Policies and Guidelines

We have a number of policies and guidelines to ensure that all students receive fair, confidential treatment.

Students have patient rights which include treatment with respect, consideration, dignity, and privacy. SHS staff pledges patient confidentiality. Patients have the right to know who is providing service, choose clinicians, and change clinicians.

As partners in health care, students have patient responsibilities to present accurate information about their illness or complaints in a manner that is cooperative. Patients are asked to keep appointments and to cancel with advance notice. Patients should comply with treatment plans and ask for clarification of information of instruction when needed.

Health Insurance Requirement for International Students and Dependents

Mandatory international student insurance

All international students who are registered for at least 1 credit hour in Fall, Winter and/or Spring terms will be automatically charged for OSU International Health Insurance.

If a student has other insurance, he/she may submit a waiver and a summary of the insurance for approval no later than the last published date of open enrollment. If approved, the charge will be removed. To learn more about health insurance and how to use it, visit About Health Insurance.

OSU requires that all non-resident international students and their dependents (living in the United States) be covered by health insurance. The health insurance must meet federal, state and OSU requirements (OAR 576-025-0020). For more information on adding a dependent to your OSU health insurance, contact the Student Health Insurance office 541-737-7600.

Rights and Responsibilities

The most effective health care involves a cooperative relationship in which patients are seen as integral partners with the health care team.

For this relationship to work, patients should understand that they have both rights and responsibilities. The following sections on this page outline these rights and responsibilities. The intent is to help our patients become more effective healthcare consumers, both here at Student Health Services (SHS) and in the general healthcare community.

If you believe that your patient rights have been violated in any way at SHS, we encourage you to exercise your responsibility to inform someone who can do something about it! Please contact the Patient Health Navigator (541-737-1999) or SHS Administrative Assistants (541-737-3106) if you have any concerns about your service and/or treatment.

Both offices are located on the third floor of Plageman Student Health Center. 

Any question you have - whether it is about the content of this page, your healthcare concerns, or Student Health Services - is one we hope you will ask with confidence of receiving a satisfactory response. We look forward to helping you become an empowered healthcare consumer.

What are my rights?

  1. You have the right to be treated with respect, consideration, and dignity at all times. As an eligible student, you will be provided impartial access to treatment or accommodations that are available or medically necessary, regardless of color, beliefs, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran’s status, other identity, or sources of payment for care. 

  2. You have the right to accessibility in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

  3. You have the right, within the law, to personal and informational privacy, including these rights: 

    • To refuse to talk with or consult anyone not officially connected with SHS, including SHS staff who are not directly involved in your care. 

    • To wear appropriate personal clothing and religious or other symbolic items, as long as they do not interfere with diagnostic procedures or treatment. 

    • To be interviewed and examined in surroundings designed to assure reasonable visual and auditory privacy. This includes the right to change into suitable gown and/or drapes in private and to not remain disrobed any longer than necessary.

    • To have a medical chaperone present during a physical examination, treatment or procedure that is being performed by your health care provider (“provider”). 

    • To have a friend or family member of your choosing present during a consultation, examination, treatment or procedure being performed by a health professional. This person would not be a substitute for a medical chaperone.

    • To expect any discussion or consultation involving your case be conducted discreetly and that persons not directly involved in your care will not be present without your permission. 

    • To have your medical record reviewed only by people directly involved in your treatment or in monitoring its quality. 

    • To expect all communications and handling of other records pertaining to your care, including the source of payment for treatment, be treated as confidential. 

    1. You have the right to know the identity and professional status of people providing medical services to you and to know which provider is primarily responsible for your care. 

    2. If you do not fully speak or understand English, you have the right to an interpreter. 

    3. You have the right to obtain, to the degree known, complete and current information concerning your diagnosis, evaluation, treatment and prognosis, communicated in terms you can understand, from the provider taking care of you. If you are incapacitated, this information will be provided to a person previously designated by you or to a legally authorized advocate. 

    4. You have the right to participate in decisions involving your health care, based on a clear, concise explanation of your condition and all proposed treatments and procedures, including possible risks, complications, and expectations for recovery. You should not be subjected to any procedure without your understanding and consent given voluntarily; you should be informed if there are medically significant alternatives for care or treatment. 

    5. You have the right to refuse treatment to the extent permitted by law. If your refusal of treatment prevents the provision of care in accordance with professional standards, the provider may terminate his/her relationship with you upon reasonable notice. 

    6. You may change primary care or psychiatric providers at SHS, and you have the right to consult with a specialist at your own expense. 

    7. You have the right to be informed if SHS asks for your participation in research or educational projects affecting your care or treatment, and you have the right to refuse to participate in any such activity.

    8. You have the right to request and receive an itemized and detailed explanation of your total bill for services rendered at SHS. 

    9. You are entitled to information about how to initiate, review and resolve patient complaints. This information is available upon request from the Patient Health Navigator (541-737-1999) or from the SHS Administrative Assistants (541-737-3106).

What are my responsibilities?

  1. It is your responsibility to provide, to the best of your knowledge, accurate and complete information about present complaints, past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications, allergies and other matters relating to your health.  Medications should include prescriptions and over the counter medicines, natural and herbal compounds, and dietary supplements. It is your responsibility to report unexpected changes in your condition to the responsible provider and to indicate whether you clearly understand the proposed course of action and what is expected of you. 

  2. It is your responsibility to follow the treatment plan recommended by the provider, to keep scheduled appointments, or to cancel them in advance when you are unable to do so. 

  3. It is your responsibility to provide a responsible adult to transport you home and to remain with you as required by your provider. 

  4. You are responsible for the health consequences if you refuse treatment or do not comply with the provider's instructions. 

  5. You are responsible for informing your provider about any living will, medical power of attorney, or other directive that could affect your care. 

  6. You are responsible for assuring that the financial obligations of your health care are fulfilled as promptly as possible. 

  7. You are responsible for communicating questions about your diagnosis and treatment or other concerns about your care at SHS to your provider, the SHS Medical Director (541-737-9355), or the Patient Health Navigator (541-737-1999). 

  8. You are responsible to behave respectfully toward all the health care staff and other patients and to adhere to the OSU Student Conduct Code. 

Registration Holds

The University can keep you from registering for the next term for a variety of reasons

Examples include failure to pay fees or comply with a university requirement.

The process of disallowing you to register for classes is called a "hold." The specific department responsible for monitoring compliance with the policies it enforces determines whether a hold is appropriate. A student may therefore have holds placed by multiple departments if he/she is non-compliant in more than one area. Fortunately, holds can be removed quickly once you have documented that you are in compliance.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

SHS is responsible for monitoring student compliance with health policies.

If you fail to provide SHS with a completed health history form, proof of required immunizations or completed TB testing (if required) before the designated pre-registration period for next term's classes, SHS will enter a code into the Student Information System that will prevent you from registering. 

You can monitor your holds via the Student Online Services > Student Records > View Holds.

Should this happen to you, call the Immunization Helpline (541-737-7573) or come directly to SHS to find out why we have placed the hold and what you must do to have it removed.

All medical information about you is strictly confidential.

Since the Student Information System is open, SHS cannot place confidential material into it and risk the possibility that someone other than you could access the information.

Privacy and Confidentiality

Confidentiality and privacy of student health information is of paramount importance at OSU Student Health Services.

Student Health Services follows all applicable state and federal laws related to the disclosure of medical and mental health information, and applies the highest professional standards of care and privacy.

No information about a student can be released to any third party without the student's permission to do so. Student Health Services employs staff who work directly with students in managing their health records and who specialize in information and data security. All staff, student employees and volunteers are routinely trained on confidentiality and security practices.

With a student's consent, Student Health Services may disclose information for the purposes of providing medical treatment and to bill the student's insurance company for services and treatment received. Student Health Services’ electronic medical record provides a highly secure Patient Portal, which can report test results to students, as well as provide secure messaging between the student and their health care provider.

In some circumstances Student Health Services providers may need to disclose health information without a student's written consent:
  • If necessary to protect the health and safety of the student or others.
  • If the student reports current abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult or child.
  • As a result of a court order or subpoena.
  • To verify to the university whether the student has completed all mandatory immunizations.
  • Other instances required by law; for example, certain communicable diseases must be reported to the Benton County Health Department.

Under Oregon state law, release of medical records at Oregon State University is restricted by Oregon Revised Statutes H.B. 2305.

This law specifically states that a valid authorization “must describe the information to be used or disclosed and that identifies the information in a specific and meaningful way.” Blanket authorizations to release “any and all identifiable information” and “prospective authorizations to release medical information” do not allow the patient to make an informed decision about releasing specific medical information and are not allowed under law.

What this means for parents and students is that students cannot sign a medical release form that allows SHS staff to talk to parents about their medical care over a prolonged or indefinite period of time. Some areas of campus are allowed to do this; however SHS must comply with state regulations regarding the release of medical information.

Students can sign a release allowing SHS staff to discuss specific medical issues. A student can also list a parent as an emergency contact on their electronic health information form. If the student seeks care at SHS and there is an emergency situation present, staff can and will notify the person listed as an emergency contact. If the parent is not listed as the emergency contact, they will not be called. However, if the student seeks care at the emergency room or with another medical provider, emergency contact notification must be done by that facility.

SHS encourages students to be in direct contact with their parents about their health situation. A student may also call a parent directly from the clinician’s office, allowing the parent to speak with the clinician directly at the time of the appointment.

Medical Excuse Policy

Oregon State University Student Health Services has a policy to not provide written excuses to explain a student’s absenteeism from classes or poor performance on examinations.

This policy is consistent with our commitment to maintain patient confidentiality, encourage more appropriate use of health care resources, and support meaningful dialogue between teacher and student. Students are responsible to promptly notify instructors about absences caused by illness or injury.

A student who feels his/her situation deserves special consideration may make an appointment with the Director or designee to discuss other options.

Students who wish to request a withdrawal from a class or from the University need to follow the rules set forth by the University. Information about withdrawals can be obtained from the Registrar’s Office.


Dr. Jeff Mull, Director of Medical Services
Student Health Services

Advance Directive Information

An advance directive is a set of instructions that explain the specific health care measures a person wants if they should have a terminal illness or injury, and become incapable of indicating whether to continue curative and life-sustaining treatment or to remove life support systems.

Advance Directive Form

ADVANCE DIRECTIVE DETAILS

The person must develop the advance directive while he or she is able to clearly and definitively express him or herself verbally, in writing, or in sign language.

It must express the person’s own free will regarding their health care, not the will of anyone else. It does not affect routine care for cleanliness and comfort, which must be given whether or not there is an advance directive.

In Oregon, the Health Care Decisions Act (ORS 127.505 - 127.660 and ORS 127.995) allows an individual to preauthorize health care representatives to allow the natural dying process if he or she is medically confirmed to be in one of the conditions described in his or her health care instructions.

This Act does not authorize euthanasia, assisted suicide or any overt action to end the person’s life.

Witnesses:

Two adults, at least one of them not related to the person by blood or marriage nor entitled to any portion of the person’s estate, must witness or acknowledge the person’s signing the advance directive. The person’s attending physician, attorney-in-fact, and health care or residential staff may not serve as witnesses.

Health Care Instructions: 

These may either be general, or relate to the four specific conditions outlined below. However, general instructions, such as the person never wishes to be placed on life support, may be too vague and not provide for a situation in which an accident or emergency requires that the person be placed on life support temporarily. Specific instructions regarding the person’s wishes in each of the four scenarios listed below are preferred. Some hospitals’ social workers or chaplains will provide instructions and forms for advance directives.

The patient’s physician can determine whether any of these four conditions apply:

  • Close to death: Terminal illness in which death is imminent with or without treatment, and where life support will only postpone the moment of death.
  • Permanently unconscious: Completely lacking an awareness of self and external environment, with no reasonable possibility of a return to a conscious state.
  • Advanced progressive illness: A progressive illness that will be fatal and is unlikely to improve.
  • Extraordinary suffering: Illness or condition in which life support will not improve the person’s medical condition and would cause the person permanent and severe pain.

Health Care Representative: 

An advance directive can appoint someone who is at least 18 years of age to make medical decisions for the person when that individual is not able to do so. Among the decisions this health care representative can make is whether to withhold or remove life support, food or hydration.

The health care representative and an alternate must sign the document, accepting their appointment. The patient should appoint a health care representative that he or she trusts completely. A patient can voluntarily revoke their appointment of a health care representative at any time.

A general Durable Power of Attorney, which is for financial affairs, does not include authority to make health care decisions.

Special instructions and conditions: 

These can be inserted into the Health Care Plan or included for the health care representative as long as they don’t deal with the distribution of property.

Duration and changes: 

The advance directive can be designated in effect for a limited period of time. If not, it is in effect until the person revokes it in writing, or dies. A person can cross out words or add words to his or her advance directive to make it better express his or her wishes.

Source: Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services

Emotional Support Animal Policy

Letters for emotional support animals

This policy does not apply to service animals


Sometimes students seeking a letter have already made the decision to bring an animal into their housing without landlord knowledge or proper documentation and find that they need documentation quickly or they face fines, eviction or loss of the animal. This is also not a situation under which our providers will write a letter.

If a mental health professional outside of OSU Student Health Services has prescribed or recommended an emotional support animal, they may be willing to write a letter that will meet the requirements. 

Definitions  

An emotional support animal is a companion animal that provides therapeutic benefit to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability. 

The animal is part of the treatment plan for a person who meets the definition of disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. 

The animal would address specific functional limitations to allow the person to live independently.

Policy 

Increasing numbers of students request letters from our providers for their pets.

While we understand that a pet can be an important source of support during stressful times for many students, emotional support animals are not prescribed or specifically recommended by OSU SHS clinicians.

Therefore, the clinicians at OSU Student Health Services do not provide letters for emotional support animals.

Medical Chaperone Policy

Why a Medical Chaperone Policy?

Among other reasons, the goals of this policy are to:

  • Prioritize the safety, privacy and dignity of all patients
  • Enhance patient understanding of healthcare procedures
  • Help patients understand that they can ask questions and stop an examination or procedure at any time they feel uncomfortable
  • Promote an organizational culture of safety and care 
     

Intimate Examination

This policy defines intimate examinations to include genital, pelvic, rectal, and breast exams. SHS recognizes that some patients consider any visual exam or palpation of a body part that is normally covered by clothing to be intimate. For this reason, SHS will also accept and respect our patients’ right to request a medical chaperone for any exam they feel would make them uncomfortable, even if it falls outside this policy’s definition of an intimate examination. 

Medical Chaperone

This person is an objective observer with medical training who, by mutual understanding and agreement, is present during an exam or procedure to support patient dignity, privacy and consent, and to foster effective communication between clinician and patient.

In the SHS clinic, medical assistants and nursing staff will serve as medical chaperones. A patient’s friend or family serving as their companion is not a substitute for a trained medical chaperone.

Policy 

  1. Every patient being treated at SHS has the right to request a medical chaperone for any type of examination. Every effort will be made to honor this request at the time a patient requests it. If no medical chaperone is immediately available, the patient will be offered alternatives such as scheduling with a provider of a different gender, or at a time when a chaperone will be available.
  2. Every patient who needs an intimate exam defined as a genital, pelvic, rectal or breast examination, regardless of their or the clinician’s gender, will be offered a medical chaperone. Clinicians will explain to patients the rationale for the exam, what to expect during the exam, and the role of the medical chaperone. 

 

  1. A patient has the right to decline a medical chaperone during an intimate exam. Clinicians are not required to proceed if they do not feel comfortable performing the exam without a medical chaperone. If a clinician is not comfortable proceeding without a medical chaperone, they will discuss and document alternatives acceptable to both patient and clinician. 
  2. SHS clinicians will document 1) that the patient understands the rationale for the intimate exam and consents to it, 2) whether a medical chaperone was present, and if so, who served in this capacity, or 3) that a chaperone was offered but declined.