In response to “USC after-hours medical care needs urgent reform”

Thank you for your concern with after-hours health care in the Engemann Student Health Center. We have increased our hours in recent years to provide seven-day-a-week coverage during the academic year as well as extended hours in the evening Monday to Thursday.

We have an on-call triage service 24/7 when we are closed as well as a physician and counselor on backup call for that service. However, when emergencies occur in the middle of the night and the issue cannot wait until the next morning, it is better to be in an emergency room, and one should call 911. It would be prohibitively expensive to adequately staff our health center 24/7 with the services, support and security needed for emergency cases for the hours suggested. In addition, the student health center is not equipped to handle severe traumatic injuries or illnesses. The cost of such an intervention would significantly impact the services we provide every day of the week. It would require a large increase in the student health fee or significant charges for services now covered under the health fee.  We have worked hard to provide excellent services and supplemental health insurance at a combined cost that is better than the vast majority of our peer universities.

We are in the process of updating all information in our phone system and on our webpage. We are always open to suggestions that will help us improve or correct the information provided. We also have implemented a new call center that has vastly improved the response to students who call in for assistance and appointments.

Each year the student health center has approximately 90,000 patient encounters, processes about 50,000 laboratory tests and 5,500 X-rays and serves our campus community through our Office of Wellness and Health Promotion.  Overall, our approval ratings from students are very good (95 – 96 percent positive approval ratings). We have strong quality assurance protocols and programs that help us identify ways to improve our services and promote activities that help students enhance their health. I sincerely appreciate letters like these as they bring matters to our attention that we can examine and continue to problem-solve.

Thank you for your feedback and please do not hesitate to contact me directly with any other concerns you would like me and our staff to review. Please note that our website has a button at the bottom for providing feedback to us.


Larry Neinstein M.D.

Executive Director of Engemann Student Health Center

Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine

1 reply
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    How about an opt-out from your ridiculous and as-yet-unused student health fee? It’s bad enough having to jump through hoops to submit an insurance waiver. Because I have a real doctor I’m subsidizing the services that you provide to those who don’t. It’s pretty annoying.

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