Confidentiality

Like all clinicians, we are bound by law and professional ethics to protect the confidentiality of your medical information.
 
Health Service will not disclose information about your care or treatment to deans, professors, coaches, Residential Life, or other university staff unless we are required to by law or if there is a serious danger to you or someone else. We will not discuss your care with your friends or parents without your consent. Your parents may not have access to any of your medical information without your permission.

Billing and Confidentiality

Health Service staff may not give parents any information regarding health service charges on their student's Bursar bill without their child’s permission. This is the case even if you are covered by your parent's insurance plan. We are more than happy to reach out to parents with your consent about an episode of illness, if you would like. Talk to your clinician at the time of the visit.

When services are billed to your parent's insurance, the insurance company may generate an Explanation of Benefits (EOB). EOBs may contain, provider names, procedures, and diagnosis codes. You can contact your insurance company using the number in the back of your insurance card for more information on what is included in your EOB. All insurance companies are different. Some insurance companies provide a statement to the policy holder (usually a parent) detailing the services received. 

Services charged to your Tuition Bill are available for your review on your SIS account within 1-2 weeks. To protect your confidentiality, any charges will be listed as simply "Health Service charge" with no further detail. Once the charge appears on your SIS account, you can download and print your Health Service Statement from the Patient Portal to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement

For information or questions on Billing you can contact the Health Service Business Office 617-627-3350.

Policy on Universal Consent

Health Service receives many inquiries from parents about having their child sign an unlimited consent that allows disclosures of health information by Health Service providers to the parents under all circumstances. It is Health Service’s policy not to accept blanket unlimited advance permission to discuss all medical matters.  In some cases, Health Services is prohibited by law from honoring a blanket permission and prohibited from disclosing health information without a student’s express consent.  Health Services will abide by federal and state privacy laws under all circumstances.  Health Services also believes that when students are facing significant health challenges, it is often helpful to involve family. 

Students at Tufts University Health Service are promised confidentiality for their medical care. Although many students feel comfortable having their parents or guardians know many things about their health, there are issues that they do not yet anticipate for which they might want greater privacy.

It is our policy to ask for consent on a situation-by-situation basis.  We do not honor blanket, up front, permission for the disclosure of health information.  Health Service is more than happy to communicate with parents or guardians when students give us permission, and they do so in the vast majority of situations.  When a student is significantly ill, Health Service clinicians often proactively ask if they could reach out to family members.  We make it easy for students to give permission—verbal consent in person or over the phone is all we need.  If a student does not want us sharing medical information, we are required to honor their request by our professional ethics and in many cases, by federal and state privacy laws, unless we have serious concern for the safety and well-being of a student. 

All students are required to sign the consent for treatment in emergency situations, as part of their pre-entrance medical forms:

Concerns or Questions about Confidentiality

If you have any questions or concern about how we protect your confidentiality, contact the Executive Director of Health and Wellness Service, Michelle Bowdler. Download a copy of Tufts University Notice of Privacy Practices.

HIPAA

The Department of Health & Wellness has a designated HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) privacy officer, Michelle Bowdler, Executive Director of Health & Wellness who is responsible for the development and implementation of the policies and procedures necessary for HIPAA compliance, such as:

  • Creating, posting and distributing the notice of privacy practice
  • Developing a system to ensure that all patients receive a notice of privacy practice
  • Processing authorizations for the disclosure of health information to third parties, including for certain kinds of research, marketing, fundraising, all of which are uncommon in our setting
  • Responding to requests for correction/amendment of health records
  • Considering requests for additional protection for, or confidential communications of health information, including (but not limited to) particularly sensitive health information
  • Providing information to patients or Health Service staff who have questions about HIPAA or state privacy protections
  • Handling any complaints from patients or Health Service staff about possible HIPAA violations

Contact Michelle Bowdler if you have any questions or concerns about your rights related to your medical records, privacy, protected health information, or your medical care.

Learn More about HIPAA


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: