It is our hope that the Student Health Center and Pharmacy (SHCP) FAQ section below will help you better understand how to navigate the often-complex field relating to your health and wellbeing. We are here to help you get well and stay well during your college years, so please select the topic from the below list.

Visit our About SHCP for an overview of services we offer.

Appointment Information

Call the appointment phone number at 205-348-2778, or use the Patient Portal through MyBama. Walk-ins are always welcome. Appointments which require a call in include Women’s Health Clinic, Psychiatry, Nutrition, and Allergy injections.
UA Required Health Immunizations for Registration. You need to download and print the UA required form, have it completed by your healthcare provider and then upload the completed form per the directions on the immunization page. Immunizations are offered Monday through Friday on a walk-in basis and you must sign in before 4 p.m. Visit the clinic services section of our website for information on foreign travel immunizations..

Billing and Insurance

The SHC currently has over 400 insurance plans from around the country and the globe. It is unlikely that SHC could not take your insurance plan. However, if you are concerned about your particular plan, please contact the Student Health Center billing office at 205-348-1701 or 205-348-7126. You can also email us at jmwilkinson@cchs.ua.edu.

Yes, you can still be seen without your insurance card as an enrolled student. However, if we do not receive the student’s insurance card the day of the visit, then we must receive it within 48 hours. If the insurance card is not received within 48 hours, all charges will be billed to the student account.

You can have your insurance card faxed (205-348-9850) or photographed and emailed to SHC. The following information is needed:

  • The front and back cover of the insurance card
  • The primary card holder’s name (usually your parent/guardian) and the primary cardholder’s date of birth
  • The student’s name and CWID.

If you are unable to provide this information yourself, a call to your parents the day of the visit can facilitate the information being provided and avoid all charges going to your student account.

Important: Carrying your health insurance card is as important as having your driver’s license with you at all times. No matter where you are seen for health care, you need to have your insurance card. Some students have saved insurance photos on their cell phone, both front and back images.
Note: Insurance coverage can change at any time, such as when parent/guardian changes jobs, their employer changes carriers, etc. Just as other health care settings, at each visit, students should present their health insurance card to the SHC receptionist to verify continued coverage and that SHC still can accept your coverage; this is done electronically at the time of check-in. This spares you from unexpected changes in your coverage.

Medicaid is a state-specific form of health insurance. For that reason, it can only be used in your home state where it was issued. Unfortunately, neither the SHC nor other health care providers can bill on out of state Medicaid. SHC strongly encourages all students to have health care insurance to cover the cost of essential health services. Staying healthy is one of the keys to academic success

What are my options if I have Medicaid from another state?

  • Option one – ComCare: With documentation of active Medicaid from another state, SHC can offer ComCare for routine office visits only at a reduced cost. Lab, x-rays, etc. are not covered by ComCare and represent additional costs when needed for assessment and care. ComCare is only usable at SHC.Demonstrating no active insurance requires us to have:
    • A copy of your parent’s tax return if you are under 25 or a copy of your personal tax return if you are 26 or older reflecting no insurance.
    • Verification of active Medicaid insurance from another state.
    • For questions about ComCare, please call 205-348-7164.
  • Option 2 – United Health care Student Resources insurance: Investigate with your parent/guardian the option of the University Sponsored insurance through United Health Care Student Resources, which offers a strong plan at low cost. For more information and guidance in applying refer to the website. For additional assistance call 205-348-4086.

Yes, you can still be seen. Students are not required to be covered by insurance to be seen at the Student Health Center. However, the Student Health Center recommends that all students be covered by a health insurance plan while attending the University of Alabama to help cover the costs of their healthcare.

Demonstrating no insurance requires us to have:

  • A copy of your parent’s tax return if you are under 25 and your personal tax return if you are 26 or older reflecting no insurance.
  • For questions about ComCare, please call 205-348-7164.
  • Verification of another state’s Medicaid which is active.

Billing for services: As with any health care entity, you will be charged for the visit. There are two options for students who do not have insurance coverage personally or under their parent’s insurance policy. It is also important to note that out of state students who have Medicaid insurance in their home state can only use that insurance coverage in the state where it is issued.

  • If you want good coverage at a very competitive price, UA has an association with United Health Care Student Resources (UHCSR) for its enrolled students. Information about this is available at university sponsored health insurance. There are specific deadlines for enrollment and help can be provided if you need assistance by calling 205-348-4086.
  • What is ComCare? With proof of no insurance, the Student Health Center is able to offer ComCare, which provides a low-cost office visit. Labs, x-ray and medications are not included, and their standard costs apply. All charges are conveniently posted to your UA student account
Yes. The University sponsored plan is with United Health Care Student Resources (UHCSR) and offers a strong plan at low cost. For more information and guidance in applying refer to the website, university sponsored health insurance. For additional assistance call 205-348-4086.

Yes, it will continue until it concludes on July 31st. If you will graduate earlier than that, you will need to seek health care at University Medical Center or the community resources.

However, if you bought insurance on a semester basis instead and the coverage ends in May when you graduate and you wish to extend the coverage, you will need to purchase a continuation policy beyond May through UHCSR by contacting them directly.

Yes, you can purchase coverage for your spouse and your children through UHCSR. However, the Student Health Center can only serve enrolled students, so community resources would be needed for non-UA students.
Yes, we actually have over 400 plans across the country! We will file your insurance for your convenience. You then can pay your co-pay with a Flex card or personal credit card; or, if you prefer the co-pay can be sent to your Student Account. We participate in Blue Cross of Aetna, Blue Cross of Alabama, Cigna, Humana, Medicaid, Tricare, UHC, and Viva. Always, check your insurance to make sure SHC includes either in-network or out of network benefits under your insurance. Medicaid insurance is state specific, so only Alabama Medicaid can be used in the state of Alabama.
A copayment is a flat amount you pay at the time of medical service wherever you go for care. Each insurance plan copay is different, so you will need to verify with your insurance what your copay, coinsurance, deductible, and any out of pocket expense you may have after insurance processes your claim.
Each insurance plan is different. Some insurances require you to meet a set deductible before they will pay anything on your claims. Be sure to check with your insurance and ask what your deductible is and out of pocket such as 80/20 once your deductible is met.
Any charges sent to your student account from the SHC after insurance is paid is listed as “Student Health Center” without identifying the specific medical service you received. Pharmacy charges from the SHC Pharmacy will be listed separately as “Pharmacy Charges” with no further information. This is for your privacy and confidentiality.

Denistry

No, we do not. If you need the name of a dentist we can provide you with a referral.

Health and Wellness

Prevention measures are best. Reducing the frequency of illnesses essentially revolves around the observance of appropriate hygiene considerations.

  • Change toothbrushes often, especially after an occurrence of illness.
  • Use disinfectant wipes to clean surfaces of toilet handles, door knobs, light switches, television remotes, game controllers, and any other communally shared items.
  • Do not eat or drink after others.
  • Keep pump hand sanitizers in your room. Carry hand sanitizers in your backpack and store some in your car for use before eating. Use hand sanitizer after touching door surfaces when entering or exiting rooms and buildings.
  • Plan for adequate rest and sleep, which is a common oversight by college students and yet important for both prevention of and recovery from an illness.
Many students experience new or increased allergy symptoms after moving to Tuscaloosa. Students from other regions of the country may not be aware of allergies to grasses or pollens in the south until after they arrive. If you are experiencing persistent congestion, sneezing, itchy watery eyes, or other symptoms suggestive of allergies, consider trying and consistently using over-the-counter medications like Claritin or Zyrtec along with an allergy nasal spray like Flonase for 10 to 14 days to see if this will control or resolve the symptoms. Additionally, an air purifier in your dorm room may be very beneficial. If you need further evaluation, come to the SHC for more guidance. Should your situation require it, our providers can refer you to a local Allergist and fill prescription medications at the SHC Pharmacy.

Hospital

We are extremely fortunate to have DCH Regional Medical Center within two blocks of the Student Health Center and Pharmacy. DCH Regional Medical Center is a full-service referral medical center with the region’s most advanced trauma center and intensive care units. Our staff works closely with DCH Administration, the physicians who practice there and its Emergency Department. For more information see the DCH website

Privacy, confidentiality of records and their release are governed by two distinctly different federal laws for the Student Health Center and for the hospital. See Privacy and Confidentiality for more details.

Hours, Location, Bus routes and Parking

We are conveniently located at 750 Peter Bryce Boulevard. Parking is immediately in front of the Student Health Center and Pharmacy and is solely for patients of the Student Health Center as well as the adjacent University Medical Center.
The Green, Blue, and Bronze Crimson Ride bus routes will take you to our location.

The parking lot in front of both University Medical Center and Student Health Center is for patient parking only. If you get a ticket and you were seen as a patient at either centers, you can get the ticket dropped, which requires verification of a clinic visit from an official at either site. With a copy of your ticket, we can verify and call Parking to have it removed.

Anyone who parks in these spaces, other than for patient care, cannot have their tickets invalidated by either SHC or University Medical Center.

Please visit our hours page to view our hours of operation.

When the university is closed, the SHC is closed. For convenience, when UA is closed you may go to University Medical Center, which is located at the opposite end of the SHC building.

For those on the University-sponsored health insurance plan through United Health Care Student Resources, it has been negotiated that if you go to University Medical Center when SHC is closed, you will avoid a higher out-of-pocket expense.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, proceed to the nearest hospital, DCH Regional Medical Center just a block away, or call 911.

Lab and X-Ray Services

University Medical Center (UMC) has an in-house lab that SHC uses and is conveniently located in our building. Sometimes labs have to be sent out to LabCorp or Quest and this is done automatically for you. However, you need to verify with your insurance which lab they cover and let the front desk know at the time of service; this ensures your labs will get sent to the correct lab to help avoid additional out of pocket expenses.
You need to verify with your insurance which lab they cover and let the front desk know at the time of service; this ensures your labs will get sent to the correct lab to help avoid additional out of pocket expenses. Insurance plans differ.

Mental Health and Psychiatry

Similar to your home physician, our providers are skilled at assessment and treatment of routine mental health conditions. We are also very familiar with campus-based resources that may be appropriate for your support, such as the Counseling Center, the Women and Gender Resource Center, the Student Care and Wellbeing office, the Psychology Clinic, the Family Therapy Clinic, and Collegiate Recovery and Intervention Services.

Psychiatry Services at SHC are available when more specialized help is needed. The Student Health Center has 3 full-time psychiatrists who provide evaluations, ongoing support, and assist with medications on a referral basis. You can make an appointment by calling 205-348-8262. Visit the Psychiatry section of our website for more information.

Most insurances do, but you will need to contact your insurance company (see the number listed on back of your card) and ask for mental health benefits. Check to see if you have a deductible and any other out of pocket costs. Ask if a referral or pre-authorization is required. Most insurance policies require a pre-certification through your insurance before the visit, which our office can help with.

New Patient Expectations

Complete the appropriate form (whether you have an appointment or are a walk-in) and drop it in the bin at the reception desk. A receptionist will then call your name and ask for your insurance and Action card. The nurse will ask about your medical and family history, so no additional forms have to be completed.
You will need to bring your Action Card, health insurance/flex card, and any other separate cards for prescription benefits. All charges not paid for by your insurance/flex card will be sent to your student account.

First and foremost, our staff is committed to providing competent care to students at UA. We are aware this may be your first-time seeking care away from home and want to make your experience as comfortable as possible.

Your first visit will include a review of your medical history and family history.

Vital signs and typical questions related to your current signs/symptoms are all taken by licensed practical nurses in advance of your seeing the provider.

The provider will evaluate your current needs and provide evidenced-based care. Plans for follow-up care will be explained to you. Please listen carefully and follow advice for best ongoing care. Always return if your illness changes or does not improve.

If medications are prescribed, our pharmacy located in the lobby can provide most of your needs. In only a few circumstances, your specific health insurance plan may require a specific commercial pharmacy and we will e-prescribe that prescription to that source.

Most common over-the-counter medications can be obtained at our onsite pharmacy.

The SHC will provide a class excuse to the student when requested. However, the excuse will cover only the day of the visit and will note when the student can safely return to class. This excuse will not cover dates prior to the date of the office visit for missed classes. As an FYI, the faculty of the university are not required to accept or recognize an excuse from SHC or elsewhere. For illnesses or injuries that result in prolonged absences, the Office of the Dean can assist with notifications to faculty regarding extended medically related absences. If an extended absence is deemed necessary by your SHC provider, with your permission, we can notify the Office of the Dean of Students for you.

As with any health care practice, there are peak times of the day when the volume is typically higher than others and therefore the potential wait is longer. Coming early (8-10 a.m.) is a good idea as this is a less busy time.

When there are outbreaks of illness on campus (like the flu, GI illnesses, Strep throat, etc.), everyone is busy due to the demand.

We recognize that our students are often navigating the healthcare environment for the first time without parental involvement, which may require the provider to take additional time interviewing and addressing the student’s concerns.

Our providers take great care to educate our students about their diagnosis and provide the best treatment that follows all recognized and accepted standards of care. Education is an essential part of the visit.

That depends on you. As the patient, you are in control of what information is shared, with whom and under what circumstances. You must sign a Release of Information form with our Medical Records department to allow us to talk your parents/guardian or other health care providers. We keep this on file in your medical record. This is a common practice among health care providers, hospitals, etc. You can change this information any time, limit the release to a certain date(s), and restrict what cannot be shared. You may want to change your form if there is a misunderstanding about your care and your parents/guardians are very concerned. We find that sharing a call with your parent and your provider may alleviate their concerns. Again, you can limit that discussion to the topic/issue you agree to discuss.

We encourage our students to take personal responsibility for their own health and learn to navigate the healthcare environment independently. Our intent is to facilitate that process in a collaborative way with our students. Learn more about privacy and confidentiality.

Sometimes it is in the patient’s best interest to use an over-the-counter medication to ease the symptoms while the body fights the infection, specifically viral ones. A prescription just may not be indicated and not consistent with current evidenced-based medical care. When over-the-counter medications are the most appropriate option, we attempt to educate students on the reason that a prescription would not be indicated and provide follow up recommendations should a change in symptoms or their intensity occur.

The national issue with use and overuse of antibiotics. Many students and parents think that an antibiotic may always be the answer and that is not accurate. Prescribing antibiotics when they are not needed leads to the promotion of antibiotic resistant bacteria; in addition, remember that antibiotics take away good bacteria in the gut. Responsible medical care means using prescription medications when they are clinically indicated.

When an initial illness does not get better. Students are consistently advised to return if symptoms get worse usually within a few days. Sometimes there could be a secondary infection that has occurred or what was apparent initially has more fully developed into a different diagnosis. In this case, the treatment may well need to change and communication with the provider is very important.

Pharmacological guidelines for prescription use. Finally, while the overprescribing of antibiotics is of concern in the US, there has become an unfortunate economic incentive by some practitioners to ensure that a patient’s demand for unnecessary prescriptions or injections are fulfilled. However, at SHC we place the patient’s welfare as our highest priority and make every effort to refrain from prescribing unnecessary medications, particularly antibiotics. In addition, this dedication and adherence to the highest standard of care especially extends to medications with the potential for dependence or abuse known to be problematic in the college population in the US.

Optometry

No, we do not. If you need the name of an optometrist, we can provide you with a referral.

Questions, Comments, and Concerns

Your comments are important to us as your health and wellbeing is our sole mission in support of your academic success. There are three key ways to communicate with us:

  • Complete the patient satisfaction survey that is sent to your Crimson email following your visit. Including your contact information allows us to communicate with you confidentially. If you have concerns, we sincerely wish to address these with you so there are opportunities for us to improve and you to understand our commitment to excellence.
  • Call the quality improvement coordinator at 205-348-3877.
  • Communicate directly with your provider through the Patient Portal.

Patient Portal

You can access the SHC patient portal through the “Portal” tab on our website or through MyBama. You can schedule most of your appointments, request to refill prescriptions, send and receive secure messages with a provider, and upload health insurance documentation.

Patient Qualifications

You must be enrolled in at least 1 hour to be eligible for services.
No, we do not. Our mission is focused entirely on serving UA enrolled students. Spouses and children who are not enrolled students are not eligible for SHC services.
No. Per UA policy, you must be enrolled as a student to be eligible for treatment. The SHC Medical Records department will gladly send your records to another provider after graduation at your request.

Pharmacy at SHC

You must present your Action Card and CWID. For controlled medications, you must have your social security number or driver’s license.
The SHC Pharmacy accepts insurance and Flexible Spending Cards for payment. Co-pays can be paid at the time of pick up via Flex Card or can be billed to your student account.
No. SHC Pharmacy cannot accept any medications filled by another pharmacy that is mailed to our pharmacy.
In order to transfer a prescription to the pharmacy, please provide the name of your medication, the name of your pharmacy, and your pharmacy’s phone number. Our SHC Pharmacy staff will be glad to call your home pharmacy to transfer your prescription so that you can fill it at school.
Yes, our pharmacy carries many prescriptions and over the counter medications used to treat allergies. If you require allergy serum for your allergies, these serums can be sent by your Allergist to our Allergy Clinic, who will store them for you and provide injections on the regular schedule set for you.
The Student Health Center Pharmacy carries most of the common ADHD/ADD medications. Visit the ADHD/ADD on our website for more information.

Your prescription label will tell you if there are refills available, so check for that information first. If not, you will need to have it renewed with the provider for a new prescription.

There are 3 ways you can obtain a refill by request:

  • Use the Pharmacy App. You can download our UA Pharmacy app by searching “University of Alabama Pharmacy” on the App Store if you don’t already have it.
  • Make an online request through the Refill Request page on the SHC website.
  • Request by phone at 205-348-6276.
Yes, our computer system is able to store your prescription until you are ready to have the medicine filled.
Yes, just have the pharmacy call us and we will transfer it to them.
Yes. Any licensed provider may call, fax, or e-scribe a new prescription to our pharmacy. The fax number is 205-348-9850
SHC Pharmacy does not do Auto-fill refills. When you are ready for your refill, please contact us using the UA Pharmacy app, refill website page, or phone (205-348-6276).
The pharmacy can text or email notifications if your cell phone number or email is on file with the pharmacy. If you expect a prescription to be ready and have not received notification, please call us to check on it.
Yes. You can download our UA Pharmacy app by searching “University of Alabama Pharmacy” on the App Store.
Yes, we carry a supply of commonly used over-the-counter products and can special order other items not stocked.
No. Our pharmacy is not equipped to accept prescription coupons or discount cards.
SHC Pharmacy accepts most major insurances. In a few instances, there are insurance plans that have restricted their prescription purchases to be through a specific chain pharmacy. Please contact your insurance provider to confirm coverage.
o Yes. They must present your Action card, their own ID, and a note giving your consent to fill and pick up the prescription. If this is not possible, call the Pharmacy ahead of time to get approval by phone.
Patient printouts may be picked up by the patient at the pharmacy with photo ID. If the student is unable to come in person, reports may be accessed through the patient’s Online Patient Profile or requested through Medical Records at 205-348-1253. For your protection, the pharmacy will not release information over the phone or via email.

Privacy and Confidentiality

There are two different federal laws that regulate privacy and confidentiality of health/medical records and the release of these records.

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

FERPA refers only to student health centers, like UA SHC, who only provide care to university students.

The Student Health Center and Pharmacy is under the protections of FERPA, which is a US Federal law that governs educational systems. We must honor the wishes of our student patients when it involves the disclosure of their PHI to anyone, including their parents. Students are required to sign an ROI (Release of Information) form which directs us for any verbal, electronic, or written release of any information regarding their care. The student may rescind any current ROI signed at any time. The student may also allow some information to be released and other information to be restricted. Except in an extraordinary situation, the Student Health Center may not violate that ROI. Even though parents/guardians are generally paying for their student’s education and their health insurance is under their parent/guardian’s policy, we are required by this law to honor the student’s wishes with regards to disclosing PHI. There are severe penalties to an institution for violations of this federal regulation.

The Health Insurance and Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA)

HIPAA refers to those hospitals and other health care entities who are not restricted in those for whom they provide medical care and treatment, such as hospitals, rehab centers, physician practices, nursing homes, etc.

Hospitals and other health care entities that are not restricted to university students only are governed by HIPAA which is the US legislation that provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information and Protected Health Information (PHI). For this reason, hospitals must also comply with the wishes for privacy of information and release or restriction of information sharing to anyone, including parents. There are also severe penalties for violations of this regulation to hospitals and other health care entities. Exceptions are few and would represent extraordinary situations.

Services of the SHC and Pharmacy

Please visit our about SHCP for a detailed overview of our services.
Our board-certified physicians and physician specialists, certified nurse practitioners, and registered dietitian are all proud to exclusively serve UA students.
The SHC insurance office can help with that (205-348-1701) or you can call Alabama Medicaid (800-688-7989). They have a list and will refer you to the specialist you need to see that participates with your plan.

Yes. For unique and specialized needs beyond our scope, the SHC has a strong relationship with specialists in the community and can expedite a referral to them when needed. Dedicated referral nurses at SHC facilitate the scheduling with the specialist’s office. We have about 1,800-2,000 referrals annually to services such as dermatology, gastroenterology, pulmonology, cardiology, ENT, dentistry, and others.

The Student Health Center providers are available to evaluate and treat many injuries and common painful conditions related to muscles, bones, and joints. If the problem is beyond our scope, we will arrange a referral to our Sports Medicine Center in the University Medical Center or to a local orthopedist.

Our providers are able to diagnose and treat common dermatological problems. For severe problems, our staff can assist with a referral to a qualified dermatologist in the area.

Sexual Health

Free condoms and safer sex products are available at a variety of locations throughout campus. Check out Health Promotion and Wellness’ website for locations.

At SHC, the providers will order a panel specifically related to your signs and symptoms. You will go to the Lab in our building for the specimen to be collected.

Depending on the tests requested and performed, your insurance may or may not cover the billed charges for the testing. Unfortunately, we cannot ascertain whether a test will be covered prior to performing the test. If your insurance determines that the test is not covered, you will either be billed directly by the lab or by SHC. If you wish to see the SHC provider for these services you are acknowledging that you understand that you could be responsible for the entire bill, which includes the SHC office visit charge as well as the charges billed to you directly by the performing testing facility.

If you are unsure that your insurance will cover the testing, or you do not wish to pay out of pocket for the testing, you do have the option to go to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) for testing. The ADPH provides free STI screening for the most common diseases.

The Alabama Department of Public Health for Tuscaloosa County is located at 2350 Hargrove Road East, Tuscaloosa, AL 35405, and can be reached at 205-562-6900.

Another community option for STI and HIV testing available in Tuscaloosa is Five Horizons Health Services. Through federal and other sources of funding, Five Horizons Health Services, provides some reduced and free options for definitive testing. Their location is 2720 6th Street and phone number is 205-759-8470. Our providers can refer you to them when you are concerned about the high cost of certain testing for STIs and STDs.

Women’s Health

SHC’s Women’s Health Clinic provides routine pelvic exams, pap smears, contraception counseling, treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, as well as pregnancy testing and counseling. To schedule an appointment, please call 205-348-2778.
Every insurance is different, and the employer of the insured selects which policy they want their employees to have and can set standards such as pre-certification. Some gynecology procedures like contraceptive implants require a pre-certification to make sure it is medically necessary, and to prevent a costly out of pocket charge to you if a pre-certification was not done.
We are a walk-in clinic. You may see any of our providers for an unexpected situation including female issues.