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Hamel Health and Counseling Center

FAQs

HEALTH SERVICES

Who is on staff?
Health Services are provided by two nurse practitioners, one physician assistant, and an MD. Our Practice Manager is responsible for the operations of the Center. A Medical Administrative Assistant is in charge of immunization compliance and operations support.

What if a student is sick during the evening or on the weekend when the Hamel Health and Counseling Center is closed?
To arrange for appropriate care, students may speak with a staff member of Residence Life for support or may contact Police Services at 978-837-5911 or 978-837-5555. 

The following local health services are also available:

AFC Urgent Care North Andover: 129 Turnpike Street, No. Andover, MA   Tel: 978-470-0800 (1.3 miles from campus)

Pentucket Medical Express Care: 500 Merrimack Street, Lawrence, MA   Tel: 978-557-8800 (4.9 miles from campus)              

Merrimack Medical & Walk-In Center: 25 Marston Street, Lawrence, MA   Tel: 978-699-3100 (4.4 miles from campus)

Transportation options for off campus urgent care or specialist appointments include taxi vouchers with a taxi company contracted with Merrimack College, Zip Car, and ride sharing services.

Where will students be taken in case of a medical emergency?
Students will be transported by ambulance to Lawrence General Hospital in Lawrence or Holy Family Hospital in Methuen, both of which are 10-15 minutes away from the College.

May I speak with someone regarding my existing health concerns?
It is always recommended that parents and/or students contact us prior to coming to campus to arrange for medical treatment, counseling, or medication management. This makes the transition to college so much easier for the student.

To confidentially discuss the resources and support services that are available, please call 978-837-5441 to arrange to speak with the Assistant Director/Nurse Practitioner. We are happy to address your concerns, make recommendations, and direct you to the appropriate resources.

I need to take daily medications.  Will you keep my medication at the Hamel Health and Counseling Center?
No.  Students are responsible for managing their own medications and are able to keep their medications in a safe place in their room. Some students obtain a locked box to store their medications.

How will I get my prescription medication?
Students may wish to transfer ongoing prescriptions to a local pharmacy before arriving on campus. There are three local pharmacies within walking distance of Merrimack College:

CVS Pharmacy 978-686-3854, Rite Aid 978-794-8720, Walgreens Pharmacy 978-681-1530

At the discretion of the physician or nurse practitioner, certain medications can be refilled for students seen at the Hamel Health Center. In most cases, we do not refill controlled or psychotropic medications. Please make arrangements with your prescriber to have these medications filled or ask your prescriber for a referral to a local provider.

Students are cautioned to keep medications in a safe place and not share medications with others.

Will the Hamel Health and Counseling Center administer my allergy injections?
No. To arrange allergy injections, call Dr. Thomas Johnson at New England Allergy located at 555 Turnpike Street, North Andover, MA. Tel: 978-689-8890.

What if I need a medical specialist?
The Hamel Health and Counseling Center works with several medical specialists in the area to whom they can refer. Prior to making an appointment with a specialist, check with your insurance provider to see if you will need prior authorization and/or if the referred doctor is included in your insurance network.

What should I do if I have food allergies or dietary requirements?
We strongly encourage students with medical conditions and/or potentially life-threatening food allergies to make themselves known to us at the Hamel Health and Counseling Center. Please contact the Nutritionist at 978-837-3599 to discuss your needs and arrange for a tour of the dining hall. We encourage all students who are prescribed an EpiPen to carry this with them at all times and to wear a MedicAlert ID bracelet.

EpiPen: Be sure to check the expiration date and be sure you know how to use an EpiPen appropriately and effectively. In case of an emergency during an anaphylactic reaction, students should use the EpiPen and then call Police Services at 978-837-5911 to obtain emergency services.

MedicAlert Bracelets: We encourage wearing a MedicAlert ID bracelet for cases of a medical emergency where the student may not be able to speak for themselves. This immediately alerts the medical team to the nature of the condition and provides 24/7 access to the student’s health history and emergency contact numbers. These identification tags can be worn as bracelets or necklaces, as well as on ankles and shoes. More information can be found at the Medic Alert Foundation website:  www.MedicAlert.org

Any suggestions of what to bring to campus to take care of myself?
While the Campus Bookstore and Hamel Health and Counseling Center do provide some over-the-counter medications, it is always a good idea for students to have a small First Aid Kit in their rooms. This is helpful for those times when they are not feeling well and don’t want to leave their room. We recommend that students consider bringing the following:

  • Any medication, prescription or over-the-counter, that a student uses regularly
  • Over-the-counter medications for headaches, stomach aches, fevers, allergies, colds, etc.
  • Tissues, Bandaids, Telfa or gauze pads, and antiseptic ointment
  • Digital Thermometer (under $10)
  • Contact lenses AND prescription glasses

How do I request an accommodation?
Accommodations for housing, parking, and campus access are facilitated through the Merrimack College Accessibility Services. Contact the Accessibility Services at 978-837-5140 for details, directives, and any questions you may have.  

HEALTH FORMS

How can I obtain the required health forms?
All incoming students are required to submit health forms and documentation of Massachusetts state-required immunizations. This is done through the patient portal.

When do health forms need to be completed?
The required health forms are due by May 31st for incoming fall freshmen, and one month prior to classes for other semesters.

What if my physical is not scheduled until after the due date?
Some of the information required is historical. Please include your most recent physical forms up to 13 months old. Once you have your physical, please submit all updated physical forms and related information.

What about student-athletes?  Do they need to submit health forms to the Hamel Health and Counseling Center?
Yes, the required Athletics forms are in addition to the Health Forms required by the College. The Sports Physical Forms can be found on the Merrimack College Athletics website. Questions regarding these forms should be directed to the Department of Athletics/Sports Medicine at 978-837-5341.

My country/state does not require all of the immunizations listed on the health forms so do I need to have them done?
Yes. The immunizations are mandated by state law. All students attending college in Massachusetts must meet Massachusetts state requirements.

Will I be allowed to attend college without the required immunizations due to a specific medical reason or religious beliefs?
Yes. You will be asked to complete a form stating the reasons for not having the required immunizations listed on the Immunization Record Form. This will be done prior to submitting your Health Forms to the Hamel Health and Counseling Center.

HEALTH INSURANCE

Am I required to purchase the school health insurance plan?
All students are required to have health insurance, but are not required to purchase the plan offered by the College. The exception to this is that all international students are required to purchase the College plan.

All students are automatically enrolled and billed for the student plan. In order to waive the plan and fee, the student will need to complete an on-line waiver. In order to be waived, the health plan/insurance coverage must be comparable to the plan offered by the College. International students cannot waive the College insurance.

Who do I contact with questions regarding the college’s insurance plan?
You can contact the Bursar’s Office at 978-837-5105 or contact Gallagher-Koster Insurance at 1-800-401-6074. You can also visit their website at www.gallagherstudent.com/merrimack

COUNSELING SERVICES

Who is on staff?
Our mental health clinicians include three licensed social workers and a licensed mental health counselor. Our Practice Manager is responsible for the operations of the Center.

May I speak with someone regarding my existing mental health concerns?
It is always recommended that parents and/or students contact us prior to coming to campus to arrange for medical treatment, counseling, or medication management. This makes the transition to college so much easier for the student.

To confidentially discuss the resources and support services that are available, please call 978-837-5441 to arrange to speak with the Director. We are happy to address your concerns, make recommendations, and direct you to the appropriate resources.

How do I request an accommodation?
Accommodations for housing, parking, and campus access are facilitated through the Merrimack College Accessibility Services. Contact Accessibility Services at 978-837-5140 for details, directives, and any questions you may have.  

Why would students seek counseling?
Meeting with a counselor can bring perspective and introduce coping skills, whether adjusting to your new independence, learning how to cope with stress, learning how to deal with a traumatic event, how to handle relationships with others, how to manage change, or how to gain a better understanding of the world around you.  

How can parents help?
If you become concerned about your child’s well-being, the first step is to have an honest conversation with them, express your concerns and listen to what they have to say. By familiarizing yourself with the resources most appropriate to their situation, you can discuss them with your child and encourage them to connect to campus support services. If you are concerned that your child may be at risk and want to alert us to what is happening, you may contact us at 978-837-5441. While there are legal limits to what information we are able to discuss, we take your concerns seriously and want to partner with you in support of your child.

As parents, you must navigate the difficult balance of supporting, protecting, and advocating for your student’s well-being, while empowering them to establish their independence by making their own decisions and developing the skills they need to care for themselves. Please know that Merrimack College is committed to helping your child flourish personally as well as academically.