Patient Rights and Responsibilities

Patient Rights and Responsibilities

For everyone (updated Fall 2023)

Patient Rights and Responsibilities

The staff at University Health Services (UHS) is pleased to work with you in support of your health and well-being. We would like your visits with our staff to be valuable, whether they are to learn about and maintain your health or to help you recover from illness or injury. 

We encourage you to take an active role in managing your health. We can work together most effectively if you understand what to expect from us and what we expect from you. This is a summary of your rights and responsibilities as a user of health services. If you would like more information about any of these points, please ask your provider or another UHS staff member. 


As a health care consumer, you have the right to:

  • Choice of Service Providers – Choose or change your provider from among the UHS staff of qualified health care professionals.

  • Considerate and Respectful Care – Have your individual dignity respected regardless of age, gender identity, race, ethnicity, national origin, culture, sexual orientation, class, physical ability, genetic information, position in the community, lifestyle or other personal attributes. 
  • Confidentiality and Privacy – Expect confidential treatment of all communications and records relating to you. Except as provided by law, your written permission must be obtained before information is given to anyone not directly connected with your care. Before you consent to a release of information, you may discuss what information will be released.    You have the right to receive a written “Notice of Privacy Practices” that explains how your protected health information will be used and disclosed.
  • Interpreter Service – Request the services of an interpreter if needed, at no cost to you. 
  • Know Your Fees – Be informed of fees incurred during your visit and of payment policies. 
  • Patient Attendant Service – Patient attendants are UHS staff members who accompany you during sensitive exams for comfort and support. You have the right to opt out of having a patient attendant during sensitive exams or procedures. You also have the right to request one for non-sensitive exams. 
  • Responsive Service – Expect a timely response to any reasonable requests made for service. However, you do not have the right to insist on inappropriate or medically unnecessary treatment or services. 
  • Records Access – Have access to information contained in the records within a reasonable time frame, except in certain circumstances specified by law.
  • Understanding – Be an active participant in decisions regarding your health. You have the right to understand, and to request information about, the following:
    • University Health Services policies.
    • The name and title of the person providing service to you.
    • Our assessment of your care and treatment.
    • What tests are being recommended and why.
    • The prospects for resolution of your problem, and how this problem might be prevented in the future.
    • What treatment and/or medication is recommended, its known side effects and known significant risks.
    • Alternate courses of treatment or non-treatment, and the side effects and significant risks associated with each.
    • The OpenNotes law and what it means for those you allow to access your health records electronically (e.g., your parents, spouse, or partner).  See UHS Health Records.
    • Confidential Communications (per the health code of the State of California, you may restrict what information your insurance carrier shares with the primary holder of your health insurance, for example, if you are a dependent on your spouse’s or parent’s plan).
    • Restricting the method by which your insurance carrier contacts you and/or provides information to you. See UHS Health Records.
    • Advance Directive - you may complete and add an advance directive to your health record, according to the probate code of the state of California.
    • The California End of Life Option Act (ABX2-15 (AB-15))
    • Your right to refuse participation in any research projects being conducted at UHS.
    • How to express concerns to the organization, either through UHS procedures or through campus resources.


As a health care consumer, you have the responsibility to:

  • Answer Questions Fully – To the best of your ability, provide accurate and complete information to your health care providers about any matters pertaining to your health, any medications (including over-the-counter products and dietary supplements) and any allergies or sensitivities. If it is not clear to you why certain information is relevant, please ask. 
  • Make Sure You Understand – Confirm your access needs and understanding of services discussed and provided. Ask your healthcare provider about anything that is not clear, such as a diagnosis, treatment plan, test or policy. Diagnosis and treatment are often very individualized. Your symptoms may require the practitioner to differentiate between several diagnoses, or you may have to try more than one treatment plan to resolve your problem. 
  • Be Open – Discuss how you feel about your visit -- anything from your treatment to your ability to pay fees. 
  • Follow the Agreed-Upon Treatment Plan – Advise us whether you think you can, and want to, follow the agreed-upon treatment plan. The most effective plan is the one which all participants agree is the best and which is carried out exactly. If you choose to refuse or to not comply with the instructions given to you by your healthcare provider, you will need to accept the consequences of these decisions and actions. 
  • Inform – Notify your health care provider about any living will, medical power of attorney, or other directive that could affect your care. 
  • Report Changes – Tell us about any changes in your health or adverse effects of your treatment, or if your symptoms don’t improve. Also tell us about changes in your schedule, and let us know at least 24 hours in advance if you cannot make an appointment. 
  • Know Your Health Care Providers – Try to know and remember the names of the people who serve you. We encourage continuity of care and will do our best to make this an easy task. 
  • Respect Your Fellow Patients, UHS Staff, and the Facility – Show respect for the rights and property of your fellow patients and UHS staff by according them the dignity and courtesy that you expect to receive. Be considerate of the facilities and equipment.    This includes responsibility for adhering to infection control policies and procedures with staff and within the facility.
  • Arrange Transportation – If required by your healthcare provider, provide a responsible person to transport you home from the facility and remain with you for 24 hours. 
  • Pay Your Fees – Pay fees on the day of your service or make payment arrangements with the UHS Cashier’s Office to assure your financial obligations for your health care are fulfilled.
  • Maximize Healthy Habits – Take responsibility for your health by maximizing healthy habits such as exercising, eating a healthy diet and not smoking.

Patient Rights and Responsibilities

For Berkeley Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) Members (updated Fall 2023)

Patient rights and responsibilities SHIP

If you are a member of the Berkeley Student Health Insurance Plan (Berkeley SHIP), University Health Services serves you in two ways: 

  • as your Medical Home health care provider and
  • as your health insurance plan.

All of the rights and responsibilities of UHS patients apply to students enrolled in Berkeley SHIP. In addition, with UHS as your Medical Home, you also have the following rights and responsibilities. 


As a Berkeley SHIP member, you have the right to:

  • Understand How the Plan Works – Request information, and have your questions answered, about:
    • The benefits of the Berkeley Student Health Insurance Plan.
    • The network of providers available to serve you at UHS and in the medical community.
    • How to receive access to care, both at the UHS and off-campus.
    • How to waive the plan if you have comparable major medical insurance coverage.
    • How to express grievances or provide suggestions concerning the plan.
  • Receive Appropriate Access to Health Services – Obtain authorization and payment for medically necessary services covered by the plan, including:
    • Coverage of emergency care services as specified in the plan.
    • Authorizations for visits to a specialist, based on an approved treatment plan.
    • Coverage for hospitalization as specified in the plan.
  • Receive a Written Notice of Privacy Practices – This explains how your protected health information will be used and disclosed. 


As a Berkeley SHIP member, you have the responsibility to:

  • Learn About the Plan – Become knowledgeable about the covered benefits, limitations and exclusions of the Berkeley Student Health Insurance Plan. Know and abide by the administrative and operational procedures of the plan.
  • Meet Your Financial Obligations – Make a good-faith effort to meet your financial obligations under the plan, including paying premiums (included with your registration fees) and any co-payments.
  • Be Open and Inform – Provide information relevant to your participation in the plan and use of plan benefits. If you obtain any services elsewhere, communicate with UHS and follow up to ensure your records are transferred to UHS.
  • Let Us Know How We’re Doing – Use established complaint resolution procedures to address any concerns you may have about the plan.

Patient Attendant Policy

We understand that certain exams are more sensitive than others. We want to ensure you feel safe and comfortable at your visit! 

What is a sensitive exam? 

A sensitive exam or procedure is one that involves a physical examination of genitalia, rectum, or breast. However, we respect each individual’s interpretation of what is a sensitive exam. 

Who else will be in the room during a sensitive exam or procedure?

Along with the clinician performing your exam, a patient attendant will also be present. A patient attendant is: 

  • A trained member of the UHS Medical Team 
  • There to support both the clinician and the patient and witness the clinical interaction in an objective, non-judgmental manner. 
  • In the room for the entirety of the exam. 
  • Automatically assigned to be present during the exam. 
  • Mandated by the UC Office of the President and required at all UC Medical Facilities, including Student Health Centers. 

Can I request a patient attendant of a specific gender identity? 

Yes. Please tell your rooming Medical Assistant and we will do our best to accommodate you. You have the right to reschedule your exam free of charge if we are unable to accommodate your request.

What if I don't want a patient attendant present at my exam? 

UHS follows an opt-out approach to providing patient attendants. We will provide an attendant for sensitive exams unless you state otherwise. You must actively decline having an attendant in the room for sensitive exams by telling your rooming Medical Assistant before the exam. 

Note: You are entitled to have a patient attendant present for any exam!