Claremont Colleges unveil new telehealth service

The Tranquada Center, a white building with a red roof.
The colleges have partnered with TimelyMD, a provider of online medical and counseling services. (Jojo Sanders • The Student Life)

The Claremont Colleges have unveiled a new telehealth option available to all students to supplement the now-limited services of Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services and Student Health Services, which are operating with limited services and hours and are unavailable to students who have left campus due to coronavirus.

The colleges have partnered with TimelyMD, a provider of online medical and counseling services, to provide students with free, unlimited access to physicians and counselors, according to The Claremont Colleges Services website.

Students can access the Campus.Health website or download the TimelyMD app for 24/7 access to medical care and emotional support, accessible from any location within the United States, on any smartphone or web-enabled device. The service is not available for international students due to licensing laws, TCCS spokesperson Laura Muna-Landa told TSL via email.

The health consultations will average about five to 10 minutes, according to an email from Dean of Students Charlotte Johnson to Scripps College students. The emotional support sessions will be about 30 minutes long. Students can expect a 5 minute wait for each, Johnson said.

Providers will be able to submit prescriptions for students, with the exception of psychotropic medications, Muna-Landa said.

The program will show the provider’s name, picture, state and credentials, according to Johnson’s email. The service will observe privacy rights, but providers may notify student’s deans in the case of a life-threatening mental health crisis.

The pilot program will be available until mid-June 2020, Muna-Landa told TSL.

SHS has halted non-essential appointments, including physicals, pap smears, birth control consults and routine STI screening. The center is taking students on an appointment only basis, with no walk-ins, and has reduced hours to Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m, according to previous TSL coverage.

Monsour has canceled all regular therapy appointments, groups, workshops and drop-in hours for this semester, and will remain open only for psychiatry consultations and urgent and crisis appointments. The center has reduced hours to Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Aetna, the insurance company that runs the Student Health Insurance Program, is eliminating costs for coronavirus testing, according to an email sent to students Friday.

“You’ll have $0 copays for any diagnostic resting related to COVID-19,” the email said. “If you meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for testing, and it’s requested by your doctor, Aetna will waive the cost for testing.”

Aetna decided to dispense with its usual referral requirement until May 15, meaning that students may visit in-network providers without first obtaining a referral from SHS.

Aetna will also be waiving copays for telemedicine visits through the Aetna Health app and Teladoc, a virtual healthcare company that provides general medical, dermatological and behavioral health services.

This article was last updated March 29, 2020 at 11:18 a.m.

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