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University Health Services Policies and Patient Resources

Patients' Rights and Responsibilities 

University Health Services provides guidance on what is expected of patients and what rights patients have. Please review this information so we can provide you with the best possible care. 

Patient Rights: All patients have a right to the following


You have the right to receive care without discrimination due to race, color, religion, ethnicity, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, culture, physical or mental disability, language, genetic information, source of payment, or socioeconomic status.

Respect and Dignity

You have the right to considerate, respectful care given by competent personnel that reflects consideration of the patient’s cultural, psychosocial, spiritual, personal values, beliefs, and preferences and that optimizes the patient’s comfort and dignity while contributing to a positive patient self-image.


You have the right to: 

  1. Be informed of Patient Rights and Responsibilities at the earliest possible time of your treatment in a manner and form that you understand. 
  2. Know what health center rules and regulations apply to patient conduct.
  3. Know the name of the provider who has primary responsibility for your care, and the identity and function of all individuals providing care, treatment, and services.
  4. Request a specific health care provider at UHS and change primary or specialty providers. The UHS clinician staff includes physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants.
  5. Be communicated within a manner that is clear, concise, and understandable. Information provided will be appropriate to the age and cognition of the patient.
  6. Be provided with an interpreter through Language Line if you do not speak English.
  7. Be provided with alternative communication techniques if you have vision, speech, hearing, and cognitive impairments.
  8. Be informed about unanticipated outcomes of care, treatment, and services that relate to sentinel events considered reviewable by the AAAHC. The provider responsible for your care, or his or her designee, informs you about the unanticipated outcome when you are not already aware of the occurrence or when further discussion is needed.

Quality Care Delivery

You have the right to:

  1. Receive care in a safe and secure environment that incorporates current standards of practice for patient environmental safety, infection control, and security.
  2. Be free from all forms of mental, physical, sexual, and verbal abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
  3. Expect good management techniques to be implemented to effectively use your time and to avoid personal discomfort to the extent possible.
  4. Receive high-quality care based on professional standards that are continually maintained and reviewed.

Participation in Care

You have the right to:

  1. Participate in decisions concerning their health care except in the rare circumstance when their participation is against the best medical practice and therefore is potentially harmful to them.
  2. Be involved in all aspects of care and take part in decisions about care. When it is medically inadvisable to provide information to you, the information is provided to a person designated by you, or to a legally authorized person. 
  3. To the degree that it is known, be provided with information concerning diagnosis, evaluation, treatment, and prognosis.
  4. Be informed about proposed care options including the risks and benefits, other care options, what could happen without care, and the expected outcome(s) of any medical care provided, including any outcomes that were not expected.
  5. Request care. This right does not mean that you can demand care or services that are not medically needed.
  6. Participate in the consideration of ethical issues surrounding your care.
  7. Receive a prompt and safe transfer to the care of others when UHS is not able to meet your request or need for care or service. Patients have the right to know why a transfer to another health care facility might be required, as well as to learn about other options for care.
  8. Receive assistance to obtain consultation with another provider at your request and own expense.

Pain Management

You have the right to appropriate assessment, management, and relief of pain, including providing feedback on pain control.


You have the right to:

  1. Give informed consent. Except for emergencies, the provider must obtain the necessary informed consent prior to the start of any procedure or treatment or both. This information shall include the name of the person performing the procedure or treatment, a description of the procedure or treatment, the medically significant risks involved, alternate course of treatment or non-treatment, and the risks involved in each.
  2. Refuse any care, therapy, drug, treatment, or procedure that a provider is recommending. The provider will discuss the medical consequences of such refusal. There are times when care must be provided by law or regulation.
  3. Give consent prior to the start of any experimental, research, donor program, or educational activities in which you may be asked to participate. You or your legal representative may, at any time, refuse to continue in any such study/program to which informed consent has previously been given. Refusal to participate or discontinuation of participation will not compromise your right to access care, treatment, or services.
  4. Give consent for UHS providers and/or staff to take photos, make recordings, or film, if the purpose is for something other than patient identification, care, diagnosis, or treatment.

Advance Directive

You have the right to:

  1. Formulate an advance directive
  2. Revise an existing advance directive or to appoint a surrogate to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. 
    1. These decisions will be honored within the limits of the law and UHS’ mission. 
    2. You not required to have or complete an advance directive in order to receive healthcare.


You have the right to:

  1. Check-in, be interviewed, examined, treated and have care discussed in places designed to protect privacy.
  2. Expect all communications and records related to care to be treated as confidential except as otherwise provided by law or third-party contractual arrangements.
  3. Receive written notice that explains how personal health information will be used and shared with other health care professionals involved in your care.
  4. Be informed about any circumstances in which information about you must be disclosed or reported due to law or regulation.
  5. Limit who can receive information about you, including demographic information, your presence or location in the clinical area or information about your medical condition.
  6. Approve or refuse release of information to the fullest extent provided by law.

Medical Record

You have the right to:

  1. Access all information contained in your medical record other than psychotherapy notes, unless access is restricted by the attending provider for medical reasons.
  2. Request a copy of your medical record (note: there may be a fee for the copying of the medical record). If you feel that the information is incorrect, you may request that the information be amended.  UHS may deny the request to amend information under certain specific circumstances as permitted by law.

Financial Charges

You have the right to examine and receive a detailed explanation of your bill. You also have the right to receive full information and counseling on the availability of known financial resources to help you with the payment of healthcare bills.


You have the right to:

  1. Voice complaints/grievances/feedback, either verbal or written, regarding your care and recommend changes without being subject to coercion, discrimination, reprisal or unreasonable interruption of care, treatment or services.
  2. Have the complaint and/or grievance be addressed in a timely and reasonable manner. Those complaints and/or grievances regarding situations that endanger the patient are reviewed immediately. For all others, attempts will be made to respond within 7 business days.
  3. Be provided with UHS’ determination regarding the complaint/grievance
  4. Grievances may be made directly to UHS administration: contact info, Rm 502B Student Health Center, (814) 863-2058, or email 

Utilize “How Was Your Visit” confidential comment forms and collection boxes located in reception areas of the Student Health Center.

Patient Responsibilities

The following patient responsibilities are presented to the patient and family in the spirit of mutual trust and respect.

Provision of Information

Patients and their families must provide, to the best of their knowledge accurate and complete information about:

  1. Present complaints
  2. Past illnesses
  3. Hospitalizations
  4. Medications (including over-the-counter products/dietary supplements)
  5. Allergies or sensitivities
  6. Living will, medical power of attorney, or other directives
  7.  Any other matters relating to the patient’s health.
  8. Patients and their families must report perceived risks in the patient’s care and unexpected changes in the patient’s condition.

Ask Questions

  1. Patients and their families must participate in their care and ask questions when they do not understand their care, treatment, and service or what they are expected to do. The patients and families are responsible for reporting whether they clearly comprehend a contemplated course of action.
  2. Patients and their families must become informed, through available printed and/or electronic material and/or discussion with Health Service staff, about the scope of basic services offered, their cost, and the necessity for additional medical insurance.

Follow Instructions

  1. Patients and their families must follow the agreed-upon care, treatment and service plan developed. They are expected to help the providers, nurses and allied health personnel in their efforts to care for the patient by following their instructions and medical orders.
  2. Patients and families should express any concerns about their ability to follow the proposed care plan or course of care, treatment or services. UHS makes every effort to adapt the plan to specific needs and limitations of the patient. When such adaptations to the care, treatment or service plan are not recommended, the patients and their families are informed of the consequences of the care, treatment and service alternatives of not following the proposed course.
  3. The patient and their families are responsible for the outcomes if they refuse care or do not follow the care, treatment and service plan.
  4. The patient and their families are responsible for providing a responsible adult for transportation if indicated by their provider.

Follow University Health Services Rules and Regulations

  1. Patients and their families must follow UHS rules and regulations affecting patient care and conduct.
  2. Patients are expected not to take drugs that have not been prescribed by their provider and administered by clinical staff.
  3. Patients and their families are expected to follow and adhere to all policies and procedures related to an infectious disease outbreak, including COVID-19.

Demonstrate Respect and Consideration

  1. Patients and their families or other visitors are expected to be considerate of the rights of other patients and UHS personnel. This includes obtaining consent from all individuals before including them in patient or family-generated audiovisual activities.
  2. Patients are expected to arrive as scheduled for appointments or notify UHS in advance in case of canceled appointments.
  3. Patients and their families or visitors are expected to observe the no-smoking policy and fragrance-free policy of the organization.
  4. Patients and their families or visitors are expected to respect the property of other persons and that of UHS.
  5. Patients are expected to maintain a healthy lifestyle and actively engage in their health care.

Assume Financial Charges

 The patient is responsible for assuming financial responsibility of payment for all services rendered through third-party payors (insurance companies), as applicable, and being personally responsible for payment of any services that are not covered by his/her insurance.


All medical records at University Health Services are strictly confidential. Information about a student's care will be released only with the student's written permission or in accordance with our Notice of Privacy Practices

All University Health Services staff, student employees, and volunteers adhere to established ethical principles and codes of professional practice, including patient confidentiality.

All information concerning students' visits to University Health Services, including their identity, reason for the visit, diagnosis, treatments, and billing information, is considered confidential information.

What Confidentiality Means to Students

Students at Penn State can be assured that their medical records are strictly confidential and will only be released in accordance with our Notice of Privacy Practices,  with the student's permission, by order of the court, or in the event of a  life-threatening situation in which the student is so ill/injured he/she cannot provide consent. Medical records are not available to parents, professors, roommates, and friends.

What Confidentiality Means to Parents

It is certainly understandable that as concerned parents of students who have been ill, you may want access to information in your son or daughter's medical record. Unfortunately, patient confidentiality standards prohibit University Health Services from allowing parents access to students' medical records without the student's written authorization. Please have your student stop by the Health Information Management office to complete the authorization form (forms must be completed in person by the student and photo ID must be presented). 

Policy for Verification of Illness

University Health Services does not provide verification of illness forms for minor or routine illnesses or injuries, such as colds, and flu-like or gastrointestinal illnesses. The University Health Services policy is consistent with the Faculty Senate Policy 42-27; Class Attendance

Routine illness-related absences

For routine illness-related absences, students should correspond directly with the faculty as soon as possible regarding their situation, ideally, before they miss a class, exam, or other evaluative activity.

Prolonged illnesses or injuries

University Health Services may provide verification of illness forms for significant prolonged illnesses or injuries lasting at least a week resulting in absence from classes. 

When appropriate, students may request the verification during their clinician visit or send a secure message to their clinician or the Advice Nurse through myUHS. If a student wants a verification of illness from University Health Services and has received care from an outside provider for a significant, prolonged illness, he/she must provide appropriate documentation to the University Health Services director, 502A Student Health Center, 814-865-4UHS (4847).

Faculty Questions

If a faculty member has questions about a specific student, they can call the University Health Services administration office at 814-865-4UHS (4847). However, due to patient confidentiality and privacy laws, UHS cannot release any information, including verification of services at UHS without the student’s consent.

Following the University Academic Administrative Policies & Procedures Manual, E-11, UHS policy is consistent with the Faculty Senate Policy 42-27, Class Attendance. The rationale for this policy notes that “the process of determining the legitimacy of the reasons for absences is frequently cumbersome and leads to negative situations that inhibit the quality of learning and teaching for both the students and faculty.” The goal of the policy is to reduce negative situations for students, faculty, and healthcare providers.

In verifying that a student's absence is in accordance with Senate Policy 42-27, instructors should be sensitive to a student's privacy and well-being, especially for legitimate circumstances such as illnesses, accidents, or family emergencies. Instructors may require students to provide documentation with the class absence form or other written notification, except for the following situations:

  • Students are not required to provide any information that would reveal private health information or to provide a document containing the signature of a clinician.
  • University Health Services (UHS) does not provide verification of illness or injuries. Verification will be provided only for serious illnesses for which UHS clinicians provided services or when UHS has received such documentation from outside providers.

University Health Services Fragrance-Free Policy

Fragrance allergies are fairly commonplace. As a health care facility, the Student Health Center wishes to prevent unnecessary discomfort and illness for our visitors and staff. During visits to this facility, please refrain from the use of fragrances such as perfume and cologne. Thank you for helping us provide a healthy environment for all visitors and staff.

Please let the reception staff know if you suffer from a fragrance allergy.

For some, allergic reactions may be rather mild, while in others they can be quite intense. Some common allergic reactions include:

  • Eyes watering
  • Sneezing
  • Constriction of throat
  • Headaches
  • Hives and rashes (mostly in contact with skin)
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Dizziness and nausea
  • Itchy skin
  • Runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Asthma attacks
  • Rising of bile
  • Funny taste in the mouth
  • Tingling of lips
  • Joint and muscle pain (in certain cases)
  • Eczema (on contact with skin)


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