A Guide to Olympia Health Services
By Sarah Bradley
As a new school year begins, you will find yourself coming into new opportunities and experiences… also new germs. As the days get shorter and colder, staying healthy and taking time for self-care is a top priority for many.
According to Evergreen’s 2014 Fall report, nearly sixty percent of students live below the Federal Poverty Level; this further disrupts the ability to receive adequate healthcare. Regardless of wealth or health insurance, there are ways to get the health care treatment you need!
If you are a student, or resident of Thurston County, there are resources within Evergreen, and programs through the community that may help you receive the health care access.
The Oly Free Clinic (TOFC) is located downtown and open during select hours. According to the clinic’s website, TOFC offers “medical care for problems such as acute illnesses or mild injuries. Although we will see patients with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, depression etc., our goal is not to care for these issues long term.” Its service is for any adult who is a resident of Thurston County. The staff at the Oly Free Clinic are all volunteers — if you require attention that is outside the scope of TOFC, they can connect you to further resources.
To be seen at TOFC you show up as a drop in on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 8:00 pm. The clinic is also open on particular Monday’s for specialized services including physical therapy and chiropractic services, massage clinic, and “women’s health clinic,” during which a gynecologist is on shift.
Students can find aid for various health issues at the The Evergreen Student Health Center places an emphasis on education. The health center provides basic medical coverage for common problems such as cold/flu, skin rashes, and minor injuries. The health center is located on the first floor of the Sem 1 building. Appointments can be scheduled ahead of time on the phone. They also have select walk-in hours listed on there website. When you arrive, you will be asked to fill out a basic medical history form. A member of the health center’s student staff will then meet with you, and after you may be seen by a medical practitioner.
Full-time students pay an $83 fee per quarter for the health center’s service – part-time students can opt in. There is no fee for consultation or appointments at the health center, but the health center operates at cost and there may be fees for certain tests, prescriptions, and medical procedures. These fees may be billed to your student account.
TESC-HC offers sexual health services including STD/STI screenings tests, birth control, and education. The Health Center can also provide a mental health evaluation and most often, can direct you to the college’s counseling center, which is located on the top floor of the Sem 1 building.
If you are seeking treatment or care outside of the more “traditional” options, you may consider the Olympia Free Herbal Clinic. This local organization has a mission to encourage holistic health on a personal, ecological, and community level. To learn more, check out dandelionseedcollective.org
An option for healthcare coverage is Washington Apple Health. This is the Washington state medicaid program which provides free health insurance for low income state residents. Eligibility requirements and more information can be found at wahealthplanfinder.org. If you meet eligibility requirements you will receive a health insurance card in the mail along with further information about your health coverage plan. This option will allow you to seek treatment in the wider Olympia community, outside of the college, and beyond the scope of the Oly Free Clinic.
In the dreary and wet days ahead, it can be easy to get sick. If you do fall ill you can check out these Olympia resources to help you get through the season.