The Student Health Center maintains patient records for seven years after a student graduates from Washington and Lee. After seven years health records are destroyed. If you need information from your health record that is less than seven years old you may request it by completing the Consent to Release Confidential Health Care Information.
Each time a student visits the Student Health Center and sees a clinician (nurse, or physician, or physician assistant) a record is made of the visit. The health record contains information about symptoms, examinations, test results, medications, allergies and the plan for care. There are state and federal laws that protect the confidentiality of personal information that is contained in the health record. The primary laws applicable to W&L's Student Health Center are the Virginia law on patient health records privacy and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. We will not release such information without authorization, except in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
We will provide another physician or healthcare provider with a copy of information from a medical record to assist him or her in treating a student. This includes University Counseling staff, with whom the Student Health Center Physician/Physician Assistant meet weekly to discuss care of students. We may also call to remind a student about an appointment or to follow up for a visit or diagnostic test results. Secretarial staff may access health record to file all components of the chart and to assist students with insurance or other records-related questions.
Student employees do not have access to health records and are instructed not to open charts. Staff members do not discuss personal health information in the presence of student employees. When student employees answer a patient phone call, they can schedule an appointment or ask for the patient's name and phone number so a staff member can return the call. At the time of their employment, student employees are informed of this policy, and sign a statement acknowledging that they understand and will comply with it.
We do not release information about a student's health to parents, professors, or the University administration without permission except in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. A rare exception occurs when parents or the administration might be notified in emergency/ life-threatening situations or when the student cannot give permission due to the severity of illness/injury. We will release information to parents about the nature of charges from the Student Health Center to a student's University account only with the student's permission.
It is the student's responsibility to contact professors about classes or work missed due to illness. We will provide a statement about illness if needed, but this is usually not necessary when the student remains in contact with his or her professors. Short term academic adjustments for health reasons (such as postponing tests, exams, due dates for projects or writing assignments, or other indicated adjustments) must be recommended by Student Health or Counseling and approved by the Assistant Dean of the College for undergraduates, or the Law Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for law students.
We may also disclose health information as required by law, for example (list is illustrative, not exhaustive):