FAQ: Patient Rights and Privacy

Will my visit be kept confidential?

Yes. MIT Health employees must adhere to the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and to MIT Health’s own privacy policy, which provides for strict protection of your health information. 

What can I do if I’m not satisfied with care I received from MIT Health or have concerns about my care?

Whenever possible, speak directly with the people involved in your care. If you prefer to speak with a third party, contact the patient relations coordinator at 617-253-4976 or patientrelations@med.mit.edu. You will be contacted within one business day of your call or email for a follow-up conversation. 

What is the role of the patient relations coordinator?

The patient relations coordinatorhelps patients resolve concerns about their care at MIT Health. The patient relations coordinator will listen to any concerns you have and help you explore possible resolutions. Your interactions with the patient relations coordinator are protected by the same confidentiality rules that protect your medical record and clinical appointments. 

Who is informed when I contact the patient relations coordinator?

Your interaction with the patient relations coordinator is confidential. In terms of privacy, it is treated just like an appointment with a care provider.

I’m an MIT undergraduate. What happens if I get drunk or high and have to go to the hospital? Will the police or my parents find out?

No. No one will call your parents unless your condition is very serious or unless you’re incapable of making decisions about your care. Even if the campus police show up, they are generally more concerned about your health and safety than about putting you in jail. A hospital visit will, however, show up on an insurance billing statement. 

If I use MIT Health’s Student Mental Health & Counseling Services, will my current or future employers have access to those records?

No, not unless you request a copy and give it to them or sign a release allowing them to access your record. Mental health records cannot be released unless you give your permission or unless the law requires their release (e.g., if they have been subpoenaed). For more information, see “Confidentiality, Medical Records, and Employment.” 

Will my parents or teachers find out if I’m sick or in the hospital?

No. MIT Health will not contact your family unless your condition is life threatening or unless you’re incapable of making your own healthcare decisions. If you are ill enough to require hospitalization, the dean on call may be told only that you are not a missing person (to prevent people from sending the police to look for you).

If you need to make adjustments to your academic workload for medical reasons, contact:

Undergraduate Students: Student Support Services: s3-support@mit.edu 

Graduate Students: Office of the Dean for Graduate Education, gradsupport@mit.edu