By Cassy Sottile
Health Services no longer has mental health nurses.
In a letter dated Aug. 13, Lisa Marx, director of Health Services announced that both psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners, Linda Hallowell and Debbie Goo- tee, retired from practice on July 30.
“Both of our providers have been in the business for over 20 years. They each drove over an hour and 45 minutes one way to get to campus and covered mental health clinics in other counties as well,” Marx said.
For the past five years, both Hallowell and Gootee provided services to Washington College students who required medication management for mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD/ADD. Many other private practices are also suffering from a shortage of nurse practitioners.
“We are currently searching for replacements and considering all options for medication management for our patients,” Marx said in an email Aug. 13. “This is a highly specialized area of practice and licensure.”
There are currently no replacements in effect this fall semester. For the time being, students who were prescribed medications from providers in their home town should continue to receive their prescriptions from that provider.
According to the announcement to the College, those prescriptions can be mailed to students on campus; however, the College will be unable to refill them should they run out while the semester is in session. Students are also encouraged to schedule appointments for fall, Thanksgiving and winter break with their private
providers. Students who need prescriptions for an illness will still get them from the medical team.
“Currently, the plan is for students with new diagnosis of mental illness that require medication management to be referred to providers within their individual insurance networks. Students who previously got their prescriptions from Debbie or Linda should contact Health Services to discuss their options,” Marx said.
Established patients with health services who need medication refills will still be able to receive them from health services until a new provider can be established, or for 30 days, whichever comes first.
“Students should contact their insurance companies to find a list of providers in the surrounding areas. [Students] will utilize their private insurance to cover any off-campus appointments as they do currently for off-campus services, outpatient lab testing facilities, etc.” Marx said in an email.
Such providers may include Easton, Centreville or Annapolis in Maryland, and Middletown or Dover in Delaware, all within a one-hour drive of campus.
Health Services will send copies of treatment records and signed medical release forms to providers at home or new providers for students as needed.
“I realize this change will complicate things for some students. I’m happy to talk with you to help resolve issues so that you can continue to receive necessary treatment management. In the meantime, we will continue to search for providers who can come to campus,” Marx said in an email. If any student has questions, they should contact Health Services, located next to Caroline and Queen Anne’s.