But My Tooth Hurts Now!

Dr. Bruce Biller, still in the midst of his first year as director of HBS’ branch of Harvard University Health Services, addressed the SA Senate last week, recapping recent changes, and calling on students to assist him in making additional improvements.

In a question and answer session with the senators, Biller acknowledged the students’ frustration with the long wait for appointments in HUHS’ main dental clinic at the Holyoke Center in Harvard Square. He said the problem should be alleviated somewhat by the recent hiring of new dental technicians.

However, he also asked students to keep him aware of the facts about the delays-especially regarding long waits for services like cavity filling.
“To the extent there is a squeaky wheel, maybe there will be some grease,” Biller said.

He has already exercised the greater control he wields over HBS’ Cumnock Clinic to improve services there, with initiatives like twice-a-week blood drawing and early-morning Monday walk-in hours for urgent care cases.

Still, he said more can be done-and students have a responsibility as well.

One key area Biller identified soon after taking the job in August was that the cancellation rate that the UHS’ Cumnock Hall clinic-which averages one or two missed appointments a day-was unacceptable.

Since doctors will usually wait for a patient through the scheduled appointment, unannounced cancellations create idle time that could otherwise be used to care for more critical walk-in patients.
Biller said the office has constructed an e-mail cancellation system for students to use if they cannot make an appointment, and he expects it to be functioning soon.

March 11, 2002