Patient Rights and Privacy
The following is a statement of rights and responsibilities of all UHS patients.
Patients have the right to:
- receive accurate information concerning diagnosis, treatment, risks involved, and prognosis of an illness or health-related condition
- participate actively in decisions regarding your health care treatment
- receive humane care and treatment, with respect and consideration
- a second professional opinion regarding diagnosis or treatment
- change practitioners at UHS
- privacy and confidentiality when seeking or receiving care except for life threatening situations or conditions
- confidentiality of your health records
- accessible information regarding the scope and availability of services
- file a complaint with the Executive Director of UHS regarding any concerns related to confidentiality or the quality of your health care
- review and amend your health record
- a copy of your health record upon receipt of your written request
- revoke your authorization to release your medical information except to the extent that action has not already been taken
- be informed about any legal reporting requirements regarding any aspect of screening, treatment, or care
- be informed of and to exercise the option to refuse to participate in any research related to care without compromising access to treatment
Patients have a responsibility to:
- provide complete information about your illness/problem, to enable proper evaluation and treatment , including information about over-the-counter products, dietary supplements and any allergies or sensitivities
- ask questions so that an understanding of the condition or problem is ensured
- use prescription or medical devices for yourself only
- inform the practitioner(s) if your condition worsens or an unexpected reaction occurs from a medication
- show respect to health personnel and other patients
- reschedule/cancel an appointment so that another person may be given that time slot
- provide requests for permission to release health records in writing, to UHS
- pay bills or file health claims in a timely manner
- inform his/her provider about any directive that could affect his/her care
Grievances: If you wish to express a grievance, we recommend that you speak with your caregiver first or ask to speak with his or her supervisor. If you are not satisfied with this health professional’s response to your concerns, we recommend that you place your grievance in writing and submit this written grievance to the office of the UHS Executive Director--also indicating your preferred method of follow-up contact (e.g., in-person meeting; telephone consultation; written response). The Executive Director’s contact information is as follows: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; tel: 609-258-1430; mailing address: Executive Director/UHS, McCosh Health Center, Washington Road, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 08544. If you are not satisfied with the response of the Executive Director, you may bring your grievance to the attention of the Office of the Vice President for Campus Life at Nassau Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544.
UHS reserves the right to change our practices and to make the new provisions effective for all protected health information we maintain. Should our practices change, we will make information available to the patients and clients we serve.
PRIVACY AND YOUR MEDICAL RECORD
UHS’ confidentiality policy ensures a patient’s right to privacy. Health records are maintained for each patient to provide accurate and complete information on treatment and care. It is the principal means of communication among health care providers and serves as the basis for planning the course of treatment. Medical records include the medical history, results of examinations, diagnosis, orders and reports for laboratory, radiographic studies, consultation reports, clinical observations, medications ordered and relevant history related to the visit. Health records give documentary evidence on evaluation, course of treatment and any changes in condition. Your medical record includes visits for medical services, including immunizations and physical therapy. Counseling and Psychological Services records are kept separate from the medical record.
State and federal statutes protect a patient’s records. The physical record and its contents are owned by the health care organization and the provider. The patient has the right to see his/her record. Only authorized health center staff may have access to the information in your record to record or retrieve information for billing, insurance or Student Health Plan claims purposes.
Release of Medical Records
Written authorization from the patient is necessary to release any health records. Records or information can be released under the following conditions:
Emergency Medical Treatment: In a serious medical emergency, health services will give hospitals and other providers’ information about your health history, medications you might be taking and any allergies.
Reportable Diseases: There are state laws that require health care facilities to report communicable and sexually transmitted diseases to the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. This is for public health purposes and, in some instances, follow up by a public health official.
Subpoenas and Court Orders: If you are involved in court cases or litigation, some times your health record or history is part of the "discovery" procedures for certain kinds of cases. If UHS receives a subpoena or a court order for your health records, they must be released within a certain time period. In some instances, UHS will contact the patient's attorney to verify that this is appropriate.
Other: When signing medical claim forms, applications for insurance coverage and other types of information releases, you are some times authorizing that agency or organization to obtain a copy of your complete health record. Be sure to read and understand any clauses in any documents you are signing that pertain to release of records - this is for your own protection.
To get a copy of your UHS health record, you must complete a Medical Record Release Form. A release form is the authorization to copy the health record - or parts of the record and forward to another person or organization. Your original signature and social security number are checked against our available records to validate the authenticity of the request. Copies of the health record are usually ready for pick up or are forwarded within 7-30 days. There is a fee for this service.
After you leave Princeton, your records are placed in the off-site UHS archives for future reference by the student. After 10 years, the records are destroyed by shredder and incinerator methods by bonded specialists.
Except for a serious emergency, a student is responsible for notifying his or her parents or guardians regarding a health problem.
Supplies, medications, immunizations, and some lab tests are chargeable. These can be charged directly to Student Accounts or paid for by cash, check, and Visa/MasterCard. These items are coded by number. Information is not released on type of service or supply. Questions from parents are referred back to the student.