Advance Directives, Medical Power of Attorney, Privacy and Confidentiality

College is a time when young adults become independent in managing their time and their health care. It is important to support students when they have medical or mental health care needs while still respecting their confidentiality.

USC Student Health has found that students are reluctant to seek needed medical and mental health care unless they are confident that the confidentiality of their treatment is strictly maintained. Accordingly, in the interest of students’ health, it is the policy of USC Student Health to not disclose to family members the medical information of a student with capacity to make decisions in the absence of a written authorization by the student (with few exceptions). In an emergency situation, our staff will exercise professional judgment to determine if family members should be informed of the situation even if the student withholds consent.

With a student’s permission, USC Student Health staff members speak with parents regularly and appreciate family involvement in a student’s care when it is appropriate and desired by the student. A student who wishes for a family member to have access to his or her medical records may obtain an authorization form from the Health Information Department on the Lower Level of the Engemann Student Health Center or from the reception staff at the Eric Cohen Student Health Center.

Students have the right to receive information about and assistance with advance directives and designating someone (known as a health care power of attorney) to make health care decisions for them in the event that they are unable.  Students may submit a copy of Advance Directives, a Health Care Power of Attorney, a Designation of a Health Care Surrogate or other similar documents for inclusion in their USC Student Health Record. When providing these documents it is important to be aware that:

  • Records from USC Student Health may not be available immediately to an outside facility where the student is receiving care.
  • USC Student Health does not review documents to ensure they are compliant with applicable law. Students desiring such review should consult their personal attorney.

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