Marie Regalado, who is six and half months pregnant, will never forget the fear and shock that she felt at CSUSM about a month ago. It was during the heat wave when temperatures reached 100 degrees. She was walking on campus when all of a sudden she felt like she was going to collapse. Her face turned as white as a wall, as she struggled to get to the nearest building. When she opened the door, she told the staff that she was pregnant and that something was wrong. She then went on to explain to them that she needed the campus police to take her to the CSUSM medical building immediately. She felt secure in the fact that they would help her because she had paid the school’s medical fees that everyone is required to pay with tuition in order to attend CSUSM. She was wrong!
Upon arriving via police escort, she frantically told the medical staff of her emergency. They told her that since she obviously has another primary care physician (OBGYN), they could not help her in her situation.
Marie is not a soft-spoken individual, but she couldn’t even object because it was taking everything she had just to stand up. Since they wouldn’t help her, she just asked for a cot to lie down on. They said they couldn’t give her a cot because that would be a form of treatment, and that there was a chair by the door she could sit on. She was shocked by their response to her emergency and feared for her baby’s health, as well as her own. I arrived about ten minutes later to pick her up and she looked awful. I thought to myself – “Why did she have to pay those fees if they weren’t going to help her? What would have happened if she had collapsed, would they have helped her then?
As medical professionals are they allowed to turn people away, especially in an emergency? Could she have opted out of paying the fees, because she could certainly have used that money for baby supplies? Is it only pregnant women that are denied service, or are all people with obvious medical conditions turned away despite having paid the fees? How many people are paying the fees, thinking they are covered in an emergency, that will be turned away? Can they opt out? Is there anywhere on the CSUSM website that details this information, perhaps some small writing that we missed when paying the fees – a disclaimer maybe?”
Of all these questions, I only have one answer; NO!
There is not a single place on CSUSM’s website that goes into detail about who can and cannot be seen by the clinic. Nor is there a section for opting out. I plan on speaking with the staff to ask them the questions that remain unanswered so that I can inform you in our next publication.
For now, it seems to me that anyone who is pregnant at CSUSM may want to consider alternate forms of help in case of an emergency because YOU ARE NOT COVERED despite having paid the fees!