Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Students who go down to the Health Office in the basement of Wyckham House may not find what they're looking for.

The fallout of FOIPP (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act) has caused problems with the distribution of information from the college to the Health Centre. Many students have found themselves to be out of luck when it comes to health and dental coverage.

Karine Schaffer is one of those students. The second-year General Studies student says a broken tooth made her broke as well.

"Part of my tooth broke off, and I had to have a root canal," she says. But if that wasn't painful enough, she was then forced to pay the nearly $600 dental bill herself.

The Students' Association is in ongoing meetings to fix the problems that FOIPP has caused this year. Mark Sollis, SA vice president external, insists that students are still covered. "Students can go down to the Health Centre and access service," he says. "Students are covered, so use the service."

But Sollis says that the problem should be solved soon.

"Trust us," he says. "This is high on our priority list."

Schaffer doesn't think she's covered. "I submitted all the forms," she says, "and one or two weeks later I get a call that I have no dental coverage."

Ellen Rayner, the FOIPP coordinator for the college, says cases like Schaffer's are not FOIPP problems. FOIPP involves the college protecting students' private information. The college has been working on an information-sharing agreement with the SA since 1999, when FOIPP was implemented.

This year, the college provided a list of the names and addresses of students to the Students' Association, and whether they have paid their health and dental fees. Prior to the implementation of FOIPP, the college also provided the SA with the date of birth and gender of each student.

"It's up to the SA and the insurance company to gather that information," Rayner says. "This process requires another step."

That step would be for the SA to obtain consent to give information to the insurance company.

Schaffer was depending on the health and dental plan at the college to pay 50 per cent of her dental bill, while her family Blue Cross plan picked up the remainder. Confused, she went to the Health Centre, where she was told there was "nothing they could do."

"They said it would take two to three weeks for the database to be up," said Schaffer.

This presented a problem, as Blue Cross refused to pay until the college plan, through Liberty Health, first paid their share.

Thankfully, Schaffer says that after her father spoke to Blue Cross, they decided to accept the claim under "special circumstances." But just because the situation is behind her, doesn't mean that Schaffer doesn't harbor ill feelings.

"They (the Health Office) were totally unwilling to help," she says. "They kept putting it off and putting it off."

But Schaffer isn't the only one who's neither willing to forgive or forget.

Cheryl is the receptionist at the Glamorgan Dental Centre. She's seen a lot of students like Schaffer come in this semester, and she's seen an equal number of problems with the dental plan at the college.

"Mount Royal won't get their database together," she says. "For the first three weeks, they told us it was because of the blackout period, because students were still opting out. "Now, it's just not up."

But Cheryl was quick to point out that this wasn't a problem with the insurance company.

"Liberty Health is awesome," she says. "Mount Royal College is not."

But Glamorgan Dental Centre won't have to worry about the college after Dec. 1. Cheryl says, as of that day, their office will no longer be associated with the college.

And that will have an impact on students. "I'd say, probably 500 students (came to the office this semester)," Cheryl says. "Now, we're turning business away."