The Health and Counseling Center staff work collaboratively to promote the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of our student community. Information about your care is explained below.
Laws and standards of medical and mental health professions require that treatment records are maintained when a student visits the Health and Counseling Center for medical or mental health reasons. Medical and mental health treatment records are kept separately, but each record includes basic identifying information, notation of each visit, ongoing progress notes, and phone or electronic messages to or between a health or counseling staff member. A student’s treatment record is used to plan for ongoing care, to facilitate communication between Health and Counseling staff and other healthcare providers, and to document the services that were received.
Confidentiality and Protecting Treatment Records
Treatment records are stored in the Health and Counseling Center and only Health and Counseling Center staff have access to the records. Treatment records are protected by federal and state laws. In general, the law protects the privacy of communication between a student patient-client and the treatment provider (e.g. nurse, psychologist, counselor). Treatment information can only be released to others with a student’s written permission. Within the Health and Counseling Center, treatment information is shared between the health and counseling staff to facilitate student care. A student patient-client is entitled to receive a copy of his/her records, or a summary if needed. It is recommended that the records be reviewed with the treatment provider.
Exceptions to Confidentiality
There are a few exceptions to confidentiality in which health or counseling center staff may need to share information:
- If a client threatens to harm himself/herself, staff may be obligated to seek hospitalization for him/her, or to contact family members or others who can help provide protections.
- If staff believe that a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another, they are required to take protective actions. These actions may include notifying the potential victim, contacting the police, or seeking hospitalization for the client.
- A judge may order staff testimony if he/she determines that the issues demand it in some proceedings in which your emotional condition is an important issue.
- Staff may be legally obligated to take action to protect others from harm. If staff believe that a child (minor) or elderly person is being abused, they must file a report with the appropriate state agency.
- Staff may occasionally find it helpful to consult other outside professionals about a case. During a consultation, they make every effort to avoid revealing the identity of clients. The consultant is also legally bound to keep the information confidential.
- The Carthage College Health and Counseling Center staff (campus nurse and counselor) work collaboratively to promote student well-being. Staff consult with one another and review records as needed to assist in a student’s treatment.
- Please be aware that certain forms of electronic communications (email, voicemail, and messaging) cannot be guaranteed confidential. Contact initiated by a student via a method will constitute consent for staff to respond using that method.
Concerns or Grievances
If a student has questions about Health and Counseling Center services, or the treatment from a provider (campus nurse or counselor), the student is encouraged to talk to the provider about such concerns. A student also has the right to express concerns or file a grievance with the dean of students.