A Trip to Penn Travel Medicine

This morning, I took the 8:38am train to Radnor to get my Typhoid vaccine from Penn Travel Medicine. I needed the vaccine for my summer internship in China, and part of the money I received from Haverford CPGC was toward covering the cost of my Typhoid vaccine.381b0796-6afb-4229-8844-2a952a4b98fa
The Penn Medicine center in Radnor is right across the street from the Radnor train station. I was expecting it to be a small office similar to the specialized centers near Bryn Mawr. Instead, I was surprised to see a huge building with all the Penn Medicine departments housed inside it like commercial booths in a mall. Penn Travel Medicine was one of many specialized care units. The building was so big that I had to ask for directions.

The Medical center definitely had more of a mall feel than a medical/hospital center — which is definitely a plus. Who would want to enter an ugly building to receive top quality care? How much more comfortable would you feel if your environment was more “normal” and commercial looking, as if to not remind you that you are sick or need treatment? Penn is very good at branding. I saw their logo EVERYWHERE. I wonder what it would be like to work there…

When it was time to get my vaccine shot, I was lead into a small examination room. The registered nurse, a male, once again made me sign consent forms. Penn Medicine’s forms are all online. This saves a ton of paper, but there were lots of forms and links to click on. I enjoyed talking to the nurse who treated me. He went over the potential dangers I might encounter in China and what prescriptions were recommended to prevent malaria, Hepatitis A, and traveler’s diarrhea. It was very considerate of him to advise me to get my Hepatitis A and Tetanus Booster shots elsewhere because Penn Medicine does not take insurance. (Haverford CPGC would not pay for any other vaccines other than Typhoid.) He was trying to save me money! I told him that I wanted to be a nurse too. He said he was proud to be a nurse for the past 30 years. Before nursing, he was a medic. His wife is also a nurse, and they met working in the same hospital in different departments.

I do not hate my vaccine shot, but it did hurt just a little. My arm muscle is still sore. The nurse told me that the patient before me was his “practice patient” because the patient was his first of the day. He told me I was lucky to not be the “practice patient.” It is crazy to think that in a couple years I might be “the one who calls the shots shots shots” (reference to Rihanna).

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On another note, I would like to say that I am not very pleased with the transparency in Bryn Mawr College’s Health Center. I was searching for places I could get my other vaccines (Hep A & Tdap) where my personal insurance (Aetna High Deductible under my mother) would be taken. I am also under Blue Cross through Bryn Mawr College, but I called their customer service asking if they covered the vaccines I needed and they replied “No” because it was not a medical necessity. I then called Aetna to see which providers in my area are covered by them. The guy on the phone gave me a clinic in Bryn Mawr Hospital.

I really wanted to see my insurance would be taken at Bryn Mawr College’s Health Center because Haverford College conveniently lists which insurances are covered right on their website. This is a crucial feature missing from Bryn Mawr College Health Center’s Website.  When I called Bryn Mawr College Health Center to see if they took Aetna, they referred me to call either Blue Cross or Aetna. The problem is that Aetna does not have access to college providers because students’ information is private. I am under the impression that services done at Bryn Mawr College are only covered by Blue Cross, which has a monopoly over student bought health insurance at Bryn Mawr College. Blue Cross will only cover if it is medically necessary, which does not extend to me, even though I NEED these vaccines to enter China. Such are the struggles of Bryn Mawr students participating in Haverford programs when Haverford students can use better Haverford services only for Haverford students. In desperation, I even called Haverford College’s Health Center to see if they would give me vaccines because they took Aetna. Their response was that they could not treat non-Haverford students.

So excuse me if you see me blogging more than usual. I’m trying to hustle more to pay for my vaccines. #brokecollegestudentwhodoesntwannarelyonparents

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