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Health Policies

Absence Note Policy


The Student Health Center does not provide written medical absence excuses to students for missed class, examinations, extracurricular activities, or employment*. This policy statement should not be considered verification that the student was seen at the Student Health Center.


The policy is consistent with our commitment to maintain confidentially, encourage the more appropriate use of health care resources, and support meaningful dialogue between the teacher and student. It is our belief that class attendance and other activities are an administrative matter between the student and the faculty member or employer. It is important for students to learn self-management of colds, flu, other minor illnesses, and minor injuries. On many occasions, it is very difficult for us to judge objectively whether a student is able to attend class, take an exam, or go to work. Student Health Center practitioners are proactive in educating patients on proper care for recovery, preventative measures, and balancing issues related to illness, contagiousness, and school demands. We feel this is a more valuable use of medical staff time as opposed to writing absence notes.

*In the event that a student is under our direct care due to an illness or accident requiring significant restriction in activity for an extended period, Academics and/or the Office of Student Accessibility may be contacted to facilitate longer term accommodations, with the student's permission. This remains at the discretion of a qualified healthcare professional.

The Student Health Center provides its services according to professional standards set forth in the Patient Rights statement and Privacy Policy.

Patient Rights

Patient Rights Confidentiality

The Student Health Center regards all medically-related information about you to be highly confidential. Your permission must be obtained before we may give information to anyone not directly connected with your care. This applies to your parents and University officials. Exceptions required by law include reporting certain communicable diseases, threats of suicide or homicide, suspected abuse of children or elderly persons, and information needed to process bills/claims. For more information, see the Privacy Policy (Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act, HIPAA).


The medical record is the property of the Student Health Center (SHC). As outlined by the laws of California, you have the right to review your medical record with your clinician or designee and have a copy thereof if you so desire. For more information, see the Privacy Policy.


You are expected to be an active participant in decisions regarding your health. You have the right to know and understand:

  • Our assessment of your problem
  • What tests are being done and why
  • The risks of any tests or treatments
  • Alternatives, if any, and their risks
  • The prospects for resolution of your problem
  • The charges for your care
  • The names, training levels, and credentials of SHC staff
  • You may have access to other medical opinions before making treatment decisions
  • You have the right to receive medical attention within a reasonable time period
  • You also have the right to expect pleasant and courteous service

As a consumer of the SHC's services, you have the following responsibilities and rights:

  • Recognize that your health is a shared responsibility
  • Be honest and direct in a courteous fashion about everything relating to your health care needs
  • Provide complete and accurate information regarding your health history, medications, including over-the-counter products and dietary products, and any allergies or sensitivities to medications
  • Be sure you understand your health situation; if not, ask
  • Follow the prescribed plan; it is your responsibility to advise us if you cannot or will not follow the plan
  • Report any changes in your health status
  • Return to the SHC if your symptoms worsen or do not improve
  • Be on time for your appointments
  • Call the SHC if you cannot keep a scheduled appointment so another student can be scheduled at that time
  • Inform the SHC of change of address, phone number, or enrollment status
  • Respond to clinicians and staff with respect and consideration
  • You have the right to request to change your clinician if another qualified clinician is available

We are here to help you. As a patient, you also have the right and responsibility to provide comments and/or express concerns about the SHC system and/or its referral facilities and practitioners. There is a suggestion box in the waiting room. The Director of the SHC reviews all comments with guidance as needed from the Student Wellness Advisory Board (SWAB).

Privacy Policy

This is a summary of the Student Health Center's notice of privacy practices and describes how we may use and disclose your protected health information and how you can access that information. For a complete, detailed account of the notice of privacy practices, please refer to Pepperdine University's Notice of Privacy Practices.

What is "HIPAA?"

This Notice of Privacy Practices is provided to you as a requirement of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). It describes how we may use or disclose your protected health information, with whom that information may be shared, and the safeguards we have in place to protect it. This notice also describes your rights to access and amend your protected health information. You have the right to approve or refuse the release of specific PHI outside of our system except when the release is required or authorized by law or regulation.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has developed an array of new tools to educate consumers and health care professionals about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules.

Many consumers are unfamiliar with their rights under the HIPAA Privacy Rule. With that in mind, OCR has posted a series of factsheets, also available in eight languages, to inform consumers about their rights under the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

What is "PHI?"

Protected Health Information (PHI) is all the information regarding your health care at the Student Health Center, health care information given to the Student Health Center at your request by other clinicians, and health care billing information. Generally, it is the information in your medical record. The Student Health Center is required by law to maintain the privacy of all Protected Health Information, to provide you with notice of our legal duties and practices, and to abide by the terms of this Privacy Notice, and will provide clients with a copy of the revised notice.

  1. Protected Health Information is a record of the health care you receive, including billing information. For example, an X-ray may be needed to diagnose your problem, and your health care clinician and a radiologist may then view that X-ray. Your clinician may then direct the nurse to give you medicine for your problem. Then you have the option to pay the full amount or to have your student account billed. A receipt will be given to you in order for you to send it to your insurance company for reimbursement.
  2. Under limited circumstances, the Student Health Center may use or disclose your Protected Health Information without your consent. These include:
    1. Diseases that must, according to state law, be reported to the public health department (examples include tuberculosis, some sexually transmitted diseases, and anthrax).
    2. Emergency situations in which you are unable to give consent, and your clinician attempts to get consent as soon as it is reasonably practicable after the delivery of care.
    3. Your clinician cannot get consent due to substantial barriers in communication, and the clinician determines that your consent is inferred from the circumstances.
    4. The clinician has tried but is unable to get your consent.
    5. Review by the Student Health Center for internal quality assessment, or by an accrediting body, such as the Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Health Care.
    6. There is mutual consent between the Student Health Center and the Athletics Department. In the case of a Pepperdine student-athlete, the team physician is always advised.
  3. If other applicable law prohibits or limits the use or disclosure of your Protected Health Information, the Student Health Center follows the more stringent law (i.e., a subpoena).
  4. Any use or disclosure other than those described above is done only after you give your consent. You may cancel your consent at any time by notifying the Student Health Center in writing.
  5. Protected Health Information disclosed at your request by the Student Health Center to another clinician can be disclosed by them without the knowledge of the Student Health Center.

You have the right:

  • to request restrictions on certain uses and disclosures of your Protected Health Information
  • to receive confidential communications of your Protected Health Information
  • to inspect and be provided a copy of your Protected Health Information, unless this might be harmful to you or to others
  • to request an amendment of your Protected Health Information
  • to receive an accounting of disclosures of Protected Health Information
  • to obtain a paper copy of this Privacy Notice
  • to complain to the University or the US Health and Human Services Secretary, if you believe your privacy rights have been violated

If you wish to file a complaint, contact the University's Privacy Official at 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90263. There will be no retaliation of any kind against you for filing such a complaint.