Confidentiality, Patients’ Rights and Responsibilities

Confidentiality

Medical and mental health information contained in all medical records is strictly confidential and may not be released without express written permission from the patient or in case of a court order. Confidentiality and privacy is protected in all our business relationships to prevent the exchange of any patient specific information without permission.

View the University Health Center’s Notice of Health Information Privacy Practices. (Adobe pdf)

Patients’ Rights and Responsibilities

In an effort to better serve our patients, we establish these rights and responsibilities to guide our actions and care.


Patient rights of access to care, treatment and respect are recognized and supported throughout the University Health Center.

Our procedures support each patient’s right:

  • To have reasonable access to safe and effective care within our mission, our scope of service, and in compliance with law and regulation.
  • To be referred to other providers when additional, alternative or special services are needed, and to have this access to care regardless of race, creed, age, gender, national origin, handicap, economic status, or sexual orientation.
  • To receive considerate care that respects personal values, beliefs, and preferences, including the expression of psychosocial, spiritual and cultural values which influence the perception of illness and the response to care.
  • To have respect for personal dignity, privacy and safety during care, and safety and security within the health care facility, and to be free from abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
  • To have effective communication with staff, and to understand or be assisted with written, spoken and other communication.
  • To be assured of confidentiality of health information, with information accessed only by those providing care, providing reimbursement for care, and operational aspects of care, or as authorized by written release or by law, and to access and request amendments to our records of disclosures of the personal health record.
  • To receive communication about rights as a patient and our statement of ethics as an organization.
  • To know the name of the physician or clinician primarily responsible for the care, and the identity of others providing care, and to understand any business relationships between providers and any other institution involved in the care.
  • To understand services available, fees and payment for those services, and eligibility policies, and to request an estimate of charges for routine care prior to receiving treatment.
  • To participate in making informed care decisions involving all aspects, processes and ethical issues of care, including resolution of dilemmas and refusal of care.
  • To receive information concerning outcomes of care, including diagnosis, treatments, benefits, drawbacks, prognosis, recuperation, unanticipated outcomes, alternative treatments and medical consequences of refusal or discontinuation of care.
  • To receive assessment and support in the management of pain as an important part of treatment.
  • To give informed consent to treatments, procedures, photographs, and research, to be informed and involved in processes of research activities associated with care, and to refuse to participate in these activities without impacting care.
  • To involve family members in care decisions, and to designate and involve a surrogate decision maker or legal representative if needed.
  • To receive sensitive care when terminally ill and to receive assistance in formulating advance directives of care and other end-of-life decisions.
  • To be involved in and receive resolution of conflict or concerns about care decisions. In addition, the patient has the right to file a complaint with the Composite State Board of Medical Examiners concerning the physician, staff, office, and treatment received. The patient should either call the Board with such a complaint or send a written complaint to the Board. The patient should be able to provide the name of the physician or practice name, the address and the specific nature of the complaint. Contact the Composite State Board of Medical Examiners at #2 Peachtree Street NW, 36th Floor, Atlanta, Georgia 30303, 404-657-6494, or at www.medicalboard.georgia.gov. The University Health Center is accredited by the Joint Commission. The Joint Commission is a regulatory agency that sets standards on how health centers should operate, and inspects the facility regularly to ensure requirements are being met. Patient care and safety issues are areas that are reviewed by the Joint Commission and are very important to the University Health Center. If you have any concerns about safety or quality of care issues you are encouraged to contact the University Health Center administration at 706-542-8715. If the issues are not resolved you can contact the Joint Commission hotline at 1-800-994-6610 or by e-mail at complaints@jointcommission.org.

The patient of the University Health Center has the responsibility to participate in care reasonably and responsibly, in order to maximize positive outcomes and facilitate safe and effective care.

The patient and the patient’s family are responsible:

  • To provide, to the best of their knowledge, accurate and complete information about present complaints, past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications, advance directives, and other matters relating to health or care.
  • To communicate need for pain relief, and to participate in understanding and managing pain as a part of treatment.
  • To convey whether he/she understands the proposed care and what is expected of them, and if not understood, to ask questions and make this known.
  • To follow the instructions and plan of care developed with the healthcare provider and to report unexpected changes in condition.
  • To express any concerns about plan of care and the ability to understand and to follow it, and make every effort to work with the provider to adapt the plan to specific needs and limitations.
  • To understand the consequences of not complying with the plan of care.
  • To be responsible for the resulting outcomes if he/she refuses treatment or fails to follow instructions or the treatment plan.
  • To keep appointments, and if unable to do so, to inform the Health Center or the provider.
  • To follow Health Center rules and procedures affecting patient care and conduct.
  • To show respect and consideration for the rights of other patients and staff, and to assist in control of noise, smoking and distractions.
  • To be respectful of property of others and of the personnel and property of the Health Center.
  • To promptly fulfill financial obligations to the Health Center.
  • To present any significant complaints or concerns about care to the person providing care, to any other Health Center employee involved in the care, or to the Health Center administration.
  • To help the University Health Center improve its service and environment by providing feedback about service needs, expectations, and perceptions of care.