UHS Decides Against Closing Summer Services

University Health Services has decided not to implement a plan to close Stillman Infirmary and after-hours urgent care this summer, according to a letter sent by UHS Director David S. Rosenthal last Wednesday.

The letter thanks the College, Summer School, and summer program leaders for their input on the plan, and it continues to say that “implementation of this plan will not occur for at least one year.” Both the Stillman Infirmary, UHS’s ten-bed inpatient care center, and after-hours urgent care now operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, according to the UHS website. After-hours urgent care provides advice and treatment for physical and emotional health issues that require immediate attention.

The Infirmary is for students whose condition is not serious enough for hospitilazation, but who are too ill stay in their own residences. The Infirmary is also the primary on-campus treatment facility for students with acute alcohol-related illnesses. The plan was originally proposed because of limited need for the facilities during the summer, but is no longer being considered for this summer.

In April, UHS informed Harvard’s schools of the plan, which would have closed the infirmary and after-hours urgent care between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m. over the summer. After-hours calls to UHS would have been forwarded to a clinical triage service, which would have either given the patient advice and recommended a follow-up visit or told the patient to visit the nearest emergency room.

The proposed closures would have had “no impact” on workers at UHS who belonged to the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers, according to union director Bill Jaeger.

According to Rosenthal’s letter, UHS made the decision not to implement the plan “after a number of concerns were raised about communication and coordination with the various summer programs during the consultation process.”

The letter said that UHS will continue its discussion with the schools and summer programs this fall.

University spokespeople Nanci Martin and John D. Longbrake declined to comment further.

—Staff writer Samuel Y. Weinstock can be reached at sweinstock@college.harvard.edu.


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