Student Health Services (SHS) will come under the management of Prevea Health, starting Jan. 3, 2022. This new partnership plans to bring many exciting changes to the services provided at SHS, but it has also raised some concerns amongst LGBT students, community members and allies.

Many new services will be offered through this new partnership, and the cost of most of the services that SHS will provide will be covered by the Student Health Fee, according to Lisa Raethke, the interim director of SHS. “The vast majority of services offered at Student Health Services will now be included in the segregated fee students already pay,” Raethke said. 

“Office visits, physicals, flu shots, some other immunizations, most lab tests, tb tests, allergy injections are now included…” According to Raethke. “In addition, students can access a nurse line 24 hours a day at no cost. When student health is closed, they can access telehealth visits for some conditions or the local Prevea Urgent Care (open into the evenings and on weekends) for no charge.”

Prevea and SHS hosted a panel on Monday, Nov. 15, to present the changes that will be made, as well as to give students and community members a chance to ask questions or voice concerns.

During the panel, Kristen Rubenzer, a family nurse practitioner and the supervisor of Prevea’s primary clinics that serve universities and companies in Prevea’s western region, confirmed that students who are currently undergoing gender affirming hormone therapy through SHS will be able to continue that care with SHS next semester. 

“For us, continuing gender affirming treatment is very important, as we know it is very important to all of you,” Rubenzer said. “We will be continuing current hormonal therapies, making minor adjustments as needed…To those seeking gender affirming hormonal therapy, we plan to attend events aimed at these goals next semester with the intention of being able to initiate hormonal therapy for new patients in the fall of 2022.”

LGBT students, staff and community members let their concerns be known about the 8-month lapse when SHS will not be taking on new patients seeking gender affirming hormone replacement therapy. 

One community member observed that all of these new changes will be “coming at the expense of one of Stout’s most vulnerable communities” and expressed concern because “this care is important and life-saving.” They then went on to observe that it feels like the trans community is being left behind with this new change. “I understand the desire for a seamless transition, but then I ask myself: seamless for who?”

It is important to note that through the duration of Prevea Health’s contract with Stout, it will be meeting with an advisory board which will have students represented on it.

Going into the second semester, students will be entirely under the care of Prevea Health. When asked what the most important thing that students should know about these changes, Raethke said, “If you have a health need next semester, give Prevea a try! They will be ready to serve you.” •   

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