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PSU Campaign for Healthcare Awareness

Students donning fake injuries and clipboards greeted the Thursday lunch crowd in the North Park Commons in an effort to raise awareness about healthcare at PSU. Information and education were the themes of the day.

The event was put on by ASPSU and organized by Elijah Micahlowski, a 23-year-old senior majoring in social sciences. Micahlowski is the university affairs director for ASPSU. He and about 20 fellow students wrapped bandages around phantom injuries to draw attention to their cause. They also decorated the North Commons with large posters sporting statistics and handed out bags of goodies to students passing by.

“We need to get the word out about student healthcare and the areas in which it is lacking,” Micahlowski said. “Once we educate the student body it will be much easier to rally them to make changes.”

The changes being sought by Micahlowski and his associates include more access to Student Health Services, more user-friendly literature and expanded packages to include a dental plan.

An ASPSU survey asks if changing or extending the existing hours of operation at Student Health Services would increase access for PSU students. One possibility would involve opening later than the usual 8 a.m. and staying open until perhaps 7 p.m.

Micahlowski also wants to change the literature circulated by Student Health Services. He describes the current student healthcare brochure as being “written in legalese,” and says that his studies have shown that most students do not take the time to read it and understand it.

He went on to say that Sandra Franz, the Administrative Director at Student Health Services has been very helpful in assembling and producing more clear and concise information. Micahlowski would also like to see insurance cards issued, not as proof of insurance but a wallet or purse size information card with numbers to call and healthcare information.

The final and perhaps most challenging goal of ASPSU is to get a dental plan to be included in the student healthcare plan. This has turned into a three-way negotiation, including CAPS, Student Health Services and the insurance companies. These groups are trying to get OHSU to agree to a program where PSU students would get a special rate when getting dental work done that is covered under the student healthcare plan. Micahlowski says that recent surveys show dental care for the student body to be one of the most important issues for PSU students.

The dental plan is still a year away, but Micahlowski and his associates are doing everything they can now to make this a reality for the future of Portland State students. Another long-term goal for the student organization is to have prescription drugs covered under the insurance policy, but that too is still in the developmental phase.

Micahlowski is planning to do more events in January or February to raise awareness for his campaign for improved healthcare on the PSU campus. “If we can get the word out and get people interested in improving the healthcare plan, it will make it so much easier for these changes to become a reality.”