As UNC students and faculty continue to adjust to operating remotely, health services on campus have also made the transition to providing services online through telehealth.
Campus Health now allows patients to receive telehealth services for limited treatment purposes that do not require in-person appointments.
Ken Pittman, executive director for Campus Health, described the two ways in which students can access telehealth services.
“For telehealth at Campus Health, we will be using — as CAPS uses — HIPAA-compliant Zoom,” Pittman said. “Students are able to either call us and go through a screening process, or they are able to request through their web portal that they would like a telehealth appointment.”
This screening process, Pittman said, will require students to describe their reason for the appointment and consent to communicating with a provider virtually. It will also require them to disclose the state where they will be at the time of the appointment. This is because some states have waived licensing laws to allow medical professionals to provide certain services across state borders, Pittman said.
“About half the states in our country have waived their licensing laws, which means that a provider that’s sitting in North Carolina that is not licensed in, say, South Carolina, can do the telehealth visit and that’s OK,” Pittman said.
The current list of medical services that qualify for telehealth services at Campus Health includes: depression and anxiety; dermatological matters such as acne, rashes or other skin conditions; pink eye; conjunctivitis; seasonal allergies; rhinitis; sinusitis; upper respiratory infections; cold and flu symptoms; urinary tract infections; and certain gynecological services — such as birth control, vaginitis symptoms and contraception refills.
Pittman also said in-person visits at Campus Health are still available, and encouraged students to call before they visit the facilities.
“At this point, on the Campus Health side, we have the capacity among all of our providers to really see everybody primarily same-day,” Pittman said.
Allen O’Barr, director of Counseling and Psychological Services, said mental health services will also be available via telehealth.
He said that, like Campus Health, services are restricted for out-of-state students by state licensing laws, though emergency situations bypass these interstate discrepancies.
“We’re providing medication evaluations and medication consultations to people in North Carolina currently,” O’Barr said. "When we’ve got people who are seeking to initiate medication services who are not in North Carolina, right now we are not providing that.”
O’Barr also noted that the 24/7 CAPS hotline is still an available option for all students.
“Our after-hours, CAPS 24/7, is still completely up and running, so a student can call CAPS 24/7 if they are in distress and talk to a counselor, regardless of the state line issue,” O’Barr said.
Dean Blackburn, director of Student Wellness, said the services provided by Student Wellness will continue remotely, noting the importance of making sure students are adjusting in a healthy way.
“I think that students will be in a place where they will really be needing assistance,” Blackburn said. “We want to make sure that every student knows that we’re there and that we’re trying to adapt our services in a way that we can continue to serve everybody.”
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