The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Bailey Health Center overwhelmed

Photo by Austin Carey for The Lafayette
The college has recently partnered with St. Luke’s Hospital to provide extended hours of care to students.

As the college continues to adjust to student body growth, students have reported trouble accessing timely care at Bailey Health Center during the height of cold and flu season. 

“I called multiple times and I left a message, and there was just no communication back to me,” Skylar Quester ‘26 said. “I was in the hospital with pneumonia about two weeks ago, and Dr. Goldstein was nice enough to reach out and see how I was doing … and then he wanted to see me when I got back to school. I actually still haven’t gotten an appointment.”

Jeffrey Goldstein, the director of health services, said that Bailey Health Center experiences peak volumes at this time of year that often exceed the capacity of the facility to accommodate all students.

“Just looking at the space, we have two exam rooms and two providers, and we have been … seeing, on average, a student every fifteen minutes,” Goldstein said. “It’s just not possible to see more than that in the number of hours that we are there.”

In response to the lack of available appointments, the college, in a campus-wide announcement on Thursday, asked “any faculty member who requires dean’s excuses to suspend that practice until Thanksgiving break.”

Quester said that her friends have experienced similar troubles getting calls back and appointments within the past few weeks.

“I know many people who have called and it just goes straight to voicemail,” Quester said. “They leave a message. There’s no reply. A lot of them have just had to go straight in there.”

Miley Hamilton ’27 said that she woke up feeling ill on Wednesday and went to the health center for an appointment. However, there were no appointments available until the next morning, when she had class.

“There was only one appointment opening [the next] morning during the day,” she said. “It was either that or at night.”

Hamilton ended up scheduling her appointment for 6 p.m. the following night.

Goldstein said that the health center works with the help of St. Luke’s Hospital in Easton to ensure that providers are on campus until 8 p.m., but with one secretary and a larger number of students coming in for seasonal illnesses starting in October, it is difficult to guarantee timely appointments for every student.

“We have to do our very best to serve the students, and even try to exceed expectations, [but] this time of year is very difficult,” Goldstein said. “It’s exhausting for the staff.”

Multiple members of health center staff declined to comment, forwarding all inquiries to Goldstein.

He added in a follow-up email that “although we have not hired additional full-time employees, the College has supported student health by funding for part-time nurses and hospital network providers. This has really helped us, giving students access to Bailey on weekends and evening hours.”

Goldstein believes that the issue is more complicated than the ratio of healthcare providers to students.

“The college has been very generous at giving us extra staff,” Goldstein said. “[But] I’d say this period that we’re going through is about as busy as it’s been in my 24 years. We usually put through close to seven thousand people per year when you add it all up, and that’s a big number. So this time of year, it sucks.”

Goldstein said that Bailey previously implemented a discounted telemedicine program with one of the outside providers.

“Students never used it,” he said. “And I think there’s good reason for it. They didn’t use it because it doesn’t really fit that well with college health. Most of the reasons for coming to see a provider, you have to be hands-on.”

When students cannot get appointments, a triage nurse can assess a student without a healthcare provider. Otherwise, if students are too sick to leave, they may need to wait in the waiting room until someone can see them.

Another option for students seeking care is a nurse line paid for by the college through the Lehigh Valley Health Network. Students can call 610-590-2719 between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. with concerns.

Some students have had an easier time accessing appointments more recently.

“I pretty much like walked in [to the health center] and then later that day had an appointment,” Ben Risley ’26 said. “So that was nice. Overall, pretty good experience.”

Goldstein said that he plans in the future for a new health center to be built that “has the space, the capacity and the collaboration with a network to provide the kind of excellent, excellent service the students deserve.”

“[The staff] get finished with the day and we’re like, ‘I can’t believe we made it through the day,’” Goldstein said. “We do that day in and day out, and try to do it with a smile on our face.”

Disclaimer: Page Designer Miley Hamilton ’27 did not contribute to writing or reporting. 

Selma O’Malley ’26 contributed reporting. 

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About the Contributors
Jenny Davis, Staff News Writer
Austin Carey, Staff Photographer

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