Who are we?
Who can use our services?
What does it cost?
Where can I get online forms?
What is an "Emergency Leave of Absence" for medical reasons?
Excuses for absence from class for non-emergency medical reasons.
What is a hardship withdrawal?
Can I see my medical records?
What are my patient rights and responsibilities?
The Student Health Center at Western is a primary care medical clinic with a specialty in college health providing a broad range of affordable health care to eligible students. Staffed by a team of physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and support staff, our mission is to assist students with preventive health care and consultations, as well as evaluating, diagnosing and treating health concerns, illnesses and injuries, thereby minimizing their impact on academic progress. We want to help students be well, get well, and stay well --life long.
The Health Center is available to all students currently enrolled in six or more credits on WWU's Bellingham campus. A student registered for 3 to 5 credits has the option to pay the Counseling, Health and Wellness fee and be seen during a quarter. We are unable to see former students or students on leave, dependents of students, faculty and staff of WWU, and Whatcom Community College students living on WWU's campus.
The mandatory, quarterly Health Services Fee provides eligible students with unlimited access to the Center, without charge for office visits. There are free over the counter medications available as well as first aid supplies, without charge. Students are assessed fees for prescription medications dispensed at the Center, equipment, lab tests and special procedures. For more information about billing procedures for costs incurred at the Center, please read the User's Guide to Charges at the Student Health Center.
You can get online forms regarding measles and your personal medical records at our Online Forms Page.
A leave of absence from classes may be granted when psychological or family emergency, illness or injury requires a student to be absent from class. Leaves of absence are issued only upon request from the student. If a faculty member requires medical or emergency leaves of absence, the faculty member will inform the students in his/her courses of that fact in the course syllabus. Non-medical leaves of absence are available through the Dean of Students office (VU 506) and medical leaves through the Student Health Center.
While a leave of absence generally makes it possible for the student to make up work missed, in some instances the amount of time lost makes course completion impractical. In those cases, withdrawal or incomplete grades may be appropriate. A student absent from any exam or class activity through sickness or other cause judged by the instructor to be unavoidable shall be given an opportunity to take a rescheduled exam or make up the class assignment in a timely manner agreed upon by the instructor. Examples of unavoidable cause may include participation in university-sponsored activities such as debating contests, musical or theatrical performances, or intercollegiate athletic competition. The student should consult with course instructors and/or the Dean of Students office.
Emergency Medical Leave of Absences can be requested from the Student Health Center by providing medical documentation, which is a note from your heatlh care provider that includes a brief description of your condition and the expected dates of your absence. You may FAX the documentation to (360) 650-3883 or (360) 650-4580, or email it to Student.Health@wwu.edu. The LOA's will be provided by the Medical Director to faculty by email only, by request and permission of the student.
It is the policy of the Western Washington University Student Health Center to not provide medical excuses for short-term absences that result in missed classes, exams, or assignments due to illness or injury. In certain circumstances where the illness or injury is prolonged (an absence of more than five days) and requires medical attention or hospitalization we will work with students in providing appropriate documentation.
The decision for our policy is based on:
- our limited staff and resources, which are better dedicated to providing health care access for as many students as possible rather than toward verification of short-term medical absences
- the inability for us to make valid determinations about illnesses or injuries that have been effectively managed by self care
- our commitment to student privacy
This policy is similar to most major universities and is consistent with the recommendations of the American College Health Association.
Students are instructed to contact their professor or teaching assistant in the event they need to miss class due to an illness, injury or an emergency. While absence from class should be a rare occurrence, the Western Washington University Student Health Center encourages students to make mature decisions when they are too sick to attend class. All decisions about the impact of an absence, as well as any arrangements for making up work, rest with the instructors.
A student who is unable to complete a course due to hardship may petition for a late course withdrawal after the stated deadlines. Hardship is considered to be an incapacitating injury or illness requiring extensive recuperation or a significant personal emergency such as death in the immediate family. Verification of the hardship is required. Petitions for a late course withdrawal on the basis of hardship are available through the Dean of Students office and must be submitted by the last day of the week prior to finals.
Maintaining confidentiality is the professional, legal and ethical duty of Western Washington University Student Health Center (SHC) as a health care provider and is incumbent on each and every member of its staff. All SHC staff will protect the privacy of any client/patient information regardless of how it is acquired, collected, stored, processed, generated, retrieved, or transmitted in the SHC. SHC is obligated and committed to establish the right balance between the need for access to information needed to perform [one's] job and the right to privacy and confidentiality of the patient/client. All SHC staff will follow Washington State Law , the SHC Policy & Procedure on Confidentiality and Western Washington University's Campus Policies.
You may review your own medical record at any time. To review your record, come in to the Student Health Center and meet with a nurse who can help explain your record to you.
A written request from you, the patient, is required to:
- Release information from your medical record to yourself or another provider or facility
- Request that records from a provider or facility be provided to the Student Health Center.
The medical director or her designee reviews and approves all requests for medical records prior to the release of copies of those records. No medical information is released to anyone outside of the Student Health Center without written and/or verbal authorization from the patient except under those circumstances as defined by RCW 70.02.050. A patient 18 years of age and older is legally an adult and medical and related billing information will not be released to a parent without written consent of the patient.
Note: We cannot release records that have been received by us from another facility or health care provider. The Counseling Center at WWU is considered a separate facility, please contact them directly for release of those records. State and federal law prohibit us from making any further disclosure without specific written consent of the patient.
There is no charge for copying medical records to be released to the patient or the patient's medical provider or facility for as long as the medical records exists (medical records are kept for 10 years and then destroyed).
Records copied for release to legal or insurance entities cost $.75 per page, plus a $6.00 clerical fee.
Release of medical records requests are completed within 1 to 7 working days.
Quality health care begins with good communication and ongoing cooperation between the patient and health care provider. You, as a patient, and the WWU Student Health Center staff have specific rights and responsibilities in relationship to each other.
As a patient, you have rights.
- The right to humane care and treatment. You will be treated with respect, consideration and dignity. You can expect that your personal convictions and beliefs will be taken into account when you seek help and that the convictions and beliefs of the provider will not adversely affect your right to appropriate care.
- The right to accurate information, to the extent known, concerning diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of an illness or health-related condition. This includes the right to accurate written information about drug products or drug treatment for an illness. It will include appropriate alternatives to care at the WWU Student Health Center.
- The right to be treated only with your consent. No care will be provided to you without your consent.
- The right to participate in decisions that are made regarding your health and treatment.
- The right to be informed of any research aspect of your care and to refuse to participate. Such refusal will not jeopardize your access to medical care and treatment.
- The right to a second opinion regarding diagnosis or treatment. This includes seeking consultation with other providers. (However, consultation outside WWU Student Health is the financial responsibility of the user.)
- The right to know who is counseling, caring for, or treating you. The practitioner's name and professional qualifications should be visible or stated on introduction.
- The right to information regarding the scope and availability of services. This is available on our website and in our brochure available in the waiting room.
- The right to information regarding fees for service; particularly notification as to what services may involve additional charges. If outside resources are needed, there will usually be a charge.
- The right to confidentiality of your records. You have a right not to have your problem discussed in anyplace where it might be overheard by others.
As a patient, you have responsibilities.
- To provide full information about your illness or problem to allow proper evaluation and treatment.
- To ask sufficient questions to ensure appropriate comprehension of 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 Director, or office manager. If you feel you need to file a grievance about care provided at the WWU Student Health Center, contact the Director for Student Health.
- To show courtesy and respect to health care personnel and other patients.
- To keep your appointments. Please cancel or reschedule as far in advance as possible, so that the time may be given to someone else.
- To not give medication prescribed for you to others.
- To communicate with your health care provider if your condition worsens or does not follow the expected course. We will contact you if there is any unexpected result from tests.
- To fill out our anonymous satisfaction survey online after your visit to provide us feedback about how we did providing service to you.
- To pay for services billed to your student account in a timely manner.