Frequently Asked Questions
Alcohol Issues and UHS
Prepared for the ACC Workshop 12/5/08If I am transported to UHS for alcohol-related reasons, what might I expect to happen? Under current guidelines, you will be brought to the 2nd floor of UHS where the UHS Inpatient Service is located. You will meet with members of the Inpatient Service nursing staff, who will check basic vital medical signs, escort you to a room, and will facilitate the admission process by collecting important information related to your alcohol use and monitoring your immediate health status. You will then meet with one of UHS’s physicians who will review your medical condition and provide medical clearance to leave UHS. Under most circumstances, once you are cleared medically, you will have a brief consultation with a member of the CPS clinical staff, who will discuss CPS support and counseling services, and make a recommendation to you about some sort of follow-up care. What is the role of the Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) after I’ve been admitted to McCosh for alcohol-related reasons (usually intoxication)? Under current guidelines, you will first be seen by members of the Inpatient Service nursing and medical team; that is, you will meet with a nurse and then a physician (a medical doctor). You will then meet with a CPS staff clinician (a psychologist or clinical social worker). The objective of the CPS staff clinician’s meeting is to assess any possible alcohol-related risks and/or treatment needs. For example, if you have had an alcohol-related incident that includes a high BAC (blood alcohol level), an ER visit, an injury, or is part of a concerning pattern of behavior that may compromise your health and well being—then follow-up appointment with a member of the Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Team will most likely be recommended. Ideally, this assessment is a collaborative effort with you to figure out how our services might be of use to you in minimizing the likelihood of a recurrence. This is why we often suggest at least one follow-up appointment. You mentioned this “Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) Team at McCosh”. What does it do and why should I care about it? The AOD team is a group of clinicians (doctors, nurses, counselors) at UHS who specialize in assessing and treating student alcohol-related difficulties. On a weekly basis, this team meets and carefully reviews the circumstances of all admissions to the Inpatient Service at McCosh that involve alcohol (and/or other drugs). This Team also reviews any follow-up recommendations that were made by the CPS clinician. Based on this and other information (e.g., questionnaires, interview, previous history, current circumstances), students are assigned a certain level of concern and this level of concern will determine the nature of recommended follow-up with UHS. For instance, if you did not follow-up with a member of the Team as recommended by the CPS clinician and Team has serious concerns about your safety and well being, then the Team may enlist the assistance of your Residential College’s Director of Student Life (DSL) to ensure further assessment or counseling. In making these decisions, we work very hard to consider carefully and try to balance fairly our level of concern (based on the incident(s) that have come to our attention) and your right to privacy. If the Team decides that it is necessary to contact a DSL, then we will always notify you in advance and provide you with an opportunity to address the matter with CPS first.
If I’ve been transported to UHS by the university’s Department of Public Safety (DPS), does that mean that my Residential College Dean or Director of Student Life (DSL) will be informed of the incident that brought me here? Yes (though not by UHS). The Department of Public Safety publishes daily incident reports that contain alcohol-related transports to the local ER and UHS. These reports are distributed to a limited number of university officials, including Deans and Directors of Student Life (DSLs). So if a DPS officer was involved in your transport, then you may hear from your DSL without any contact or notification from your doctors at McCosh/UHS—mainly as an acknowledgment of the incident and an expression of concern. There are no disciplinary consequences for students who are brought to UHS for using excess alcohol or for the friends or fellow students who escort them to UHS. If you have used alcohol to excess and have been brought to UHS by a friend or have come to UHS on your own, or will your Residential College Dean or Director of Student Life (DSL) be informed of the incident? No. If you are escorted to UHS by a friend or by yourself, UHS will not disclose the reason for admission to your Dean or DSL. However, there is a daily census that lists all students who are residing on the UHS Inpatient Services and this census is distributed to several university departments; as mentioned above, reasons for admission are not specified.
Will my parents be notified if I am admitted to UHS for alcohol-related reasons?It depends. Parents are not routinely informed by UHS staff or by other university officials about UHS admissions. However, if the circumstances are such that you were taken to a local Emergency Room and then escorted by Public Safety back to UHS, then it is likely that your parents will receive a bill from the hospital pertaining to the visit. In this way, parents may be indirectly informed about the hospital visit. If your admission to UHS involved circumstances that led to an “alcohol violation” (that is, using alcohol with other disruptive behavioral infractions), then it is possible that your parents will receive notification of your incident (through the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students)—though this notification will take place only if it is a 2nd alcohol violation. Parents will also be notified in life threatening situations.
Who will have access to my records related to my admission to UHS for alcohol-related reasons?Your treating doctors, nurses, and clinicians have access to your records pertaining to your admission. At UHS, we specialize in integrated, collaborative health care, and this means that your health care providers are well-informed about your situation. Appropriately sharing clinical information about your condition is an important part of the provision of good health care. Your medical and psychological records are private and confidential. They may only be released to others, outside of UHS, with your written consent.
If I am escorted to UHS for alcohol-related reasons, do I have the right to refuse treatment?If your condition does not represent a danger to yourself or to others in the community, then you may refuse treatment. Under most circumstances in which treatment at UHS is refused, you will receive follow-up contact from UHS, as it is important for your doctors to check in and see how you are doing. If your judgment appears impaired and blood alcohol level high, then we will enlist Public Safety to ensure that the environment is safe for students and staff. Public Safety will attempt to persuade you to return to UHS for a more complete evaluation.