Campus: CSU East Bay -- May 23, 2005

Cal State East Bay Students Vote for Health Services Fee Increase

Students overwhelmingly voted "yes" to increasing their Health Services Fee last week, according to results certified Thursday by the California State University, East Bay Campus Fee Advisory Committee.

The seven-member committee is made up of administrators, faculty, staff and students. After examining the results of the balloting, the committee voted unanimously to validate the outcome and recommend to President Norma Rees that the new fee be implemented.

President Rees is expected to act on the recommendation next week.

The balloting, which included e-mail voting, resulted in 2,153 votes cast, 77.3 percent as 'yes' votes, according to Richard Metz, vice president for Administration and Business Affairs and chair of the Campus Fee Advisory Committee.

Students voted May 11 and 12 on whether to increase their mandatory health services fees in order to maintain the services of both the Student Health and the Counseling and Psychological services departments on campus.

The Student Health Services Department handles more than 15,000 student visits annually, making it one of the most heavily utilized and highly regarded of the campus services.

"Since 40 percent of Cal State East Bay students who use student health services have no other health insurance, this department provides a much needed service," said Maggie Gaddis, university health educator. "The services provided there are similar to a regular doctor's office, but charge a fraction of the cost. Outpatient medical services, pharmacy, lab, X-ray services and birth control are just a sample of the services."

Although the health services fee has not been adjusted in eight years, the cost of medical services has increased by more than five percent annually during the same period.

"Without a fee increase, financial reserves would have been exhausted and services reduced," said Dr. Cathleen Coulman, director of Student Health Services and a physician.

Students voted for the health services fee to be raised $8 annually for five years. Beginning with a total of $43 in 2005-06, the fee would reach $75 per year by 2009-10. After 2010, any necessary increase would be based on the medical consumer price index.

By approving increased fees, students will have services available to them on campus that cost less than those offered in the surrounding community and will continue to have free access to psychiatric and counseling services.

If the fee had not been increased, services could have been cut by up to 25 percent, and as a result hours and days of operation would decrease, according to Dr. Coulman.

"Fewer such services could have meant that some students would have had to school for health-related reasons," she said.

Media Contacts: Kim Huggett, Dir. of Public Affairs, (510) 885-2032, or Barry Zepel, Media Relations Officer, (510) 885-3884

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