This is one of the rooms inside of the Health & Wellness Center, where students are having trouble securing appointments. Once students arrived for their appointments, many of them have had to wait long periods of time. (Courtesy of Lehigh University)

Students struggle to secure appointments at the health center amid flu season


J.D Wood, ‘22, said he had to wait two hours to see a doctor at the health center when he had the flu. 

Wood said he was told the health center didn’t want him to come in until he was “better” and recovered from his fever, only to wait two hours for the doctor once he did go in for a follow-up.

This wasn’t the first time he was stalled with a long wait at the health center.

“The last time I went to the health center, I was taken back by the nurse within five minutes, which was really nice, but then she told me I had to wait for the doctor,” Wood said “I waited an hour for him, which was way too long.” 

David Rubenstein, the executive director of the Health and Wellness Center, said they have been working to improve accessibility to appointments for students.

“(The system) used to be that students could go online and schedule appointments for anytime over the course of the semester, but we realized that was not good from a health and wellness standpoint because a lot of the time when students would schedule appointments two to three months out, and they wouldn’t show up,” Rubenstein said. “We realized that was problematic, because we could’ve offered that spot to another student, so we changed it so students can only schedule appointments a week in advance.”

Rubenstein said there are plans to add to the clarity of communication on the website, so students can better understand the multiple ways they can schedule appointments. 

He said it’s important to call to make an appointment if the student can’t figure out how to schedule online, or if the Health and Wellness Center is fully booked. 

Rubenstein said he was unaware that students are upset that they have to wait hours to be seen.

Evan Greenberg, ’23, said his experience at the Health and Wellness Center was so poor, that he won’t seek medical attention there again.

“I didn’t even get seen because I had to wait so long,” Greenberg said. “I called to make my appointment, and they told me to come in the next morning, but when I came in, they told me it would be over a day before I would be able to see someone, so I just left. They claimed they were fully booked, but when I went in there were only three other kids in chairs.” 

Greenberg said he believes health should be a priority to the university. He said the inability to help him forced him to go home to get the medical attention he needed.  

Rubenstein said he was upset to hear that students were having such problems. 

“If you find yourself in the Health Center, and you reach that 30-minute mark of waiting, please ask to speak with the office manager, and they will try to accommodate your needs,” he said. “Also, if students ever run into challenges with classes and faculty because of the health center, they should let us know because we are happy to help students with that.” 

Students can make appointments at the health center through the online portal, which is active 24 hours a day, or call during office hours, which run from Monday through Thursday, 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., and Friday, 9:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. 

There is also a number provided on the website for an after-hour clinician on-call for urgent matters, as well as addresses for nearby emergency centers.

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