Whoever enrolls in fall classes at AC is promptly eligible for free telehealth
It should come as no surprise that Amarillo College is experiencing an upsurge in registrations for TimelyCare, the free virtual healthcare plan that's accessible to all AC academic students, their spouses, and their dependents.
For in addition to being free for everyone who uses it, the service provides high-quality, basic medical and mental healthcare 24 hours a day from licensed physicians and counselors – in multiple languages – 365 days a year from virtually any location. Participants also receive cost-saving prescription cards.
This free coverage, which does not require co-pays, is automatically extended year-round to students enrolled in associate degree programs and Level I or Level II certificate programs at AC.
While students in dual credit or continuing education classes are not eligible, incoming academic students certainly are, so even though fall classes will not begin until Aug. 21, anyone who enrolls in fall classes can tap into the benefits of TimelyCare without delay.
So too, therefore, can family members who students deem dependents.
“Students who just graduated from high school, or anyone else who has already enrolled in academic classes at AC for the Fall semester, need not to wait until classes begin to take advantage of TimelyCare,” Jerrod Hinders, coordinator of AC’s Counseling Center, said. “Eligibility is based on enrollment, so incoming academic students who have already enrolled are welcome to register for TimelyCare this summer, even today, and begin using it immediately.
“Since January, we’ve had more than 100 new registrations each month, and that’s an exciting trend we hope to see continue because this free service is invaluable for our students and their loved ones, a real game-changer.”
To date, 1,039 eligible students have registered for TimelyCare at AC, a tally that represents 14.3 percent of all eligible participants. Hinders points out that the average registration rate across all community colleges that offer TimelyCare is 6.9 percent, so AC’s rate is comparatively surging, especially given that it has been less than a full year since AC officially introduced the free telehealth service.
And so far, client feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
“How in-detail the doctor was,” one AC student shared. “How she listened to my concerns. How what was important to me was important to her. And the treatment was beyond expectation.”
Another student who used TimelyCare said: “The provider I chose has been very helpful with my mental health. I’m happy to have this provided for me by the school.”
Additionally, a survey of AC TimelyCare users confirms lofty ratings of 4.83 per visit and 4.92 per provider interaction, each based on a 5.0 scale.
“Among other things that our user surveys have told us,” Hinders said, “is that one out of every two students who used TimelyCare would have done nothing if this service wasn’t available, so it is definitely filling a need.
“Also, 47 percent of our students’ visits on the TimelyCare platform are occurring after hours or on weekends or holidays, which shows us that we’re truly providing equitable access to care when they need it,” he said. “For busy students who are concerned with jobs and classes and family responsibilities like picking up children, the 9-to-5 timeframe does not always work.
“TimelyCare’s ability to give students access to the care they need when they’re best able to take full advantage of it, after traditional hours, is perfect.”
Another insight Hinders gleaned from student surveys is the fact that 44 percent of students who have used TimelyCare have selected providers of color.
“Students and their dependents are able to choose providers who are familiar with their gender, age, race and culture,” Hinders said. “It’s huge as a patient to be treated by a healthcare provider who has certain cultural empathy; it saves time and aids understanding.”
The impact of mental health on student retention is clear. A recent survey by the Lumina Foundation reported that 63 percent of associate degree students who considered dropping out in the past six months said it was due to emotional stress. Additionally, the health of children and spouses can adversely affect a student’s academic success.
“Amarillo College is one of the few community colleges to offer these supports to students’ families,” Hinders said. “We understand that our students’ success does not only depend on their own wellbeing, but on that of their family members, too, so we encourage all dependents to enroll in TimelyCare.
“Students have shared how impactful it has been getting their children and spouses the care they need to maintaining their academic goals.”
TimelyCare is not intended to treat chronic illness. Rather, it is designed to address more than 120 basic health conditions – from flu-like symptoms, pink eye and respiratory issues, to panic disorders and relationship issues.
Through TimelyCare, on their phone or other device, AC students can now select from a wide-ranging menu of virtual care options from licensed physicians and counselors in all 50 states – at no cost and without the hassle of traditional insurance – including:
- On-demand medical care
- Unlimited appointment-based medical care
- Unlimited on-demand mental health support (TalkNow)
- Appointment-based mental health counseling (10 sessions per year)
- Psychiatric support
- Health coaching
- Basic Needs assistance
- Digital self-care content
- Prescriptions discount card
“Our Counselling Center on the Washington Street Campus will continue to serve students on an in-person basis; however, we have a limited capacity for doing so, which is why TimelyCare has been of enormous benefit to the entire College community,” Hinders said. “It not only adds physical healthcare to our student benefits package, but it empowers us to finally meet 100 percent of our need, even on nights and weekends, related to our mental health services.”
Academic students who are currently enrolled in AC classes, even upcoming classes, can register for TimelyCare - or simply learn more about the free service – by visiting timelycare.com/amarillocollege.