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 parts of the health care team.

For this relationship to work students should understand that they have both rights and responsibilities.

The following is an outline of these rights and responsibilities, intended to help students become more effective health care consumers – here at Student Health Services (SHS) and in the general health care 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 Health Navigator and Patient Advocate (541-737-1999) or SHS Administrative Services (541-737-3106) if you have any concerns about your treatment here.

Please do not hesitate to ask questions – whether it is about the content of this document, your health care concerns or about Student Health Services. We look forward to working with you to become a knowledgeable and empowered health care consumer.

Patient Rights
  • As an eligible student, you will be provided impartial access to treatment or accommodations that are available or medically necessary, regardless of race, religion, national origin, color, ability, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, genetic information, veteran's status or sources of payment for care. You have the right to considerate, respectful care at all times and under all circumstances, with recognition of your personal dignity.
  • 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 have a person of your own gender present during a physical examination, treatment or procedure that is performed by a health professional of the opposite sex; and the right not to remain disrobed any longer than necessary to accomplish the medical purpose for which you were asked to disrobe.
    • to have an advocate of your choosing present during any consultation with, or exam by a practitioner.
    • to expect any discussion or consultation involving your case will be conducted discreetly and that persons not directly involved in your care will not be present without your permission.
    • to have your medical record read only by people directly involved in your treatment or in monitoring its quality.
    • to expect all communications and other records pertaining to your care, including the source of payment for treatment, be treated as confidential. SHS follows all applicable state and federal laws related to the disclosure of medical and mental health information.
  • You have the right to accessibility in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • You have the right to know the identity and professional status of people providing services to you and to know which practitioner is primarily responsible for your care.
  • You have the right to obtain from the practitioner responsible for coordinating your care complete and current information concerning your diagnosis (to the degree known), treatment and any known prognosis communicated in terms you can understand.
  • If you do not speak or understand English, you have the right to access an interpreter.
  • You have the right to reasonable informed participation in decisions involving your health care, based on a clear, concise explanation of your condition and all proposed technical procedures, including the possibility of any risks or problems related to recuperation and probability of success. You should not be subjected to any procedure without your voluntary, competent and understanding of consent; you should be informed if there are medically significant alternatives for care or treatment.
  • You have the right to be informed if SHS proposes to engage in, or perform human experimentation or other research/educational projects affecting your care or treatment, and you have the right to refuse to participate in any such activity.
  • You may change primary care providers at SHS, and you have the right to consult with a specialist at your own expense.
  • 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 practitioner may terminate his/her relationship with you upon reasonable notice.
  • You have the right to request and receive an itemized and detailed explanation of your total bill for services rendered at SHS.
  • You are entitled to information about the mechanism for initiation, review and resolution of patient complaints. This information is available upon request from the Director of Administrative Services, 541-737-4619.
Patient Responsibilities
  • It's your responsibility to provide, to the best of your knowledge, accurate and complete information about present complaints, past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications and other matters relating to your health. It is your responsibility to report unexpected changes in your condition to the responsible practitioner and to indicate whether you clearly comprehend a proposed course of action and what is expected of you.
  • It's your responsibility to follow the treatment plan recommended by the practitioner, to keep scheduled appointments or to cancel them in advance when you are unable to do so.
  • You are responsible for informing your provider about any living will, medical power of attorney, or other advance directive that could affect your care.
  • You are responsible for the health consequences if you refuse treatment or do not comply with the practitioner's instructions.
  • It is your responsibility to provide a responsible adult to transport you home if required by your provider.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure the financial obligations of your health care are fulfilled as promptly as possible.
  • You are responsible for communicating questions about your diagnosis and treatment or other concerns about your care at SHS to your practitioner, the Patient Health Navigator (541-737-7573) or the SHS Executive Director (541-737-7576).
  • You are responsible for acting in a respectful, considerate, and cooperative manner with SHS staff, as well as with other students.
  • You are responsible to adhere to the OSU Student Conduct Code. If at any time you threaten harm to self or others, campus security or law enforcement will be contacted immediately.

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.


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


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.


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. 


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.


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.