Letter to the editor RE: Faculty union challenges TimelyMD


Letter to the Editor 

I am writing in response to the article published on 11/16/22, “Faculty Union Challenges  TimelyMD.” While I was frustrated by the one-sided tone of the article, as well as the  unsubstantiated claims, and inaccuracies, within it, most of all I came away from it feeling sad  and disheartened as I believe that, ultimately, the article is damaging to our students. The article  was published immediately prior to fall break—a time when Counseling & Psychological  Services (CAPS) was closed, and many traumatized, isolated, and struggling students would  have benefitted from seeking help from TimelyCare therapists. The article essentially  discourages students from seeking such support due to its unfair characterization of TimelyCare.  For example, the sub-heading of the article calls it an “online faith based counseling service”  while it is nothing of the sort (strangely, acknowledged late in the article, contradicting the  earlier claim).  

The University contracted with the company “TimelyMD” in order to expand health services on campus during a period of very high need, through special one-time pandemic funding. This  funding, incidentally, could not be used to hire additional faculty counselors at CAPS. The  CAPS faculty counselors were not replaced or harmed by the contract, instead they gained a  partner in caring for, and expanding additional services to, our students. Contract or no contract,  on-site counseling at CAPS will be expanding in the years to come. 

It bears repeating, TimelyCare is not a faith-based counseling service. With a client base of about  250 colleges and universities, they have a breadth of providers to appeal to and serve the breadth  of their population base. Their clinicians represent and reflect the diversity of the student  populations served throughout the 38 states where they have contracts. 

Counseling is just one of many of the health services TimelyCare offers. They provide same-day  and appointment-based medical services, psychiatry, health coaching, and psychoeducational  activities too. We wanted our students to have 24/7 access to these services whether they live  locally or across the country. We wanted our traveling athletes to have access to all of these  services. We wanted our students of color to have access to therapists with similar identities. We  wanted all of our students to have “more”—more access, more choice, services over the winter  and summer breaks. And, of course, as always, access to CAPS therapists when school is in  session. 

The argument that we should avoid business with companies that have a presence in one of the  23 travel-ban states is misguided and unrealistic. The CSUs, just like universities everywhere,  have many business relationships / contracts across the nation. TimelyMD may have  administrative offices in Texas, but the company and its employees are located across the United  States. Most of the therapists who work with our students live, and are licensed, in California.  

The article implies that students who come to CAPS are automatically referred to TimelyCare.  This is not accurate and is oversimplified. The truth is that referrals are commonplace in the  health industry and there are some cases where CAPS clinicians do refer to TimelyCare and  other resources. October is always our busiest month of the year and historically we have had to  refer students to other services at this time of year. Like any mental health facility, we must  triage and figure out how to make the best use of all of our resources in order to provide 

students with the care they need. Typically, at this time of year, we would be referring many  students to off-campus private practitioners where they would need to pay out of pocket or use  their insurance, and it can be hard to find someone with an actual opening. Now, with  TimelyCare, we are able to also offer students a referral that will have no added expense, where  they are guaranteed access, and that will work closely with CAPS to integrate care. With this  contract, we doubled the services that students can access. 

The idea that this service “puts faculty at a disadvantage” is just not true. The therapists at CAPS  have an extra resource at their disposal. Clients in need have access to immediate support in the  evenings and weekends when CAPS is closed—this gives the providers at Student Health &  Wellbeing Services (SHWS) peace of mind and can be an important part of a treatment plan. 

The claim that this “poses a new risk to students engaging with TimelyCare” is  unsubstantiated. In fact, the ratings of TimelyCare counseling have been consistently high. For  example, the average provider rating is a 4.97 out of 5. If any student has concerns about the care  that they have received from TimelyCare clinicians, I encourage them to talk to me or a CAPS  clinician to address it. We want to make sure our students are getting high quality and  compassionate care whether it is through CAPS, TimelyCare, or an off-campus referral. 

The statement that we are “outsourcing responsibility for our students’ wellbeing” is simply  unfair. We have not replaced CAPS clinicians with this service, instead, we have supplemented  the breadth and depth of services available. Our students of color have a greater diversity of  clinicians to choose from; students can seek care in the evenings; and out of state students are not  turned away due to licensing regulations. In my view, the campus is taking responsibility for our  students’ wellbeing by offering expanded services during a national mental health crisis. Students  can get real help—not just a nursing line or a crisis line—24/7—in addition to the substantial  services that our medical and counseling teams provide. 

As always, we encourage students to be informed participants in their health care, whether with  us, TimelyCare, or outside practitioners or agencies. When students are seeking therapy through  TimelyCare, I encourage them to look through the clinician bios or call the customer support line  to find a therapist that is likely to be a good match. The therapy relationship is an intimate one  and the therapist-client match is important.  

I sincerely hope that students will take full advantage of all the wellbeing resources available to  them. I have dedicated my career to the health of our students and I would hate for anyone to be  deterred from being their own advocates and getting the support they deserve. In the future, I  hope that Lumberjack reporters will seek comment from SHWS leadership prior to printing an  article that addresses mental health resources for students, and that may negatively impact their health and wellbeing. Neither myself nor the Int. Associate Director of CAPS were consulted  prior to the article’s publication. 


Jennifer Sanford, PhD, Int. Executive Director, Student Health & Wellbeing Services; Director  of CAPS 

Cal Poly Humboldt

Share This Post

More Stories

Nina G uses comedy to start conversations

During the virtual comedy event held by the SDRC, Nina Ghiselli tells her story and emphasizes the importance of student disability resources within schools.

It’s not just the Capitol Police

As the world watched from their televisions on January 6, we witnessed scenes unfold before our eyes that were, to many, unimaginable: supporters of President Trump swarmed the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building, then proceeded to break in and

The San Jose State University Football Team Comes to Humboldt

On a day’s notice from administration, the SJSU football team spends a week and a half in Humboldt practicing because their county did not allow it. Students react to their presence on campus in the midst of a pandemic. Directed

Homelessness in Humboldt, CA

This is the first trailer of a homeless documentary created by HSU students. We have spent months filming and will continue to film throughout the next year. Follow the heartbreaking stories of the homeless community around Humboldt county and the

Thrifty Arcata

Taking a tour of the local thrift shops in Arcata during the COVID-19 pandemic. Directed and produced by Skylar Gaven.

House Plants Generate Peace and Meaning During the Pandemic

Three different people with the same love for plants! House plants have become quite popular these days especially since we’re all basically stuck inside during the pandemic. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but these beautiful green oxygen-makers provide more

Prop 22 represents political favoritism of money over workers’ rights

California’s passing of proposition 22 on Nov. 5 represents a frustrating history of workers’ rights being trampled by the overwhelming influence of greed in politics.  This proposition forces app-based workers to be classified as independent contractors, rather than employees. This

Remembering Evelyn Andrews 10 months after her passing

By Katelyn Dendas It has been 10 months since my friend, teammate and freshman year dorm mate, Evelyn Andrews, passed away. I don’t remember what the grief counselor said or what transpired after that Monday, but I do remember arriving

Protestors seek to defund HSUPD

Two local, activist organizations work together to stage a sit-in against Humboldt State’s police department.

Getting stuck on the Trump train

Writer Anthony Aragon details his experience of accidentally joining a pro-Trump car rally.

Justin Turner exposes the World Series to COVID-19

Justin Turner didn’t need to be the story in the wake of the Dodgers’ first World Series victory in 32 years. Instead here we are, wondering what sort of, if any, punishment Major League Baseball will decide to hand down

Four more years of fear

News Editor Carlos Holguin explains why he is worried about the next four years.

Dismal democracy

The Lumberjack editorial staff comments on America’s flawed electoral system As the world watches the United States 2020 election results, waiting for our pseudodemocratic process to churn out a new president, historically unprecedented voting methods misrepresents the reported Election Day

The Mario triple pack invokes a nostalgia attack

When I was a child, the first video game system I owned was a Nintendo 64. Among the games I played was Super Mario 64. I played it all the time and when I wasn’t playing it, I was lying

Women’s lacrosse drops their competitive season

Greta Roberts, president and player of Humboldt State University’s women’s lacrosse team, made the decision with her coach and teammates to cancel the upcoming spring season. The team decided that not being able to recruit in the fall would be

Dobby’s proposition opinions

Haven’t voted yet? Well, you’re running out of time. Here’s a quick rundown of California’s propositions on the ballot this year

Corporations buy out propositions

In a series of general and misleading advertisements, corporate backers of Propositions 22 and 23 show their grubby hands

CDOR continues virtually

The Campus and Community Dialogue On Race returns covering global justice for Black Lives.

Indigenous Food Sovereignty

Local food management practices of the Tolowa Dee-ni, Yurok and other indigenous peoples.

Humboldt State Admin attempts to discredit the Lumberjack

***A Lumberjack editorial represents both the majority opinion of the student newspaper’s editorial board, nine editors, as well as the overwhelming majority of Humboldt State University’s student body. Collectively, an editorial echos, embodies and advocates for community beliefs.*** Insensitive communications

Music of the Moment 6

21 Savage and Metro Boomin drop a classic with “Savage Mode II”

Spartans arrive at HSU despite campus concerns

***Editor’s note: SJSU football program was tested in congruence with Mountain West conference guidelines*** The Spartans have arrived and this time they’re not carrying spears or shields. Instead the San Jose State football team stepped onto the Humboldt State campus

Music of the Moment 5

After shooting Megan Thee Stallion, Tory Lanez cancels himself

Welcome to the Twilight Zone

Comparisons between episodes of the classic TV show The Twilight Zone and our own dismal reality

Music of the Moment 4

YoungBoy Never Broke Again dodges the sophomore slump with his new album “Top.”

Self-Care Cuts

Changing your hair to change your life

HSU Seaweed Farm sets sail

The first commercially-approved seaweed farm in California will be on the map.

Music of the Moment 3

For better or worse, Big Sean is likely gone for good.

More Layers, More Protection?

Humboldt State demands double masking on campus, does more layers equal more protection?

The Ethnic Studies Bill is a Blessing

Ethnic Studies will thankfully become mandatory for all California State University students – as it should be.

The Complex Interface of Humans and Wildfires

How fire suppression is a mixed bag in Humboldt County Every fire season, blankets of smoke roll over Humboldt County. Here on the coast, that’s as close to wildfires as some of us get. But our practice of fire suppression

Defund HSU’s Police Department

Incidents of racism from the former UPD Chief, past examples of excessive force from current officers and a shrinking university budget.

How Not To Be Bitten By A Kitten

Please prepare to be prey Congratulations, a baby feline has recently come into your life. If they’re anywhere from 2-18 months, they bite. They see you as prey. Because you are prey. You always have been. You always will be.

Graduating Into Uncharted Waters

HSU graduates attempt to navigate a world turned upside-down by COVID-19 In May, Humboldt State University graduated hundreds of students, as it does every year. Unlike past years, graduates didn’t get to shake hands with their respective dean and receive

HSU Cultural Center Budget Slashed

Associated Students leaves student body devastated after significant reductions in cultural center’s budget.

All aboard the plague ship

Unprecedented times are met with normalized behavior, HSU puts students and community members at higher risk after reopening campus and student housing.

Music of the Moment

The hip-hop community rallies behind the Black Lives Matter Movement

Inside the Immune System

How the body uses multiple levels of defense against foreign intruders

Catcalling Can’t Continue

Verbal harassment toward women is about control and the assertion of gender discrimination

Major League Marijuana

Why I don’t think marijuana is everything it’s cracked up to be in baseball

Pigs Compost on Campus

CCAT tries to reduce HSU’s food waste footprint through new pig program