The Student Wellness Centre provides care for registered students of McMaster University.
We believe that the best counselling and health care are provided in an atmosphere that respects privacy and assures confidentiality. Any information you share with your health care providers or other Student Wellness Centre (SWC) staff will be held in the strictest of confidence.
Ontario has a law that protects your personal health information, the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA.) The SWC is in compliance with this legislation. SWC staff is bound as a condition of employment, and by law and ethics, to safeguard your privacy and the confidentiality of your personal information.
- only collect the information that may be necessary for your care;
- keep accurate and up-to-date records;
- safeguard the records in our possession;
- share general information or impressions with other SWC health care providers involved in your care;
- disclose information to third parties only with your signed consent or where legally required;
- retain and destroy records in accordance with the law.
You have the right to see and to obtain copies of your records. Please see our brochure and Privacy Statement for more details.
No information will be released by us to anyone without your signed consent except in accordance with provincial legislation. You should be aware of the following situations in which your personal information may be disclosed to persons outside SWC without your consent.
- We are required by law to report to the appropriate authorities any suspicions that a child (someone presently under age 16) has been or is being abused.
- If you are in serious and imminent danger of hurting yourself or someone else, we may need to reveal to an appropriate third party enough information to help you and to protect others (e.g. health care providers, ambulance, police or security, family, etc.).
- We are required by law to report any suspected instances of sexual contact by a regulated health care provider.
- If you are involved in a legal proceeding, the court may subpoena our records.
Otherwise, family, friends, or other third parties, University officials and faculty will not have access to information from the SWC about you, or about whether or not you have used our services.
The SWC will not contact you regarding investigations, including lab results, which are normal. We will contact you regarding any significant abnormal results.
Missing Health Insurance Billing Information (for medical appointments only)
If you are seen at SWC and have not presented accurate health insurance billing information, you will be sent an invoice for payment for your visit. If you subsequently provide a health insurance number, which entitled you to coverage at the time of your visit, the invoice will be cancelled. Failure to either provide a valid insurance number, or pay the invoice, will lead to a fine applied to your student account.
McMaster University prioritizes research. Students may be approached to participate in research and have the right to refuse. This will not in any way impact the care provided at the SWC.
We require at least 12 hours prior notice to cancel an appointment. Failure to attend an appointment without providing adequate notice of cancellation will result in a fee being charged, to a maximum of $100.00 per visit, depending on the length of time the appointment was booked. If you feel that you have been charged a “no show” fee in error, please submit this, in writing to the Director of the Student Wellness Centre. Your grades will not be released at the end of the academic year until all fees are paid. The Student Wellness Centre does attempt to remind students of appointments booked for 20 minutes or longer. You will receive a text message to your phone 48 hours prior to such an appointment. Not having received such a reminder is not a sufficient excuse for failing to attend a booked appointment.
The non-medical use or abuse of prescription drugs is a serious and growing public health problem affecting both individuals and their communities.
Controlled substances, those most likely to be misused, include those with psychoactive properties such as opioids (codeine, oxycodone), stimulants (medications for ADHD such as methylphenidate and dextroamphetamines), and anxiolytics (i.e. Ativan/lorazepam).
These medications may be carefully prescribed for legitimate reasons however physicians also have a responsibility to try to reduce their inappropriate use.
The practice at the Student Wellness Centre when prescription for a controlled substance is being considered includes:
- Obtaining confirmation of a diagnosis, from a provider with the expertise to make that diagnosis, which warrants treatment with that medication, e.g. psychiatric or psychologist assessment confirming a diagnosis of ADHD.
- Conducting a thorough assessment to reach diagnosis, if confirmation from a previous provider is not available or adequate.
- Screening for current and past alcohol or drug misuse
- A treatment contract between the patient and prescriber which may include agreement to
- take the medication only as prescribed
- protect the medication from being lost or stolen
- not give, lend or sell the medication to others
- not provide early refills in the event that medication is lost, stolen or ruined
- refrain from using substances, other than those prescribed
- random urine drug testing
- obtain prescriptions for the medication only from the Student Wellness Centre physician, unless specifically agreed with the physician when the student is away from campus for placement or holidays
- use a single pharmacy to obtain their medication
Collaborative efforts by all members of the McMaster community will reduce the negative impact of the inappropriate use of these controlled substances.
The Counsellors of the Student Wellness Centre welcome your contact. We also value your privacy and time, and therefore, offer the following information to help you decide on the best method for reaching us. We take your time and confidentiality very seriously and we want you to understand the limitations of the use of email.
Please note: The physicians and nurses do not use email to communicate with you.
While we will do our best to keep your communications private, we cannot guarantee that your email will remain confidential. There are many ways that an email message can be intercepted. If you are concerned in any way about your email being read by someone other than the person you are contacting, please consider other methods of reaching us.
We do not provide counselling via email or any other form of on-line communication.
Responding to your Email
When we respond to your email, we will reply to the address from which it was sent. We encourage you to use your McMaster email address when contacting our office, as it is more secure. If you have concerns about others having access to your email, please think about reaching us by telephone or booking an appointment.
We try to check our email regularly. However, if you send us an email, we may not read or respond to it immediately for a variety of reasons, which may not be obvious. We may be on vacation, experiencing an illness, or having problems with our network. If you need a timely response, please telephone us or drop by the office.
We hope that these guidelines are helpful to you as you decide how best to reach our counsellors. We take your time and confidentiality very seriously and therefore consider it imperative that you understand the limitations of our use of technology.
July 4, 2018
If you are no longer a patient of the Student Wellness Centre and you would like your medical and/or counselling records transferred to another care provider, please send us your request by:
- Downloading and filling out the Transfer of Medical Records & Counselling Records form. A Student Wellness Centre physician and/or counsellor will review the written request prior to sending the records and may contact you if further information is needed.
- For medical AND counselling records, be sure to fill out both sections of the form.
- A fee of $30 may be charged for such requests.
- Drop off the form to the Student Wellness Centre reception staff or fax it in to 905-546-0805.
- We do not accept the Transfer of Medical Records & Counselling Records form by email.
- Legal chart requests must come directly from the law office that you are working with.
- You may pick your records up from the reception staff when they are ready, or we may fax or mail them to your new health care provider. Please advise on your Transfer of Medical Records & Counselling Records form if you would like them faxed or mailed, or if you will collect them.
- Large charts should be collected in person when possible.
The purpose of this policy is to define the limitations upon the use of cameras (including cell phone cameras), video recorders, audio recorders or any other type of equipment or devices used to capture or record visual and/or audio media and to ensure that the use of such devices does not compromise the integrity of Protected Health Information (PHI), proprietary information, individual rights to privacy, quality of patient care and the efficient operations of the Student Wellness Centre (SWC), McMaster University.
Camera or Audio/Video Recording Device – Any device that can capture and/or record visual images or audible conversations, such as but not limited to cameras, cell phone cameras, smart phones, computers, camcorders, video recorders and audio recorders.
Employee – Any individual employed directly by McMaster University, or any individual assigned to work for McMaster University.
Guest/Visitor/Student – Any individual who does not meet the definition of “Employee” above.
- Any use of a camera or audio/video recording device to record an image and/or sound recording of a student, visitor, or employee is prohibited, unless specific written permission from the student, visitor or employee has been obtained in advance. Any use of a camera or audio/video recording device that may intentionally or unintentionally pick up the image and/or sound recordings of another student, visitor or employee is prohibited.
- Any use of a camera or audio/video recording device by employees, vendors, consultants, contractors and observers in and around all clinical settings is prohibited unless specifically authorized in advance for the purpose of carrying out a specific job function. Student Wellness Centre employees have a responsibility to see that this prohibition is followed by vendors, consultants, contractors and observers for whom the employee has responsibility and/or oversight
- Permission to use a camera or audio/video recording device must be obtained from the Director or Nurse Manager in advance to photograph or videotape non-clinical events. Such requests may be approved if the requested activity will not disrupt business operations, create safety concerns or compromise the privacy of students, visitors or employees.
- Using a camera or audio/video recording device for clinical encounters between students and physicians must be discussed in advance and both parties must consent to the recording. The SWC strongly recommend that clinical encounters are not recorded to protect the privacy of the student and physician unless there are exceptional circumstances e.g. need to communicate health care information to care giver or family member.
- Audio/video recordings will not be permitted without the knowledge of the physician or student. The physician and student can decline being recorded at any time before, or during a clinical encounter.
- Audio/video recordings that are made at the time of the clinical encounter are considered to be part of the medical chart and both the student and the SWC should have a copy.
- Audio/video recordings will not be permitted in any public area e.g. waiting areas within the SWC unless consent has been granted by the Director or Nurse Manager of the SWC.
- Violations of this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
As with any policy, management employees are expected to serve as role models for proper compliance with the provisions above and encouraged to regularly remind employees of their responsibilities in complying with this policy. Employees are expected to obtain proper authorization prior to any use of such recording devices on the premises and to report any violations of this policy to their immediate supervisor. Employees who have visitors in the Student Wellness Centre are responsible for ensuring that the visitors are made aware of and adhere to this policy.