Welcome back from Spring Break! The purpose of this update is to provide information about McKinley Health Center services and to be sure students can access them as needed.

On Saturday, March 21st, the Governor’s shelter-in-place order went into effect until at least April 7th. Since this resulted in some students moving and others remaining on or near campus, all appointments at McKinley made prior to spring break have been reassigned in one way or another. Read on.

McKinley staff are considered essential employees and are under direct orders to actively manage the volume of employees in our building based on the need for face-to-face patient care. The Public Health goal is to blunt the spread of disease, which simply means to maintain social distancing practices (e.g., 6 feet away from others) and remain in your home unless there is a clear need to be out and about. The shelter-in-place order has an interesting public health benefit given the virus is often spread off of shared spaces (e.g. tabletops, keyboards, etc.). The virus may live on these surfaces much longer than the usual 2 hours attributed to many other viruses. It is so easy to sit down at an empty table, touch the surface, and then rub your eyes without thinking about the possibility of self-inoculation. Sheltering-in-place helps keep your space your own which reduces the spread of disease. Don’t forget the importance of frequent hand washing and cleaning spaces whenever possible with a disinfectant. Public Health is not attempting to diagnose everyone with COVID-19 at this time. We are willing to assume infection in many, but we want to see those in greatest need for supportive care while helping you monitor yourself. Most of you, if infected with COVID-19, will have a respiratory illness with fever and cough lasting about a week, and then you will improve and get progressively better each day.

This philosophy and vision are driving our McKinley operating model. The following are actions we have taken to date:

  • Clerks, Medical Assistant’s and Providers are working from home or on-site based on a scheduled rotation, face-to-face demand and technical issues of remote connectivity.
  • We are quickly issuing Skype for Business accounts, access to our electronic health record and other resources to support remote work for our staff. As a result, you may be talking with a McKinley provider or staff member who is not physically present in our building.
  • No self-scheduled or walk-in appointments are available; however, appointments can be scheduled by calling 217-333-2700.
  • We have expanded the phone pool to answer calls in a timely manner.
  • Providers now have three types of appointments: phone, telehealth, and face-to-face.
  • Office support staff will often hand the call over to a nurse, who will then work with a provider to determine the type of appointment needed. In most cases, students will not be instructed to schedule a face-to-face visit before a phone and/or telehealth encounter.
  • Our Lab, X-ray, and Pharmacy are fully operational. To avoid crowding and to prevent low and high-risk students from co-mingling, phone coordination is necessary. The pharmacy window is open but if you want to avoid the waiting area, Pharmacy will deliver curbside at McKinley. Call 333-7253 when you are at McKinley. We are working with students outside of the local area to provide medication options. Providers may order a lab or x-ray after a phone call and then once results are known, call you back for follow-up, avoiding a face-to-face visit and the potential for unnecessary spread of infection.
  • Allergy shots are still being provided, but this service is now in the W1 clinic.
  • Students with respiratory symptoms are seen face-to-face in only one designated unit referred to temporarily as the Campus Health Respiratory Clinic. To be seen in this area, providers will first screen you by phone. If you qualify for testing under the most current Public Health guidelines, they will arrange for you to come and be tested either from your car or in the building. If you need to be seen for a decision for supportive care, you will be scheduled often the same day or be followed with supervision and a daily phone call.
  • No routine care (e.g., physicals, IUD insertions, routine STD screening) is being done while the current shelter-in-place order is in effect. This will be deferred until the pandemic subsides. Where necessary, alternatives will be discussed by phone.

Many students are at home for the remainder of the semester and we want you to contact us as needed. You can reach us by calling 217-333-2700. With our rapidly expanding telehealth capabilities, more and more decision making can be done through the benefits of technology. UIUC is a leader in technology and this makes us all proud to be an Illini.

Continue to send any thoughts or recommendations to us at studenthealthcenter@illinois.edu.

We will continue our meetings this semester via Skype for Business. More on this shortly.

Stay safe!

Robert C. Parker, MD, MBA, FACP
Director, McKinley Health Center

Tuesday, March 24, 2020 - 17:15