Tuesday, October 3

Out-of-state students navigate health care process

By Grace Poole

Staff Writer

Students on campus with on-going physical or mental health issues can have a hard time managing their medications once on campus and away from home–especially if their home is not Tennessee. 

Federal laws make it difficult for out-of-state students to establish healthcare and obtain prescription medication. 

“Some of my medication can’t be transferred across state lines. It has to be prescribed by a doctor in that state,” said Brice Rupert, a senior religion major. 

Rupert has battled state line laws with his medication and his insurance plan while he has been at college. 

During the pandemic, the federal government waived laws preventing telehealth from operating across state lines, but that expired in the summer of 2021. 

Rupert spends most of his school breaks scheduling multiple doctors appointments in just a few days to avoid having to find new doctors in Nashville. 

Trevecca’s health clinic partners with TimelyCare, a digital and on-demand mental and physical healthcare platform, to provide healthcare to students as an alternative to seeing a doctor.

While the providers in the Trevecca clinic cannot prescribe controlled substances for diagnoses like ADHD, they can refill psychiatric medication such as antidepressants and antipsychotics in emergency situations, said Rebecca Hutchinson, the nurse practitioner at the Trevecca Clinic. 

“I just wish more people knew to reach out to us. While we may not be able to provide every service that your regular primary care doctor can, we can at least point you in the right direction,” she said.

Emily MacAdam, a senior intercultural studies major, says she often chooses to make the seven hour drive back home for her doctor appointments because of her medical history. 

MacAdam had chemotherapy in middle and high school, which causes doctors to have differing or uncertain answers when she goes to anyone besides her normal doctor at home. MacAdam finds it easier for her to plan a trip home to avoid having doctors misinterpret her symptoms or refer her to someone else. 

“It’s easier to just go home and do that seven hour drive and have it scheduled so then I don’t have to explain everything and be told what it is when I know it’s not that,” said MacAdam. 

The clinic focuses mainly on preventative care, said Hutchinson. 

The clinic also treats acute or minor illnesses and injuries. However, the clinic does not have X-rays, EKGs or IV fluids in comparison to urgent care centers.

In addition to providing steroids, antibiotics, antivirals and antifungals, the clinic can treat UTIs, STIs and provide pregnancy testing. 

TimelyCare providers can prescribe medication and coordinate referrals for specialists. 

If a student utilizes TimelyCare’s counseling services, they may have the option to be referred to a psychiatrist on TimelyCare who can prescribe psychiatric medication based on circumstance. This is convenient for those who do not have insurance or do not have insurance in the state, said Hutchinson. 

For students needing assistance finding doctors or setting up an insurance plan, the clinic has a list of options and is willing to work with students to find what is best for them, said Hutchinson.

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