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Patient Visit Information Patient Rights and Responsibilities

Patient Rights
The Student Health Center provides quality health care to eligible students regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, or political affiliation.

Our patients have the right:

  • to be treated in a civil manner with consideration, respect, and courtesy in all interactions
  • to have discussions, examinations, and treatments conducted in a private, safe environment
  • to expect that protected health information (PHI) will be kept confidential per American University, state, and federal regulations and released to a third party only with the patient’s written consent or if required by law
  • to be informed of the identity and credentials of the health care professional providing services
  • to actively participate in decisions concerning their health and the care they receive
  • to a clear explanation of diagnosis, prognosis, methods of treatment, and alternatives to treatment
  • to a clear explanation of tests ordered, the reason(s) for ordering them, and the benefits /risks of medications dispensed or prescribed
  • to ask questions of their health care provider
  •  to be informed of personal responsibilities for medical treatment, and managing health and well being after treatment
  • to choose or change providers (depending on availability) within the Student Health Center (SHC)
  • to receive information on patient rights, patient responsibilities, services, hours of operation, and provisions for after-hours care and emergency coverage
  • to receive information about and explanation of fees for services and payment policies
  • to express concerns directly to the Director of the SHC or any staff member of the health center

Patient Responsibilities

The Student Health Center at American University is committed to providing quality health care to students. We believe that quality health care is a result of collaboration between medical provider and patient. Active participation in your own health care is a responsibility that will assure the best outcomes. 

Responsible actions on behalf of our patients include:
  • Seeking medical care soon after feeling ill so you do not put others at risk of becoming ill.
  • Allowing a reasonable amount of time when accessing services and arriving 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment to complete paperwork or pre-exam procedures.   

    * For example, do not schedule an appointment 15 minutes before a class or work.
  • Keeping your appointments, or cancelling/rescheduling as far in advance as possible, so that your appointment time may be given to another patient.
  • Familiarizing yourself with visit fees, associated laboratory and medication fees, and paying for services rendered at the time of service.
  • Presenting an ID card (or other form of photo identification) to SHC staff at check-in.
  • Having a basic understanding of the benefits of your insurance plan and contacting the member services department of that plan if you have questions.
    *Students on the AU insurance plan should remember that they must be seen at the health center to obtain referrals for specialty care. Additional information can be found at or the health center Web site at
  • Acting in a courteous manner, showing respect to health care personnel and other patients by refraining from eating, drinking, and using cell phones while in the health center.
  • Providing complete information about a health problem or illness to the medical provider, including accurate information about your medical history, allergies, or medications you are taking.
  • Asking questions to ensure that you understand your illness or problem and the recommended treatment.
    *If you find the care or course of treatment unacceptable for any reason, please discuss it with a member of the staff, the Patient Services Manager, or the Director.
  • Securing prescription medications (in your possession), taking them as directed, and not sharing them with others.
  • Communicating with your health care provider if a condition worsens or does not follow the expected course.
  • Taking responsibility for actions and outcomes if you refuse treatment, care, or services or if you do not follow the health care professional’s instructions.
  • Completing satisfaction surveys that may be provided.
  • Contacting the Director with any concerns about the Student Health Center.
  • Notifying the SHC Staff if you have a living will, health care proxy or power of attorney for health related issues.