Health Records and Patient Privacy

Student Health Services (SHS) maintains patient records for ten years after a student graduates from Wheaton College. After ten years, health records are destroyed. If you need information from your health record that is less than ten years old, you may request it by completing the Form to Request Copy of Medical Records (PDF). Please provide at least 7-10 business days for release of records. Only records generated from SHS will be released. 

Each time a student visits Student Health Services to see a clinician (nurse, physician, nurse practitioner) a record is made of the visit. The health record contains information such as symptoms, examinations, test results, medications, allergies and the plan for care. There are state and federal laws that protect the confidentiality of personal information that is contained in the health record. We will not release such information without correct authorization, except in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. 

We will provide another physician or healthcare provider with a copy of information from a medical record to assist him or her in treating a student. This includes a healthcare provider that we have referred a student to outside of our services or building. 

 Student Health Services administrative and billing staff may access a student health record to file components of the chart and to assist students with insurance or other records-related questions. They may also access a student health record to provide necessary information to the student's health insurance carrier in connection with filing and processing claims for payment. 

When you first visit Student Health Services, you will be asked to sign an authorization for the release of specific health information to specific individuals. Student Health Services and Counseling staff may also call to remind a student about an appointment, to follow up for a visit, or to discuss diagnostic test results via email or cell phone as stated on the authorization form. 

Please note, SHS does not call a parent of an adult student (18 years) about a visit that their student may have secured or completed in our facility. If a parent calls to ask about the visit, the authorization will first be reviewed before releasing any information or even the attendance of the student to SHS. SHS will call a parent or guardian on file if the student is exposed to a public health disease, unconscious, or unable to make competent decisions about their healthcare.  If the student is a minor (less than 18 years), certain health items can be discussed with a parent before proceeding with care. If your student is a minor, please refer to the Policy Regarding Minors (PDF).  

Student employees do not have access to health records and are instructed not to open charts. Staff members do not discuss personal health information in the presence of student employees. At the time of their employment, student employees are informed of confidentiality ethics and consequences for non-adherence.

We do not release information about a student's health to parents, professors, or the College’s administration without permission, except in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. A rare exception occurs when parents or the administration might be notified in emergency/life-threatening situations or when the student cannot give permission due to the severity of illness/injury. We will only release information to parents about the nature of charges from Student Health Services on a student’s account or health insurer with the student's written permission.

It is the student's responsibility to contact professors about classes or work missed due to illness. Please refer to our excuse policy. Short term academic adjustments for health reasons (such as postponing tests, exams, due dates for projects or writing assignments, or other indicated adjustments) must be recommended by Student Health Services after a visit or a community physician. These recommendations should be sent to the Office of Academic and Disability Support.

We may also disclose health information as required by law, for example (list is illustrative, not exhaustive):

  1. To public health authorities charged with disease prevention
  2. To law enforcement officials
  3. To courts and/or attorneys in accordance with a valid subpoena (we will attempt to contact you in advance)
  4. To national Security and Intelligence Agencies
  5. To avoid a serious threat to the health and safety of a person or the public