Health Services

The University is in such close proximity to community health services. In the event a student is ill or in need of medical advice, the student has the following options:

  • Call his/her personal physician’s office
  • Go to Abilene Community Health Center, 1749 Pine St., 325-696-0600 (3 minute drive from campus, open M-F). More information.
  • Go to My Emergency Room 24/7  located at 4438 S. Clack street, Suite 100, 325-704-4485. (8 a.m.-8 p.m.)
  • Go to the Affordacare Clinic, 4009 Ridgemont, 325-232-8830 (not open weekends) or clinic @ 3101 S. 27th, 325-704-5037 (open 7 days/week)
  • Go to Dr. J Express Care, 1634 Hwy. 351, 325-676-1100 (open 7 days/week)
  • In case of an emergency: Go to Hendrick Trauma Center, 1900 Pine, 325-670-2151

Residential students should notify the residence hall director if they need assistance contacting a health care provider.

Health Insurance

What student insurance is available?

It is important for students to have their health insurance card to facilitate any need for medical attention. For students who do not have insurance coverage and who wish it, some suggested websites include:

International Student Health Insurance

It is the policy of Hardin-Simmons University that our international student population has health insurance to provide for their healthcare needs. Additionally, HSU wants to protect our students from compromising their financial status and their education. Therefore, international students will be automatically enrolled into the HSU insurance plan via the Office for Global Engagement. The insurance fee will be added to the student’s account at the start of each enrolled semester.

For questions regarding the international insurance policy, please contact the Office of Global Engagement at globalengagement@hsutx.edu.

Texas legislation mandates that every new student and new transfer under the age of 22 to any Texas university, regardless of living on campus or off campus, will be required to have a Meningitis Vaccinationwithin the 5 years prior to the first class day and at least 10 days prior to the first class day. In addition, Hardin-Simmons University requires every new incoming student under 22 years of age provide proof of the meningitis vaccine prior to registering for classes. (A returning student following a break in enrollment of at least one fall or spring semester is also considered a new student.) Submit your meningitis vaccination here.

Exceptions to this law would be:

  1. The student is enrolled only in online or other distance education courses; or
  2. The student is enrolled in a continuing education course or program that is less than 360 contact hours, or continuing education corporate training; or
  3. The student is enrolled in a dual credit course which is taught at a public or private K-12 facility not located on a higher education institution campus; or
  4. The student is incarcerated in a Texas prison.

A student is not required to submit evidence of receiving the Meningitis Vaccine if the student submits to HSU:

  1. An affidavit or certificate signed by a physician who is duly registered and licensed to practice medicine in the U.S., stating that in the physician’s opinion, the vaccine would be injurious to the health and well- being of the student; or
  2. An affidavit signed by the student stating that the student declines the vaccine for reasons of conscience, including a religious belief.
    Students must use the official Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) form. It may be ordered electronically. The form is then mailed from DSHS to the student, and it may take up to two weeks to receive it. It must be completed, notarized and provided to Hardin-Simmons University Nurse’s office. It is the student’s responsibility to complete the DSHS form and have it notarized. You can request the form here.

The latter exemption does not apply during a disaster or public health emergency, terrorist attack, hostile military or paramilitary action, or extraordinary law enforcement emergency declared by a Texas Department of State Health Services authority and is in effect for the location of the university the student attends. Texas law states that acceptable evidence of your Meningitis Vaccination must include:

  1. Student’s name and date of birth.
  2. Month, day, year the vaccine was administered.
  3. Signature or stamp of the physician or his/her designee, or public health personnel; OR
  4. An official immunization record generated from a state or local health authority (as from the Texas Public Health Department); OR
  5. An official record received from school officials, including a record from another state.
  6. The student has to have received the vaccine or a booster during the 5-year period preceding the first day of class.

The vaccine can be obtained through the health department, some pharmacies, and perhaps some private physicians. If age 18 and under, the student may qualify for the vaccine free with Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing in Abilene. Call Alice Murphy at 325-671-2356 to inquire about qualifications.
It is important you consult your physician regarding the need for the Meningitis Vaccine to prevent bacterial meningitis.

This information is being provided to all new college students in the state of Texas. Bacterial Meningitis is a serious, potentially deadly disease that can progress extremely fast- so take utmost caution. It is an inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. The bacteria that causes meningitis can also infect the blood. This disease strikes 1,000 to 3,000 Americans each year, including 100-125 on college campuses, leading to 5-15 deaths among college students every year. There is a treatment, but those who survive may develop severe health problems or disabilities.

What are symptoms of bacterial meningitis?

  • High fever
  • Rash or purple patches on skin
  • Light sensitivity
  • Confusion and sleepiness
  • Lethargy
  • Severe headache
  • Vomiting
  • Stiff neck
  • Nausea
  • Seizures

There may be a rash of tiny, red-purple spots caused by bleeding under the skin. These can occur anywhere on the body. The more

symptoms, the higher the risk, so when these symptoms appear seek immediate medical attention.

How is bacterial meningitis diagnosed?

  • Diagnosis is made by a medical provider and is usually based on a combination of clinical symptoms and laboratory results from spinal fluid and blood tests.
  • Early diagnosis and treatment can greatly improve the likelihood of recovery.

How is bacterial meningitis transmitted?

The disease is transmitted when people exchange saliva (such as by kissing, or by sharing drinking containers, utensils, cigarettes, toothbrushes, etc.) or come in contact with respiratory or throat secretions.

How do you increase your risk of getting bacterial meningitis?

  • Exposure to saliva by sharing cigarettes, water bottles, eating utensils, food, kissing, etc.
  • Living in close conditions (such as sharing a room/suite in a dorm or group home).

What are the possible consequences of the disease?

  • Death (in 8 to 24 hours from perfectly well to dead)
  • Permanent brain damage
  • Kidney failure
  • Learning disability
  • Hearing loss, blindness
  • Limb damage (fingers, toes, arms, legs) that requires amputation
  • Gangrene
  • Coma
  • Convulsions

Can bacterial meningitis be treated?

  • Antibiotic treatment, if received early, can save lives and chances of recovery are increased. However, permanent disability or death can still occur.
  • Vaccinations are available and should be considered for those living in close quarters and college students 25 years old or younger.
  • Vaccinations are effective against 4 of the 5 most common bacterial types that cause 70% of the disease in the U.S. (but does not protect against all types of meningitis).
  • Vaccinations take 7- 10 days to become effective.
  • The cost of vaccine varies, so check with your health care provider.
  • Vaccination is very safe. Most common side effects are redness and minor pain at injection site for up to 2 days.
  • Vaccination is available at the Taylor County Health Department located at 850 North 6th Street, Abilene, TX.

Phone (325) 692-5600.

Where can I get more information?

  • Contact your own health care provider.
  • Contact HSU Student Health Center at Moody Center Rm. 208. Ext. 1314
  • Contact your local or regional Texas Deptartment of Health office. In Abilene contact the Taylor County Health Department at 850 North 6th Street. Phone (325) 692-5600.
  • Visit: www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/disease info or www.acha.org.