Privacy and Patient Rights
Columbia Health adheres to strict standards of confidentiality regarding information about health care services rendered, conditions or any other privileged information to which Columbia Health has access.
Counseling and Psychological Services and Medical Services
Strict standards of confidentiality are maintained in our clinical services. Within Counseling and Psychological Services and Medical Services, clinicians work as a team and consult with one another, as needed. When necessary to insure the quality and coordination of health care, there may also be communication between the two clinical services and other divisions of Columbia Health.
Each clinical service maintains secure and private treatment records. These records are not part of students’ educational records and are not available to students’ deans or faculty. To further protect the privacy of students, we require students' written consent to release information about their care.
There are rare exceptions to the right to privacy and to the confidentiality practices described above, such as in situations that pose a threat to life or in which there is reason to believe a child is being abused. If you have questions regarding our confidentiality policies, please contact us:
- In Counseling and Psychological Services, questions may be directed to the Assistant Director for Operations, Sara Berger at (212) 854-3101.
- In Medical Services, questions may be directed to the Assistant Director of Operations, Deborah K. Cusack at (212) 854-7390.
For more information about patients' rights, download the Patient Bill of Rights.
The Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) regulates disclosure of disability documentation and records maintained by Disability Services. Under this Federal act, prior written consent by the student is required before Disability Services may release disability documentation or records.
FERPA provides numerous exceptions to the general requirement to seek student consent prior to releasing personally identifiable information from educational records. One of the exceptions authorizes Disability Services to release information to any school official who has a "legitimate educational interest." Another exception is for health and safety emergencies.
Professors or other school officials, such as tutors, may request information about the impact of a student’s disability on his or her ability to learn. Disability Services will only share information with other school officials when appropriate and will carefully balance a student’s request for confidentiality and the request for additional, relevant information about the student. Disability Services seeks to preserve the student’s wish to keep their disability information and status confidential. Disability Services staff is extremely sensitive to this issue.
Under FERPA, students are also allowed to inspect and review their files maintained by Disability Services. Students have the right to challenge any information contained in the files that is incorrect, misleading, or not accurate and request an amendment to this misinformation.
For your convenience, throughout our website you will find email addresses listed as an option for contacting members of the Columbia Health staff. However, we cannot guarantee the confidentiality or immediacy of email communication, and therefore, email should never be used in an emergency.
If you wish to email a provider, please use our secure online messaging feature on Open Communicator (you will need your UNI and password).