As of Jun. 30, Claremont Graduate University (CGU) and Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) are no longer partnering with Student Health Services (SHS) and Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services.
The shift away from SHS leaves CGU and KGI with exclusively online resources for graduate students and without the option of in-person health care for physical or mental health services.
Graduate students are still able to schedule medical and mental health visits through 7CHealth, the Claremont Colleges’ telehealth provider. Tim Lynch, director of executive & advancement communications at CGU, explained that the school spent several years gathering and analyzing data to make this decision.
“7C Health addresses access by being available any time of the day in multiple languages,” Lynch said in an email to TSL. “Our assessment showed that our students prefer telehealth and teletherapy over coming to campus for services.”
Much like CGU, KGI severed ties with SHS because the health provider was not able to serve the more flexible needs of graduate students.
“Students’ use of SHS was minimal because all our students must have personal health insurance, and SHS does not bill student insurance plans,” Nick Simonton, director of marketing and communications at KGI, wrote in a statement to TSL. “Additionally, our students required appointments past 5 p.m. and on weekends when SHS was not open.”
Simonton said the financial savings from this change will allow KGI to invest additional funds into programs that will benefit students.
KGI will continue to partner with SHS in other ways, as the shift will only affect in-person services at SHS.
“As part of our commitment to our students’ health, we continue to contract with SHS to provide telehealth services that offer a connection outside SHS’ regular business hours,” Simonton said.
Vaishnavi Mansabdar, a student at the School of Community and Global Health currently pursuing her public health doctorate at CGU, said she is disappointed in the school’s discontinuation of in-person, on-campus care, as it makes health services more inaccessible to international students.
“During COVID-19, SHS support was life-saving from tests to vaccinations, it was a one-stop student health support,” Mansabdar, who is from Mumbai, said in an email to TSL. “For students like myself who are new to the country, new to the healthcare system, on-campus services are life saving and basic necessities.”
Mansabdar also spoke on the limits of the virtual 7C Health services, noting that it’s not ideal for certain health events.
”A person who is having allergic reactions utilizing virtual care will not be able to identify potential asthma attacks,” Mansabdar said. “Virtual care is helpful because it increases your network but it also has its limitations.”
Some services that are offered in-person through SHS cannot be offered in a virtual format, such as STD testing, strep testing, X-ray services, immunizations and more. Students at KGU and CGU must find alternative, off-campus providers for treatments and services that require an in-person consultation.
On the other hand, Oscar Guerrero CG ’24 said he was looking forward to the added flexibility of virtual health services.
To Guerrero, while on-campus healthcare is important, “the telehealth that CGU has now subscribed to also provides timely and flexible health solutions to students.”
Guerrero also noted that telehealth could be better for students that commute.
“COVID has changed how we look at [healthcare], and two or three years ago, telehealth wouldn’t even have been an option,” Guerrero told TSL via email.
CGU first announced the shift on Mar. 28, in an email announcing the expanded partnership between CGU and TimelyMD, the Claremont Colleges’ virtual care partner. Some students at CGU weren’t initially aware of the institution’s move away from SHS. Guerrero said that this dispersion of information from administration to students could be more efficient.
“CGU as a whole relies on email as its primary way of informing students of things that are happening, but that leads to a proliferation of emails where information tends to get lost,” he said.
Despite the first announcement getting lost in the shuffle of emails from the university, both Guerrero and Mansabdar said CGU hosted several workshops following the announcement, which allowed students to have space to ask questions, share concerns and receive support through the transition away from SHS.
“I appreciate the work they [the administration] do and feel a sense of trust and reassurance knowing that they work hard to make CGU an accessible place to students,” Guerrero said.