Confidentiality

Health Service staff, like all healthcare professionals 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, parents, or other family members without your consent. No one may have access to any of your medical information without your permission. 

Billing and Confidentiality

Health Service staff may not provide any information regarding health service charges on the student's Bursar bill without the student’s permission. This is the case even if students are covered by a parent or guardian’s insurance plan. We will reach out to parents/guardians and involve them in the discussion about an episode of illness, if the student requests this and provides consent. Students should speak with their clinician at the time of their visit to let the clinician know what information may be shared. 
 
When services are billed to a health plan, the plan may generate an  Explanation of Benefits (EOB). EOBs may contain any of the following; provider names, procedures performed, and diagnosis codes. Students may contact their insurance company using the number on the back of their insurance card for more information on what is included in an EOB. Students may also be able to request that the EOB be sent directly to them, rather than to the insurance subscriber. All insurance companies are different. Some insurance companies provide a statement to the policy holder (usually a parent or guardian) detailing the services received.  
 
Services charged to a student’s Tuition Bill are available for review on their SIS account within 1-2 weeks. To protect confidentiality, any charges will be listed as simply "Health Service charge" with no further detail. Once the charge appears on the SIS account, it can be downloaded and printed using the Health Service Statement from the  Patient Portal and may be submitted to the student’s insurance company for reimbursement.  
 
For information or questions on  Billing you can contact the Health Service Business Office 617-627-5176 or email StudentHealthInsurance@tufts.edu

 

Policy on Universal Consent

Health Service receives many inquiries from parents about having their student 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 permission to discuss all medical matters.   Health Services will abide by federal and state privacy laws under all circumstances.  If a student does not want us to share medical information, we are required to honor their request, unless we have serious concerns for their life and safety. 
 
We encourage parents and guardians to have a power of attorney in the event their student is at the hospital and unable to make decisions for themselves. Parents should keep this documentation in a safe place and be able to send it to the hospital where the student is being cared for at the time of the emergency.
 

Policy on Sharing Information related to COVID-19 status 

Health Service does have an obligation to share information about a student’s COVID-19 status in order to facilitate public health functions including contact tracing, housing relocation, case management, and infection control. This information is still considered Protected Health Information (PHI) and is covered under HIPPA. Health Service’s practice is to share only the minimal amount of information necessary in order for the public health functions to take place. Information shared directly with Health Service medical staff and contact tracers remains confidential. We are also required by law to report cases of COVID-19 and individuals exposed to a person with COVID-19 to the local public health authorities.  

 

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.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: