As your health care partner, we ask for your participation in making decisions about your care, and will treat you with consideration, respect, and dignity. State and federal laws protect patient rights, and we are responsible for informing you of these rights. As an adult, you can exercise these rights yourself. As a minor, or if you become incapable of making decisions about your health care, the person with legal responsibility for participating in decisions about your health care will exercise these rights on your behalf.
The Patient Advocate helps you:
- Navigate the health care system
- Explore choices for your medical care
- Resolve or mediate problems
- Discuss financial assistance options
- Coordinate special needs arrangements
All feedback is confidential and may be submitted to the suggestion boxes in the clinic, or by submitting the form below. Please provide contact information if you would like a response. We welcome positive comments and recommendations for improvements.
You can contact our Patient Advocate, Linda Cannon, directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org or (617) 495-7583.
All registered Harvard students who purchase both the Student Health Fee and Student Health Insurance Plan may qualify for financial assistance to help cover the cost of medically necessary health care that is not otherwise covered by insurance.
We are prepared to meet the general and special health care needs of students, faculty, staff, and retirees with disabilities. We recommend early contact with a primary care clinician to establish a base for continuity of care during a student's active stay at Harvard. A variety of access services are available through the Accessible Education Office, including sign language and oral interpreters. Wheelchair accessible restrooms are located throughout Harvard University Health Services in the Smith Campus Center. The Patient Advocate is available to assist individuals with arrangements for special needs, answer health care related questions, and provide an orientation to the practice.
Interpreter services are available for non-English speaking patients. Other services are available for patients who are hearing or visually impaired.
Your Rights as a Patient
PARTICIPATING IN YOUR HEALTH CARE
This includes the right to receive the current and complete information you need in order to accept or refuse a recommended treatment. Emergencies or other circumstances occasionally may limit your participation in a treatment decision. However, in general, you will not receive any medical treatment before you or your legal representative gives informed consent. You have the right to choose the health services you wish to receive, as long as Harvard University Health Services is able to accommodate your choice. Female rape victims of childbearing age have the right to be promptly offered emergency contraception and to be provided with emergency contraception upon request. All patients have the right to be informed about and refuse to participate in research proposed by your health care provider and to refuse any care or examination when the primary purpose is educational or informational, rather than therapeutic.
EXPRESSING YOUR WISHES CONCERNING FUTURE CARE
You have the right to choose a person to make medical decisions for you, if you are unable to do so, and to express your choices about your future care. These choices may be expressed in advance directive documents such as a power of attorney for health care decisions, health care proxy, or living will. You should inform your family and your provider of your wishes and give them any documents that describe your wishes concerning future care.
RECEIVING THE MEDICAL INFORMATION YOU NEED TO PARTICIPATE IN YOUR HEALTH CARE
For all patients, this information includes the diagnosis and prognosis of a health concern, problem, or issue, evaluation, the recommended treatment, alternative treatments, and the risks and benefits of the recommended treatment. Treatment information includes, but is not limited to, medically and factually accurate written information about emergency contraception for female rape victims of childbearing age, and complete information on all alternative treatments, which are medically viable, for patients suffering from breast cancer. For all patients, we will try to make medical information as understandable as possible. You are entitled to interpreter services, if necessary. You also have the right to review and receive copies of your medical records, unless the law restricts our ability to make them available. You have the right to have ethical issues that arise in connection with your health care considered. You have the right to request and receive consultation on your medical condition at Harvard University Health Services.
RECEIVING INFORMATION ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO PROVIDE YOUR HEALTH CARE
You are entitled to know the name and professional status of the individuals who provide service or treatment to you. You have the right to refuse to be examined, observed, or treated by students or any other staff without jeopardizing access to care. Upon your request, Harvard University Health Services will provide you with an explanation of its relationship and/or your physician's relationship to another health care facility (or Harvard University Health Services, as applicable) or educational institution as it relates to your care or treatment.
RECEIVING CONSIDERATE, RESPECTFUL CARE
We respect your personal preferences and values. All reasonable requests will be responded to promptly and adequately within the capacity of our facilities.
BEING ASSURED IMPARTIAL ACCESS TO TREATMENT
You have the right to all medically indicated treatment, including prompt life-saving treatment, regardless of your race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, cultural background, disability, or financial status. In the event we cannot provide necessary life-saving treatment to you, you have the right to prompt and safe transfer to a facility that agrees to treat you.
You have the right to be treated with respect and recognition of your dignity and need for privacy. We will respect your right to the confidentiality of records and communications relating to your care, and your right to privacy during medical treatment and care. Harvard University Health Services will not release your medical information without your authorization, except as required or permitted by law or as required in the administration of our agreement with you. Please contact the Harvard University Health Services Medical Records Department if you would like to request the release of your information. For additional information about your right to privacy, please see our pamphlet entitled, Harvard University Health Services Notice of Privacy Practices. Harvard College and Harvard Summer School students, in particular, should note that there are special student privacy rights that apply to them and are described in their Schools' student handbook.
HAVING A SAFE, SECURE, CLEAN, AND ACCESSIBLE ENVIRONMENT
Harvard University Health Services is a smoke-free facility.
PARTICIPATING IN YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER SELECTION
You have the right to select and change health care providers within Harvard University Health Services who are qualified and available to provide services to you.
KNOWING AND USING CUSTOMER SERVICE RESOURCES
You have the right to know about resources such as Member Service representatives, for health insurance questions, and grievances and appeal resources that can help you answer questions and resolve problems. Upon request, you are entitled to receive this information from a designated Harvard University Health Services representative, as well as any information that Harvard University Health Services has available relative to itemized bills for services provided to you (including an explanation of such bills and a copy sent to your physician), payment policies, financial assistance, free health care, and any rules or regulations which apply to your conduct as a patient. You have the right to discuss your concerns with your physician, nurse, or the Patient Advocate without concern that your care will be affected.
We welcome your suggestions and questions about services, the health care professionals providing care, and Patient Rights and Responsibilities. Patient Satisfaction Survey forms are available for this purpose and are located at all Harvard University Health Services clinic locations. You can also send your comments via email to email@example.com.
Your responsibilities as a patient
KNOWING THE EXTENT AND LIMITATIONS OF YOUR HEALTH CARE BENEFITS
An explanation of these is contained in your health plan information.
IDENTIFYING YOURSELF AND PROVIDING ACCURATE AND COMPLETE INFORMATION
You are responsible for providing accurate information about your present and past medical conditions (including prescription medications, over-the-counter products, dietary supplements, and any allergies or sensitivities), as you understand it. You should report unexpected changes in your condition to your health care provider.
You are responsible for promptly canceling any appointment that you do not need or cannot keep.
FOLLOWING THE TREATMENT PLAN YOU AND YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER AGREE TO
Inform your health care provider if you do not clearly understand your treatment plan and what is expected of you. If you believe you cannot follow through with your treatment, you are responsible for informing your health care provider.
RECOGNIZING THE EFFECT OF YOUR LIFESTYLE ON YOUR HEALTH
Your health depends not just on care provided by Harvard University Health Services, but also on the decisions you make in your daily life, such as smoking or ignoring care recommendations.
BEING RESPECTFUL AND CONSIDERATE OF OTHERS
Be respectful and considerate of health care professionals, staff, and other patients. You should respect the property of Harvard University Health Services and the property of others.
FULFILLING FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS
You are responsible for paying any money you owe to Harvard University Health Services on time and as required.
Under Massachusetts law, individuals who are 18 or older have the right to make their own medical decisions and to make decisions about the privacy of their medical records. Students under the age of 18, but living away from home at college, usually are considered "mature minors" under Massachusetts law, which also gives them the legal standing to make their own decisions about care and privacy. Thus, in general, HUHS will treat students as adults and address issues of concern directly with them. It is the student's responsibility to notify family of illnesses or injuries, except in the rare situation where a student has lost the capacity to make or communicate his/her medical choices, in which case, next-of-kin will be consulted. In a non-emergency situation, however, HUHS will only respond to questions from family members or others about a specific visit or illness when the student has given us contemporaneous permission, usually in writing, to do so. Waivers can be revoked by a patient at any time, so putting in place an advance waiver does not allow for family notification because students can simply revoke the waiver.
For parents who have concerns about situations in which their child may be in distress and seek information on the students' medical or mental health status, we want you to know that Harvard University Health Services works very closely with the College when it comes to protecting the student and others in the community from harm. In the rare instance in which a student's medical or mental health status poses a danger to the student or a threat to others in the community, HUHS professional staff may disclose any relevant information to any appropriate person, including College officials and parents, for the purpose of protecting the student, others, or the community from harm.
Student Peer Advocate Workgroup
This organization provides a channel for Harvard students to express their views and provide suggestions about the services they receive at Harvard University Health Services. The group works closely with the Patient Advocate to assist students in resolving their concerns, promoting a better understanding of health care services at Harvard, improving the relationship students have with Harvard University Health Services, and developing services to better meet their needs.