Frequently Asked Questions


1.­ Am I required to show proof of immunizations to come to WTAMU?

Yes - Meningitis Vaccination Requirement - Texas law requires all students (under age 22) entering an institution of higher education (public and private) to either receive a vaccination against bacterial meningitis or meet certain criteria for declining such a vaccination.­ Student Medical Services offers the injection to currently enrolled and newly registered students for a discounted price.­ 

2. What if I do not want to get the vaccination?

Students age 22 or over are not required to provide documentation. Exceptions to this requirement must be documented on a conscientious exemption form. ­ Meningitis web page and forms:­


3.­  What do I do with the vaccination information or affidavit?

All Documentation or approved exemption forms regarding the meningitis vaccine must be uploaded on the student portal.  If you need to contact Admissions:
Mail: Office of Admissions, WTAMU Box 60907, Canyon, TX 79016
Phone: (806)651-2020
Fax: (806)651-5285


4.­ What other immunizations are required?

At this time, no other immunizations are required to enter WTAMU; however, SMS highly recommends that all students be current on all immunizations. 

5.­ What happens if I get sick, injured or need to see a medical provider?

The student can call the clinic at 806-651-3287.  Do not come into the clinic or the building to schedule an appointment.  All appointments must be scheduled by telephone. 

6. ­ Are appointments required?

Appointments are required. Our office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 pm  Monday-Friday. We can almost always see the student on the day they call, and will ALWAYS see them if it is an emergency. Student Medical Services has a board-certified physician, two family nurse practitioners, two RNs, an X-Ray technologist and administrative support staff to meet the medical needs of the student. We can provide everything your family doctor can. We have on-site x-ray processing and lab services, and can do minor surgical procedures (mole and wart removal, sutures, etc.), well-woman care, physicals, immunizations, and allergy shots.

7.­ Does it cost anything to visit Student Medical Services?

There is no charge for an office visit. There will be a charge if the student needs a diagnostic test, an X-ray, allergy shots, medications, or certain medical procedures. Most of these costs are minimal, and we expect payment arrangements at the time of service. We can bill the student, and accept Buff Gold Card, checks, money orders  or credit cards.  Credit card transactions must be made in person.  SMS no longer accepts cash. Students that want to pay over the phone with a credit card need to move funds from their credit card to their Buffalo Gold Card and we would be happy to take the Buffalo Gold transaction over the phone. SMS can also file an insurance claim if the student submits the insurance information and if we are in network with the insurance company.   

8.  ­ What about insurance?

We recommend that the student carry health insurance. The Student Medical Fee covers services provided on campus, but does not cover any type of specialty care. For example, if a student needs a surgical referral for appendicitis, these costs would be at the expense of the student. If you do not have medical insurance, there is a policy available through The Texas A&M University System - Academic Health Plans - underwritten by BlueCross BlueShield. You may enroll or find more information on the­ West Texas A&M University Student Health Insurance Web Page­ or call 855-247-2273 for more information. ­ Students also utilize their insurance benefits to help pay for any prescriptions they may need. If the student has medical insurance, please be sure he/she knows about the coverage and provide him/her a copy of the insurance card (front and back).

If you would like to­ e-mail a PDF copy of health insurance cards to or fax­­ 806-651-3289.­ Please be sure that the copy of the insurance card is legible and includes a the name of the student and the student's Buffalo Gold Card number.­


9.­ Do you file insurance claims?

 Yes, WTAMU can file your insurance claim.  WTAMU is in network with Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, United Health Care, Tricare  and First Care.   ­ ­ WTAMU Student Medical Services will utilize a third party billing company.­ The student health fee which is paid by the student with each semester’s academic charges will cover the co-payment. Students may opt to have their primary insurance company billed for services (lab tests, x-rays, medical procedures, medications, etc.) or they may choose to self-pay.­ This service will be specifically for fees incurred within Student Medical Services. Please bring your insurance card to every appointment.­

Note: At this time, we cannot file Medicaid or Medicare claims.  We cannot file claims with Kaiser Insurance Company, Molina, Superior, Amerigroup or First Care - Medicaid.  We are not in network with Aetna and cannot file claims with this insurance company at this time. 

Pharmacy cannot be billed to insurance.  The WTAMU Student Medical Services Class D Pharmacy is not included in insurance billing. 


10.­ Can a parent get information about the student’s health status?

We are unable to release any information about the student--even as simple as whether the student has an appointment at the clinic--without the student’s written consent. Privacy regulations, as well as the fact that they are considered adults, prevent us from releasing this information. We also cannot release information to professors or administrators without the student’s consent. If the student is under age 18, we will need permission from a parent/guardian to treat them; and in those cases, we can release information to the parent/guardian.

11.­  Where are you located?

2620 N. Russell Long Blvd,­ Virgil Henson Activities Center Room 104 - Map to VHAC­­   We are located across from the Sports Complex and the Football Stadium.  When you go to the VHAC, you will need to bring your Buffalo Gold Card as you will be carded at the front entrance.  Turn right down the first hallway, past the weight room and past the swimming pool.  We are on the right just before you see the South exit doors to the building. VHAC Room 104.  


12.   How can I schedule an appointment?­

Due to COVID, the online appointments have been temporarily turned off.  However, you can complete your health history, view forms, lab results and send messages through the portal.  

 Healthy Buffs Portal 

To schedule an appointment, please call 806-651-3287.   You can also walk in to schedule an appointment.  However, you might not be able to be seen immediately and will have to return at a later time for your appointment.  VHAC 104.  

If you have any upper respiratory problem or want to be tested for the COVID virus  and have not been vaccinated with the COVID vaccine at least two weeks prior to your appointment,  please call SMS prior to entering the building.  Masks will be required for any upper respiratory related appointment.  

13.­ What if I cannot keep my appointment?­

Please cancel your appointment.  You can call (806) 651-3287 during business hours or cancel your appointment online through the Healthy Buff Portal.  Please cancel at least an hour before your appointment,  The clinic will consider a no show/non-cancellation appointment at any time a patient has not given advanced notice­ within 1 hour of the appointment time or has failed to arrive within 5 minutes of their appointment time.­­ All no show appointments are subject to a non-cancellation $20  fee, $40 no show fee for a specialist and a $40 fee for any student that has more than 3 no shows per occurrence.  

14.  What do I need to bring with me to my appointment?­

Please bring your Buffalo Gold Card as you will be carded to enter the building.­ Please bring your insurance card to every visit.­ There may be a financial charge for lab testing, x-rays, injections, vaccines, medication or other services.­ There is no charge for the office visit if you are currently enrolled.­ It is always helpful to know your medical history, what medications you are currently taking, what medications that you may be allergic to, what surgeries you have had, etc.­

15. ­ What type of services do you provide?­

  • Routine office visits - illness, injury and preventive care
  • Immunizations and allergy injections
  • Women's health services
  • Contraceptives
  • X-ray services
  • Laboratory services
  • Medical equipment
  • Minor surgery under local anesthetic
  • Pharmacy with antibiotics, asthma medications and oral contraceptives

16.­ Who are the providers and staff members?

  • Director:­ LuAnne Rickwartz, RN
  • Board Certified Family Physician: Jim Gibbs, MD
  • Family Nurse Practitioners: Candy Marshall, FNP, Teresa Smoot, FNP and Amanda Moss, FNP 
  • X-ray technician: Donna Adams-Stevens, R.T.(R)­
  • Registered nurses: Hayley Robinson, RN, Patient Assistant Advocate 
  • LuAnne Rickwartz, RN, Director
  • Sarah Pierce - Health Integration Specialist
  • Medical Office Manager: Lori O'Toole­­­­­
  • CPR/AED - Instructor/ Coordinator:  Dillon McKee

17. I get routine allergy injections.­ How does this work in your office?

Allergy Injections are administered in our office.­ SMS does not provide allergy testing.­ We can administer the serum from your allergy specialist.­ You will be required to wait at least 15 minutes after your injection. Please send or bring in your serum,­ allergist's guidelines and current allergy injection record to Student Medical Services - WTAMU Box 61401, Canyon, TX­ 79016.­­ For a seasonal allergy­ prescription or injection, please schedule an appointment with a provider.

18.­ I will be traveling soon.­ What injections or medications do I need?­ What other information do I need to know? ­

·­­­­­­­­          The Center for Disease Control and Prevention - Travel website provides a complete list of countries with a list of recommended and/or required vaccines.­

  • International travel Learn about your destination. ­­ Will you need a yellow fever certificate?­ What vaccines will you need?  You will need a COVID PCR test if you are traveling internationally.  Please call to schedule an appointment with SMS several days before your travel so that we can appropriately schedule your lab test.  These lab tests must be done prior to 10:30 am and the results should be available in the late afternoon.  A rapid COVID test is not suitable for travel.   It must the be the PCR COVID test.  
  • ­Student Medical Services would be happy to assist you with your health care needs during your travel.­ Please note that Student Medical Services does not carry all of the recommended or required vaccinations but can advise you where to obtain these if necessary.
  • Your health care provider may prescribe a prophylactic (preventative medication) .
  • Use sunscreen and insect repellent as directed.
  • ­Be careful about food and water.
  • Keep a copy of your prescriptions, including the brand or generic name and manufacturer of any medicine that you take regularly or that has been prescribed for your trip (for example, malaria medicines).
  • Buy medicines only from licensed pharmacies and get a receipt. Do not buy medicines from open markets.

19.­ Can I get a sick note for class or work?­

The medical staff will write an excuse note for class or work if the student was ill or injured and only if our providers were involved in the medical care of the student. Please note: Our medical providers cannot write excuse notes for illnesses or problems for which we never provided care. Unless specifically requested to do so by the patient, we do NOT place a diagnosis on an excuse note. A patient's medical condition is his/her own private and confidential information. Your instructors and employers have no right to obtain your diagnosis unless you personally choose to share it with them. Furthermore, we do not release information about your medical and/or psychological condition to the University administrators, instructors, parents (unless you are a minor) or employers without your specific request and release.


20.   How can I get a copy of my medical records?

Medical Records - An authorization to release medical records must be signed before medical records can be released.­   The immunization records do not require the authorization to release records.  Simply call us at 806-651-3287 to get a copy of your immunization records on file.  Please note that if you didn't submit the information, we will not have the immunization records.  Fax number 806-651-3289 - scan and e-mail the form to­

21.­ What if I need medical records sent from another facility to your office?

You can fax the request for medical records to your provider and they can fax your records to our office.­ Our fax number is on the page - 806-651-3289.­ Please allow several days for medical records processing from an outside facility.­


22.­ ­Are you open for services during intersession?­

No, we are not open for health care services during intersession.­ The students are not charged the health fee during the intersessions.­ We are available­ for immunizations.­ The front desk will remain open during this time.

23. ­ I have questions about Ebola.

­ Ebola Information


24.  I have questions about receiving the COVID Vaccine. 

WTAMU is approved to provide both the Moderna vaccine series.  COVID-19 vaccine allocations are provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). SMS must adhere to all state requirements for administration and use of COVID-19 vaccines under the State of Texas Vaccination Plan including eligibility and reporting criteria.  For additional information on COVID-19 vaccines in Texas please visit the DSHS COVID-19 Vaccine information webpage

COVID vaccines may be available during the NSOs.  Please check with Admissions for more information.  Appointments are required for the COVID vaccines at Student Medical Services.   Vaccines can be administered Monday - Friday from 9:30 am  11:30 am and 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm.  Students, faculty and staff can also contact their local pharmacies for the COVID vaccine.  Since the vial must be defrosted prior to administering the vaccine, please schedule an appointment at least 30 minutes  in advance.  

25.  I have a question about COVID testing:

COVID19 testing is available weekdays at Student Medical Services. 

  • SMS offers the PCR COVID (nasal test) for international travel.  This test can be performed from 8:30 am - 10:30 am.   The cost for this COVID test is $52.00 and can be billed to insurance.  
  • SMS can perform a Rapid COVID lab test - this is done in the clinic and cannot be used for travel or documentation purposes.  It can be performed if you have symptoms and need the results as soon as possible for health care reasons.  The cost for this test is $7.50 and can be billed to insurance.  
  • SMS also offers the Curative Lab test - Mouth Swab  from 8:30 am – 11:00 am.  At this time, there is no charge for this test.  The results arrive by email in 48 to 74 hours through Curative.  The shipment will go out at 11:15 am.  Any patients that arrive after this time period will have the test go out during the next business day or the next scheduled shipment.  In order to be tested, you MUST PRE-REGISTER by clicking on the link below.  If you have recently tested positive, please contact Student Medical Services before being re-tested.  Click the link below to register.

For the Curative testing, you will be sent an e-mail to confirm and complete the registration process.  Be sure to complete all e-mail questions.  You may find more than one testing site listed for WTAMU.  You will need to select the testing site.   West Texas A&M University Students/Faculty/Staff    DO NOT CHOOSE ATHLETICS.  3301 4th Avenue, West Texas A&M University (This is the location for the drive through but go ahead and choose this site.  Do not arrive at this site.)  (First United Bank Center), Canyon, TX, 79015 

Please Note: If you are a student athlete, contact your coach or athletic training staff for the date, time and site specifically designated for athletic testing.

  1. Do not eat or drink anything for 20 minutes before the test.
  2. Please arrive at the VHAC Building but do not go in the front doors to the building.  Outside the VHAC down to the right of the entrance is an awning with another set of double doors (by the weight room).  There are two designated parking spots for SMS COVID testing.  You can park in one of these spaces. 
  3. Once you arrive, contact SMS by calling 806-651-3287 to let us know that you have arrived and have received the CURATIVE confirmation for your testing. 


IMPORTANT:  If you have symptoms, have been directly exposed to someone who is positive, or if you test positive, please self-isolate and notify your immediate supervisor (if applicable). 

 COVID-19 information can be found at and questions can be directed to the e-mail:


26.   I have questions about how much it will cost at SMS.  

The $70.00 Student Health Fee, paid upon enrollment, covers the cost of most office visits, however, there may be charges for diagnostic tests, injections and some procedures.  This fee also covers Counseling Services - up to ten sessions per fiscal year at no additional cost.  


27.  I have questions about the Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Coronovirus (COVID-19) Information can be found on the COVID-19 Web page.   



­­ Updated 7/13/21