Klotz Student Health Center provides services to CSUN students

Brett Teal

As the rain poured in front of the Freudian Sip near the Sierra Center two years ago, Debbie Chutuk lost her footing, slipped and fell.

When Chutuk hit the ground she injured her knee. The 54-year-old liberal studies major feared she had torn a muscle or a broken bone.

At the time she didn’t have a personal doctor and was unaware of CSUN’s Klotz Student Health Center.

She had no idea affordable treatment was only steps away.

That’s when another student informed Chutuk she could receive a medical evaluation at the campus health center, located across from the orange grove.

“I didn’t know this was a feature when I first started school,” Chutuk said.  “I didn’t know I could come in free.”

Each semester students pay a $55 health services fee included in their tuition.  This allows them to see physicians for basic services such as checkups for free.

Chutuk was able to get her knee examined, and a year later when she fell and injured her other knee at the exact same spot on a similar rainy day, she knew exactly where to go.

Chutuk was referred to a physical therapist when the pain in her knee failed to subside.  She continues to attend meetings addressing the pain ach session costs $5.
Sharon Aronoff, a health educator for the Klotz Student Center, feels the services are only one benefit of the center.

“One of the things we pride ourselves on is we are really student friendly,” Aronoff said.

Aronoff recounted the comments she has received from appreciative students who said their doctors spent extra time with them.

In addition to primary care and physical therapy, the center offers an array of other services at minimal rates.

People suffering from back pain can see a chiropractor for $20 for the first visit and $10 for each following session.

A 50-minute table massage is only $29.  Acupuncture sessions are $10 for a half-hour session and $20 for one hour.

Students who want lose weight, maintain their weight, or simply get an evaluation of their diet can see the registered dietitian, Ellen Bauersfeld

To put the affordability of the center in perspective, Bauersfeld runs a private practice offering nutrition counseling.  An initial session with her costs $150 and each 30-minute follow-up session is $45

At the Klotz Student Health Center a 30-minute session with Bauersfeld is free.

H1N1 vaccinations are free and for an additional fee seasonal flu shots are available.  These are only two of the many immunizations available.

The health center also has an optometry clinic stocked with various designer frames.

Dental services including basic examinations, cleanings, X-rays, and fillings are done on site with prices for each listed on the student health center’s website.

Aronoff also pointed out the center can help patients avoid a long wait at a county hospital such as nearby Olive View-UCLA Medical Center.  She said this often involves a patient waiting more than 10 hours to be seen.

“Access is the biggest advantage,” Aronoff said.  “Our students have access to quality health care in a friendly environment.”

For now, all a student needs to do to make an appointment is call the health center.

But the way students make and cancel visits will be receiving an overhaul in the near future.  By Fall 2010 the center hopes to unveil a system allowing all appointments to be made online.

After setting up an account, students will be able to check physician availability and check results of lab work on a website similar to the CSUN Portal.

Patients would also be able to ask their doctors questions.  For many students this feature will eliminate the frustration sometimes encountered when making an appointment over the phone.

Allan Harell, 23, a biology graduate student, recalled the many times he’s played phone tag with the health center while trying to schedule a doctor’s visit.

“Sometimes they say they’ll call you in 30 minutes, but they take longer,” Harell said.  “Then they leave a message and it can take a day.”

Another recent change to the health center involves student eligibility after graduation.

Even after the school year ends, a student’s coverage can continue.  Students have the option of paying a one-time $68 fee, allowing them to use the center’s services throughout the summer.

Students who get their degree in spring will be able to enroll in this program the summer after they graduate. Chutuk, the student who fell, continues to see a physical therapist even though she received her degree in May.

The Klotz Student Health Center currently gets about 65,000 visits per year, but Aronoff hopes that number will grow.

“Would I like to see more students?  Sure,” Aronoff said.  “I feel the student health center is like any other facility, if they feel they need it, they utilize it.”