatment, reproductive health care treatment or emergent treatment.  If your child will be less than 18 when they arrive, please stop by to presign one of these consents when you are on campus.  Otherwise, if your student comes to us for medical care (for conditions other than those outlined above), we will call you to get consent for treatment before we see them.

Health Services cannot share any information with you about your student’s health care when they are 18 or older due to a national law called FERPA, unless Health Services has the student’s written consent.  In emergencies such as when we have judged a patient’s physical or mental health to be in eminent risk of harm, we can and do contact appropriate relatives or support people with information.   Because we want to give your child the best health care possible and trust is essential to best treatment, confidentiality of our patients’ information is a central value in our practice.  In order to best support your student’s health care at this time of transition into adulthood and independence, it is always best to try to keep an open dialogue with them so that they will share information with you directly.

Thank you for your interest.  We hope this has been helpful to you.  Please contact us with further questions or concerns.