Primary Care Services Provided By Pat Walker

By Alex Nicoll

The Razorback Reporter

The Pat Walker Health Center could offer more convenient and immediate service for student veterans who are seeking care than other medical providers in the community, the center executive director said.

Mary Alice Serafini, executive director of Pat Walker, said she thinks that student veterans would choose the health center over the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks hospital  

because the convenience of being on campus allows students to build relationships with medical providers.

“Real often in medical or counseling, once a relationship is established, that sometimes can be helpful for a student to know who you are going to see and how you are going to interact and those kinds of things,” Serafini said.

All services provided by the health center are offered to all students, including student veterans, Serafini said.

“The one that people probably know the most about is primary health care,” Serafini said. “For some veterans, it makes sense to use us; for other veterans, it makes sense to use the VA or other providers in the community. It depends on their circumstances.”

The health center provides outpatient care, which means patients can leave the center after they receive help and do not have to stay the night, according to the center’s website. Some examples of this care include dealing with acute care injuries, chronic care injuries and illnesses and providing a treatment room where patients can get cuts sewn up and casts for broken bones.

The center does not provide emergency services, she said.

“We would like for them to go straight to the ER and not stop here because it would delay care,” Serafini said.

Student veterans, like other students, pay the UA health fee of $7.25 per credit hour. Coupled with veterans probably being insured by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, that credit hour fee means “using medical services here is usually straight forward,” Serafini said.

Some of the staff at the center have more experience dealing with veterans than others, including medical providers and individuals on the nursing and laboratory staff, Serafini said.

“That expertise is always appreciated,” she said.

One service the center does not offer is any form of physical therapy treatment, Serafini said.

“We’ve explored having physical therapy here, but it’s not practical,” she said. “Physical therapists come to us and would love to be a part of Pat Walker, but when they look at how it would work financially for them, they don’t see it very inviting.”

If there is a service a student needs, but the center cannot provide, physicians at the center can refer students to “people we know can help with them with their assistance,” she said.

The health center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Friday, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

“Our whole point for (student veterans) is to know that we are accessible,” Serafini said.