Kristen Bryant-Colorful Medicine Jumble

5 Things You Need to Know About St. Liams

When you head off to college for the first (or second) time, with juggling 19 credits, making new friends and making sure you have clean laundry, University Health Services probably isn’t at the forefront of your mind. Okay, maybe during a global pandemic it’s a glimmer of consideration, but I know I gave very little thought to the details of what I would need to do if I actually had to pay a visit to St. Liam’s. 

I managed to make it through my first year at Notre Dame without a single visit to the on-campus doctor’s office. I knew of it and the pharmacy, but other than having to fill out my vaccination forms and insurance information, I didn’t have any personal experience with this aspect of being away from home. About two weeks into sophomore year though, that all changed. The first few times dealing with UHS can be a bit stressful, especially when you’re not feeling too hot, so here are 5 things to keep in mind.

  1. 1. ALWAYS Call Ahead of Time

    Hands holding phone

    In light of new COVID restrictions, you’re required to call to make an appointment. But, sometimes leaving the comfort of your loft isn’t even required! They are trying to avoid having people come in unless absolutely necessary. A phone consultation with a nurse or doctor can be just as effective, and cuts out time spent waiting. This is really helpful if you’re like me and have a pretty packed schedule this semester. Another helpful tip is to call right when UHS opens. Depending on the day, appointment slots can fill up quickly.

  2. 2. HIPAA Law Protects You

    I’ve heard of people being afraid to share certain details with health professionals because it might implicate them in breaking COVID-related restrictions and/or du Lac. This is a BIG no-no. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, otherwise known as HIPAA Law, prevents your health provider from disclosing your medical information without your consent or knowledge. This is taken very seriously nationwide and Notre Dame is no exception. In order for your doctors and nurses to give you the possible best care, they must have all the pertinent information you can provide. So, don’t be worried about being written up for disclosing sensitive subjects to your doctor.

  3. 3. They (Should) Have Your Insurance Information on File

    woman in front of a computer

    One of the pieces of information that you have to provide to the university before you step foot on campus each year is your health insurance. Meaning, that shouldn’t be a main area of concern if you’re heading to St. Liam’s for an appointment or to pick up a prescription. However, it’s never a bad idea to come prepared. Having a picture or copy of your insurance card on hand can ensure that no care or prescription gets delayed. 

  4. 4. The Automated Phone System at the Pharmacy is SUPER Annoying

    blonde woman with ponytail with her head in her hands leaning over a laptop

    You’ve seen the scenes from sitcoms on TV where a character is on the phone with an automated system and they end up screaming into the phone with frustration? Yeah… that pretty much sums it up. I think I attempted to check on my prescription 11 times. According to the automated phone system, your prescription is linked to the phone number you provide. My main source of confusion was which phone number they were asking for--mine, my mom’s or my doctor’s! If I’m being perfectly honest, my advice would be to attempt the automated system once. If that fails, just call back and see if you can get an actual person on the phone. They’re MUCH more helpful.

  5. 5. DON’T STRESS!!!!!

    self-love

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, when you packed, you could stash your pet and personal physician along with your tylenol and band aids? I know that this part of being an adult can be stressful and is often forgotten about when you’re mentally preparing to move away from home. But, try not to worry too much. Every year, the healthcare workers at St. Liams see thousands of students for the first time. They have seen and heard everything, so you never have to worry about asking a “dumb” question. (Hint: there are no dumb questions.) Take comfort in the fact that when you are sick, they are close by and their only job is you. The goal of University Health Services is to help you and give you the best possible care.