Information for Parents

Watkins Health Services (WHS) has a very long history of keeping Jayhawks flying. In fact, the University started the health service for KU students in 1906. And the noted Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, was the University physician from 1912 to 1917. Since that time, we have grown to be one of the largest such facilities in the Big XII and the Midwest.

Today, we have an impressive staff, updated facilities and state-of-the art equipment and information systems. Our systems include an electronic health record system that provides a patient portal so that your student can communicate with us and receive information from us in a secure fashion. The student can even make appointments online, request prescription refills, and check other information we have on file.

Not only do we do our part in returning your student to good health as well as keeping your student healthy, we believe that part of our mission is to educate your student on matters that will result in being a better prepared healthcare consumer!

If you are ever concerned about your Jayhawk, know that help is available!  Our wellness partner Health Education Resource Office (HERO) offers individual consultations with students on alcohol or drug use, healthy sexuality, and nutrition. HERO also facilitates educational classes on how students can get and stay healthy on campus.

On occasion, students may feel overwhelmed or stressed. Depending upon the student’s condition, our providers may refer the student to our wellness partner Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).

And finally, since we are not open 24 hours, seven days per week, we do have an excellent 24-hour Nurse Helpline to assist students with medical concerns even if we are closed. Any concerns that are called-in, will be passed along to our nursing staff on the next business day and they will follow-up with the patient as-needed.  All concerns and advice given are documented in the patient's medical record.

Things to Note

For any services a student needs that we cannot provide in-house, our providers will make referrals to outside specialists who will keep us well-informed about the student’s treatment and progress.

Please note that we do not provide:

  • Inpatient care
  • Detoxification services
  • Long-term or intensive treatment for substance abuse disorders
  • Medication management of complex or unstable psychiatric disorders

Because the potential for financial hardship is so great in unexpected health-related situations, students at KU are strongly encouraged to have health insurance. Please refer to our Business Office for more details.

If your student has insurance coverage, it is essential that you and your student contact your carrier to find out how they would reimburse for any healthcare expenses billed by our facility. This will help you and your student to avoid any surprises.

If our facility is not covered by the student’s carrier, you might inquire about the possibility of paying for a special “rider” to the policy which would extend their coverage to care obtained from our providers.

We do perform courtesy billing of insurance for students who have healthcare coverage but any charges not covered by insurance are the student’s responsibility. Please refer to our Business Office for more details.

WHS is compliant with HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). KU students are considered adults and therefore must authorize us to disclose information to family members, guardians, etc. An exception may be made if the student is under the age of 18 and considered a minor. But even then, Kansas law provides certain privacy protections for minors seeking treatment under specific circumstances. Naturally, we will notify the student’s Emergency Contact in the event we are providing emergency treatment.

WHS is not an Emergency Room, however, we have highly skilled physicians and we can and will stabilize the patient until an ambulance arrives and transfers the student to LMH Health.

Minors (students or campers under the age of 18) may receive care at Watkins Health Services if their parent/legal guardian has filled out a Minor Consent Form. You may request a printable version of the Minor Consent Form by emailing our Records and Registration Office at A provider or nurse will remain in contact with the parent/guardian regarding the outcome of the treatment.

Parents' To-Do List to Prepare your Jayhawk

  1. Ensure that your student has complied with all immunization requirements. Failing to do so will result in an enrollment hold on future semesters.
  2. Contact your student’s health insurance carrier to ask how they will manage any claims received from WHS. Health insurance coverage varies greatly by each individual plan. It is the patient’s responsibility to know their specific health insurance coverage regarding benefits at WHS. PLEASE help your student understand their health insurance by reviewing the basics of the health plan together so that your student knows what to expect when accessing healthcare. If necessary, WHS recommends that parents or students call or email their health insurance company to:
    • Find out if WHS is considered an in-network provider with your plan. Our address: 1200 Schwegler Drive, Lawrence, KS 66045.
    • Find out if your health insurance plan offers any out-of-network benefits.
    • Verify coverage for specific services and/or procedures.
    • Inquire about preventative benefits.
    • Identify co-pays and deductibles associated with healthcare costs.

    Questions? Just ask! We are here to help both parents and students make the most of their health insurance. Please call the WHS Business Office at 785-864-9520 and a staff member will happily assist you.

  3. Complete the online Health History form within the patient portal:
    • Seventy-two (72) hours after enrolling at orientation, your student will be able to log into Watkins Health Services patient portal, Click on the "Medical Clearances" tab and select "Health History Form" to get started.
    • Please help the student in completing this information because they may not remember all significant health events or family history.
    • While on the Medical Clearance page, please have the student read and acknowledge the Notice of Privacy Practices and the Treatment Agreement.
  4. Give your student a copy of any cards for insurance, lab tests and prescription medications to keep on them at all times. Within the patient portal, click on the "Medical Clearances" tab and select "Health Insurance Information" to enter policy details. Click on the "Insurance tab to upload photos of the front and back of your card. Consider having any prescriptions transferred to Watkins Pharmacy.
  5. Give your student a list of names and phone numbers of all their primary care and specialty care providers back home. We may need to contact them for information.
  6. Learn about AlcoholEdu.
  7. Talk to your Jayhawk about healthy behavior and your expectations regarding alcohol use, sexual behavior and other potentially risky activities.
  8. Stock a “medicine cabinet” for your student.
  9. Sign up to receive KU Family Connection news.