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UHS Plans to Extend Care to Dependents

By Samuel Z. Goldhaber

The University Health Services (UHS) may offer a prepaid medical care plan to dependents of all students, faculty and employees by January 1973.

Preliminary results of an 11-question survey sent to faculty and employees indicate that 80 per cent are interested in joining this proposed plan, with UHS providing complete medical care.

Dr. Warren E.C. Wacker, director of the UHS, said, "My predilection would be to go ahead and do it, no sooner than a year from now. The population would probably be around 12,000 who are interested."

UHS currently oversees more than 22,000 students, faculty, and employees on a regular basis.

Extending medical care to dependents would necessitate establishing a pediatrics and an obstetrics-gynecology service. "There's no way to get pediatrics and OBGYN in here without making some changes," Wacker said. "We're looking at the space for possible alterations to gear up for increased utilization."

Dead Space

"There's an awful lot of dead space, as opposed to usable space," Wacker explained. He said he would like each physician to have two examining rooms, because physicians at present waste time while patients are undressing and dressing.

Wacker also wants to remodel the waiting area for the walk-in clinic. "Lots of times, you look at that waiting room area and get very discouraged," he said. "We could separate it off so it wouldn't look as busy. The smaller waiting room--a little less open and a little more decentralized--is better."

Children will get their own waiting area. "Kids need a different kind of waiting room, with a playpen and a bunch of toys," Wacker said.

Of the almost 800 questionnaires sent out, about 50 per cent have been returned so far. Wacker said he received a list of the married students last Friday and plans to send them 400 abridged questionnaires, asking only if they would subscribe to a prepaid family medical plan.

Some questions in the survey asked about utilization of and satisfaction with UHS. These results have not been tabulated yet. However, in answer, to another question, more than 80 per cent of the respondents said they are interested in prepaid dental care.

Part of the impetus for extending care to dependents comes from the underutilization of Stillman Infirmary, which is usually never more than half full. "The resources here are quite good to do something about medical care delivery," Wacker said. "But there's a certain amount of inertia to get anything going."

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