Health and safety

Your health and safety are important at MU. Both the MU and Columbia policed departments are here to help you should a problem arise, and Columbia is home to several excellent hospitals and health care centers.


If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, dial 911 and tell the operator what kind of emergency you have. This number will help you contact the police department, fire department or ambulance. Do not hang up until help arrives.

If you do not speak English well or would prefer to talk to a translator, tell the 911 operator your preferred language and they will connect you to a translation service.

Police and medical contacts
MU Alert
MU Alert is a system of tools used to alert the campus community to events that could have an immediate impact on your safety. All students, faculty and staff are encouraged to register to receive these notifications via text message or phone call. For additional information about the alert system and to sign up for notifications, see the MU Alert website.
Health and safety training
The MU Police Department offers free training courses for the campus community. Courses include Citizens’ Response to Active Threats and a variety of self-defense programs. See the MUPD website for schedules and registration information.

The American Red Cross of Central and Northern Missouri regularly offers classes in first aid, water safety, babysitting and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation, a method of restoring breathing and heartbeat in an emergency). See the Red Cross website for more information.

Abuse and sexual assault shelter and hotline
If you or someone you know has been abused or sexually assaulted, you can contact True North of Columbia at 573-875-1370 or 800-548-2480, or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233. The phone will be answered 24 hours a day by someone who will offer help and counseling. Victims of abuse or sexual assault can get counseling by phone or in person. All counseling is confidential; the police are called only if the victim requests it. Someone from the shelter can accompany the victim to the hospital or police station. Those who are abused in their homes can get shelter for themselves and their children while they decide what to do next. There is no charge.

There are also resources available on campus through the RSVP Center and Office of Institutional Equity.

Medical care

Begin searching for a health care provider right away; do not wait until you are sick or injured. To find a doctor, dentist or other health care provider in Columbia, ask a friend, contact the MU Student Health Center, call Community Health Services at 573-874-7355 or contact the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services. It is essential to make an appointment before going to a doctor or dentist. You might have to wait a few days for an appointment unless you are sick or in need of a doctor immediately.

If you have a serious medical emergency, dial 911.

Hospitals and clinics
There are a variety of hosptials and clinics available in Columbia. You should choose the appropriate facility based on the urgency and severity of your medical needs.

  • Primary care clinics: Provide comprehensive and ongoing health care for individuals and families, including physical exams, vaccinations and treatment of minor illnesses and injuries. You will generally need to call ahead and schedule an appointment at a primary care clinic; however, Mizzou Quick Care clinics do accept walk-ins.
  • Urgent care clinics: Provide care for immediate but non-life threatening health issues. Two options for urgent care in Columbia are Mizzou Urgent Care and Providence Urgent Care. No appointment is needed.
  • Hospitals/emergency rooms: Provide treatment for severe and life-threatening illnesses and injuries. Emergency care is available 24/7 and no appointment is needed. Two options for hospitals in Columbia are University Hospital and Boone Hospital Center.
MU Health Care

In addition to University Hospital, the MU Health Care system includes a variety of hospitals and clinics to meet your medical needs.

MU Student Health Center

Run by MU Health Care, the Student Health Center is located on campus at 1020 Hitt St., on the fourth floor of the University Physicians Medical Building (map). Services, including medical and behavioral health care, stress management and sexual health, are available for MU students and their spouses (for an additional fee). Dependent children are not eligible to use the health center. More information about appointments and services is available on the Student Health and Well-Being website or by calling 573-882-7481.

Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services

The Health Department Clinic is located at 1005 W. Worley St. (map). The clinic offers several vaccinations, tests and reproductive health services for low fees. Call 573-874-7355 for more information or to make an appointment.

Maternity and prenatal care
If you think you are pregnant, you can go to your own doctor, a public health agency or a nonprofit women’s health center for a pregnancy test. Call ahead for an appointment and cost information. You can also purchase a home pregnancy test from a pharmacy or supermarket. Most women in the U.S. have regular check-ups with an obstetrician during pregnancy. One resource is MU Health Care’s obstetrics and gynecology services.

The Women, Infants and Children program provides income-based nutrition services to pregnant women, new mothers, babies and children up to their fifth birthday. The program is located at the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services at 1005 W. Worley St. (map). Call 573-874-6430 to make an appointment. If you believe you are eligible for the WIC program, be sure to indicate during your interview that you are in nonimmigrant status in the United States.

Health insurance

Health care in the U.S. is a private system and can be quite expensive. Health insurance allows you to control and cover these costs. MU and U.S. government requirements related to health insurance vary by immigration status. Specific information about these regulations is available on our website:

Insurance terms to know
  • Premium: Amount you pay periodically, usually monthly or yearly, to the insurance company for covering your risk. You will not receive a refund on your insurance premium, even if you never submit a claim.
  • Insurance claim: A request to the insurance company asking for payment based on the terms of your insurance policy. Often, the hospital or medical practice will submit this on your behalf.
  • Coinsurance: Usually a percentage. You pay a share of the payment made against the claim.
  • Deductible: A specified amount of money that you must pay before the insurance company will pay a claim.
  • Copay: A fix amount you pay for a health care service, usually when you receive the service. The amount can vary by the type of service. You may also have a copay when you get a prescription filled.
  • Maximum out-of-pocket: The most you will have to pay for covered medical expenses in a plan year through deductible and coinsurance before your insurance begins to pay 100 percent of covered medical expenses.
Insurance card
Please remember that emergencies are not planned. Keep your health insurance card with you at all times. This is important because if you are taken in an ambulance, you will not have time to go home and get your card before being taken to the hospital. If you are ever taken to the hospital and do not have your insurance information, you may call hospital billing after your treatment and ask them to apply your policy number to your bill.
Example of cost of care with insurance*
You have already met your deductible and need to see a primary care physician. The doctor’s visit costs $95. You will pay a $20 copay at the time of service, and your health provider will bill the insurance company to pay the other $75.

  • Total cost: $95
  • You pay: $20 (copay)
  • Insurance pays: $75

You have not yet met your deductible and you have been in a terrible accident. After ambulance, overnight hospitalization and several broken bones, your bills comes to $50,000. Typically, you will pay a $300 deductible plus a 20 percent coinsurance; however, your coinsurance equals $10,000 and your maximum out-of-pocket amount is $6,350. You will pay $6,350 and your insurance company will pay the rest.

  • Total cost: $50,000
  • You pay: $6,350 (maximum out-of-pocket)
  • Insurance pays: $43,650

*Examples based on Aetna student health coverage.