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.