Consent to treatment and notice of privacy practices

Funding of services

The Decker Student Health Services Center and University Counseling Center are funded by the student health fee.  Therefore, visits to see caregivers at either Center are free of charge for registered students. Some items, such as vaccines and some medications, are available for a charge. A list of these items and their cost is available by request. Students will be notified of any items' charge before they are dispensed.  Once the item is accepted, a charge will be entered into the campus billing system and the student will make the payment at Student Accounts.

Availability and type of services at DSHSC

General medical care is available at the Decker Student Health Services (DSHSC) with nurse practitioners and physicians. The DSHSC is staffed by a highly qualified clerical, technical, nursing and medical providers. Our medical providers are primary care providers (family physicians, internists, family nurse practitioners). At times, the providers at the DSHSC help to train graduate student nurse practitioners.  Appointments at the DSHSC may involve one of these student nurse practitioners and you will be informed if one of them is working during your visit. You will be able to opt out of having them involved in your care. Our providers are skilled in diagnosing and treating the medical and mental health difficulties which commonly affect students. Many of our providers are also certified by their medical specialty boards.

DSHSC also provides psychiatric services. We encourage students to maintain connections with their home providers and to see those providers over breaks for continued care.  We can provide private space for students wishing to engage in tele-health services with home providers for uninterrupted care from home.  If a student does not have an established home provider, we offer psychiatric evaluation and management at an out-patient level of care. For chronic and recurring conditions requiring longer term interventions, we refer students to engage in off-campus specialty services and aid in the referral process. Psychiatric services are provided by our psychiatrist, medical residents, nurse practitioners, and student psychiatric nurse practitioners. This service offers medication treatment within a collaborative care model after students are established in counseling services, either on or off campus.  Before a student’s first appointment, they will participate in a brief phone triage process to assess their needs and ensure referral to appropriate services.    

For more staff information please see the Decker Student Health Services Center web page

Availability and type of services at the University Counseling Center (UCC)

The University Counseling Center (UCC) provides free counseling and/or referral services, available for all currently enrolled students. We provide individual counseling in-person and via telemental health. Initial meetings are 30-50 minutes and ongoing individual meetings are about 45-50 minutes in length. Other services include consultation, referral, group counseling, and a variety of outreach and programming activities. The UCC operates within a brief treatment model. While we are able to be helpful with a wide variety of the problems that college students present, some problems call for more specialized, long-term, or intensive treatment. In such cases we will help students find a professional off campus who can provide the appropriate service. The UCC does not offer mandated counseling and does not offer court-ordered assessment or treatment.

What “counseling” is

Counseling is the process of talking to a professional about your thoughts, feelings, behavior, problems, experiences, relationships, or whatever else is on your mind.  Your counselor will also help you to set and achieve goals related to your presenting concerns.  Counselors are nonjudgmental and accepting.  In addition to listening and asking questions, counselors also give education and feedback, suggest strategies, and work collaboratively to achieve student goals.

The first counseling appointment

The purpose of your initial meeting with a counselor is to determine how, and by whom, you can best be helped. The meeting involves assessing various aspects of the problem (for example, when it started, how intense it is, and what solutions you’ve already tried.)  Counselors will treat you as a whole person, so they may ask about other areas of your life beyond your specific problem.  At the end of the appointment you and your counselor will discuss a plan for followup.  When possible in that first meeting, the counselor may also recommend some steps you can take or self-help materials you can access.

The UCC is staffed by highly qualified counselors, including social workers and psychologists and licensed mental health counselors, who are sensitive to the many issues affecting students today. Staff members are friendly and down to earth, and help students to feel comfortable with the counseling process. Most staff members are generalists: that is, they are knowledgeable about a variety of psychological issues (much like a primary care doctor). In addition, counselors may have areas of particular interest or specialty. 

In addition to the senior counseling staff, the UCC has graduate interns in social work and clinical psychology who provide counseling services to our students. These are advanced graduate students who are supervised by a licensed UCC staff member.  Based on your schedule availability, we may look to match you with a graduate intern for your initial meeting to discuss care options and possibly ongoing meetings. You will be informed of this when you are offered an appointment and you have the option to decline and meet instead with a UCC senior staff member.

For more staff information please see the UCC staff webpage.


All student contacts with the University Counseling Center and/or Decker Student Health Services Center are confidential to protect your privacy in accordance with New York State law and the ethical standards of counseling, medical, and psychiatry care and relevant professional organizations. Confidentiality means the staff does not communicate the fact that you have utilized services, nor the subject matter of any visits, to anyone outside of the Counseling Center and/or Decker Student Health Services without your written permission. However, there are several legally mandated exceptions to therapist-client, clinician-patient, and psychiatrist-client confidentiality. These include situations in which the student may be a danger to themselves or others, if there is suspected neglect or abuse of a child, if there is suspected abuse or neglect of an elder receiving care or services in a residential health care facility, or when records are subpoenaed by a court of law. Additionally, the NY SAFE Act requires practitioners to alert authorities if a person is likely to engage in conduct that will result in serious harm to themselves or others. This law is designed to limit a suicidal or homicidal person’s access to firearms. These situations do not come up often, but if one of these situations applied to you, your caregiver would discuss it with you. Other than the above exceptions, written authorization will be obtained from you before disclosure of confidential information. In addition, your caregiver may consult with another caregiver here or with providers at Health Services, which is part of the same department as the Counseling Center.

Consultation/supervision is a standard component of professional practice and is for the purpose of providing you with the highest quality service. You have the right to review the University Counseling Center or Decker Student Health Services privacy policies. You may also request a review of your records, as well as request amendments to your record. Such requests should be made in writing to the Clinical Director of University Counseling Services, the Medical Director of Decker Student Health Services, the Clinical Director of Psychiatry Services, or the Director of Health and Counseling.


Mental health emergency

If you are experiencing an emergency and need counseling during business hours, we will arrange a same-day appointment or, if needed, work with you to get you in as quickly as possible.  If you have an emergency and we are not open, you may call the Binghamton General Crisis Hotline toll free at 607-762-2302, Binghamton University Police at 607-777-2393, or off-campus police by dialing 911. The Crisis Hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. An “emergency” is defined by you, but can include feeling suicidal or homicidal, feeling very disoriented, or having unusual or disturbing thoughts (hearing voices or seeing things other people cannot hear or see).  For urgent concerns that are not life threatening, see below. 

Medical emergency

Harpur’s Ferry, a student-run ambulance service, provides emergency medical care and transportation 24 hours a day when classes are in session. The ambulance is staffed by certified emergency medical technicians, advanced EMTs and personnel certified in advanced first aid.  Students on and off campus are eligible for this free service by calling 607-777-3333.

After-hours non-emergency 

Mental health — after hours

If you have a mental health-related issue that is not life-threatening and requires attention or consultation after business hours, you may contact the UCC's after-hours counselor at 607-777-2772 + press 2

Medical care

If you need urgent (but not emergent) care when the Decker Student Health Services Center is closed, you may want to visit one of the urgent care facilities in the area (cost for care at these locations is your responsibility). 


When you make an appointment, the time is reserved especially for you. If you cannot keep your appointment, please call as early as possible to tell us so that we can make the time available to another student. If you miss an appointment, and you want care to continue, you may still call to schedule another appointment. If you have a pattern of missed appointments, this pattern will be discussed with you. If missed appointments then continue, the Counseling Center and/or Decker Student Health Services may suspend or terminate services here, and provide you with alternative treatment options elsewhere.


Mental health appointments

Initial appointment scheduling is typically done through the University Counseling Center Secretary, and ongoing appointments are typically done through the individual counselor. You can phone 607-777-2772.  Students are asked to make their own appointments. Wait time for initial appointments may vary depending on times of the semester. If your circumstance is urgent or an emergency, we will make an effort to get you in quickly.

Medical appointments

Medical appointments may be made online through our patient portal or by calling 607-777-2221.

Psychiatric appointments

The initial psychiatric appointment scheduling is done by our psychiatric nurse and ongoing appointments are typically done at the time of your visit. You may change your appointment by calling our psychiatric nurse at 607-777-3711. 


University Counseling Center

Regular hours are 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Decker Student Health Services Center

Regular hours are 8 a.m.–4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Summer and holiday hours

Summer and holiday hours fo both the UCC and Decker Student Health Services Center are from 8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday

Health insurance

Because our services are free, neither University Counseling Center Services nor Decker Student Health Services bill any insurance company. However, it is important for students to have health insurance coverage to pay for services that are not covered by the health fee. This includes things such as ER visits, laboratory testing, radiology services, and referral to off-campus specialists or counselors. Students are strongly advised to become familiar with their health insurance coverage and its reimbursement procedures as it applies to off-campus services.

We welcome diversity

The Binghamton University Counseling Center and Decker Student Health Services Center are committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for everyone who visits us. We believe diversity enlivens and enriches our community. The range of diversity we value includes, but is not limited to:  ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, gender, physical or mental ability, socio-economic status, spirituality or religion, size, appearance, and age. We extend a particular welcome to students who may be experiencing discrimination on the basis of their differences.  We strive to treat all students with equal respect and dignity. We are also committed to taking part in activities and discussions that will help us continue to grow in our understanding of diversity.

Aggregate data collection

The UCC and Decker Student Health Services Center collect student data and conducts surveys to improve the services we provide. When we publish data, it is grouped together in “aggregate” form, meaning that only overall numbers are presented (for example, total % of students reporting depressed mood). We never publish individual data.

Question, concerns or complaints

We want you to be satisfied with your counseling and medical care while you are here.  You have the right to quality services delivered professionally and respectfully.  If you have concerns about privacy, services, your caregiver, or how you are being helped, please tell us.  We want, expect and need your feedback. If you want to see a different counselor or medical provider, you may request that.

You may also address your counseling concerns by contacting the Director of Health and Counseling, or the Clinical Director of the Counseling Center, at 607-777-2772.  For concerns related to medical or psychiatric care, please contact the Medical Director at 607-777-2221.  

If you feel the issue is not resolved, you may appeal to the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at 607-777-4797.  Complaints may also be registered at the U.S. Office of Civil Rights N.Y. Office at 1-800-368-1019; TDD:1-800-537-7697.

In-person services

We offer in-person services based on current guidance from local public health advisory groups and the CDC. As conditions change we will respond using the most up-to-date guidance from local, state and national public health offices. For current information and recommendations regarding safety practices related to the spread of COVID-19, visit the CDC guidance or Broome County website

Potential risk of opting for in-person services

As a patient choosing in-person services, you understand that by coming to the office you are assuming any risk of exposure to the coronavirus (or other public health risk). You agree to follow guidelines as outlined below to reduce exposure.

Your responsibility to reduce your exposure

When obtaining services in person, you agree to take certain precautions which will help keep everyone safe. If you do not adhere to these safeguards, we may ask you to receive services through a telehealth arrangement.

  • Adhere to masking guidance as indicated by the University and/or specific signage in the area where you are receiving service. 
  • If you are unvaccinated, keep a distance of six feet and do not make physical contact (e.g. shaking hands).
  • Notify your counselor, provider or front desk staff prior to your appointment if you have COVID or COVID-like symptoms (see CDC guidance). An arrangement for telehealth may be utilized. 
  • If you show up to the office for in-person services and indicate that you have a fever or other symptoms, or are unvaccinated and state you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you will be asked to leave the office immediately and perform a COVID test. 

Telemental health services

What is telemental health?

Telemental health (TMH) refers to services that occur via phone or video conference using a variety of technologies. TMH may be offered to improve access of services to Binghamton University students when significant barriers to in-person service exist. However, the results of TMH cannot be guaranteed or assured.  

What are my rights in regards to telemental health?

You are not required to use TMH. You have the right to request assistance with accessing other service options which may not be with Health and Counseling. You can withdraw this consent at any time without affecting your right to future care or treatment in Health and Counseling Services. The laws that protect the confidentiality of your personal information in a face-to-face mental health setting also apply to TMH. Please refer to the section on confidentiality in the standard informed consent below.

When is telemental health appropriate?

TMH services are provided to offer the following anticipated benefits: 

  • Increased access to care (e.g. when access to care is limited due to disabilities, transportation issues, weather, illness or emergencies)
  • Effective care which is supported by a growing body of literature
  • Convenience regarding scheduling, travel time, etc.
  • Cost savings (e.g. TMH may reduce travel costs, childcare needs, time off work)
  • Reduced perceived stigma
  • Social justice, since removal of barriers can create more equitable access for students 

TMH services may not be appropriate, or the best choice of service for reasons including, but not limited to:

  • Heightened risk of harm to oneself or others
  • Lack of access to, or difficulty with, communications technology
  • Significant communications service disruptions
  • Need for more intensive services, consistent with the Health & Counseling scope of service.

In these cases, Health & Counseling has the right to decline services, and will help you establish referrals to other appropriate services. Coordination of care in the time of a pandemic is a consideration.


Services may not be offered to you if you have experienced any of the following.  Health & Counseling staff will make this determination individually and will discuss options with you in these situations: 

  • Recent suicide attempt(s), psychiatric hospitalization, or psychotic processing (last 3 years);
  • Moderate to severe major depression or bipolar disorder symptoms
  • Moderate to severe alcohol or drug abuse
  • Severe eating disorders  
  • Repeated “acute” crises (e.g., occurring once a month or more frequently)

Disclosure of potential telemental health risks

TMH services are conducted and documented in a confidential manner according to applicable laws in similar ways as in-person services. There are, however, additional risks including: 

  • Sessions could be disrupted, delayed, or communications distorted due to technical failures.
  • TMH involves alternative forms of communication that may reduce visual and auditory cues and increase the likelihood of misunderstanding one another.  
  • TMH is still being researched to determine its full effectiveness, and more research is needed.
  • Your provider may determine TMH is not an appropriate treatment option or stop TMH treatment at any time if your condition changes or TMH presents barriers to treatment.  
  • In rare cases security protocols could fail and your confidential information could be accessed by unauthorized persons.  

Telemental health policies and procedures to reduce risk

Health and Counseling works to reduce these risks by using Zoom secure video conferencing software and these policies and procedures: 

  • You may only engage in sessions when you are physically in New York State. Your provider will confirm your location at each session.  
  • You and your provider will engage in sessions only from a private location where you will not be overheard or interrupted. Health and Counseling Services provide spaces on campus for private telehealth sessions.
  • You will use your own computer or device which you will ensure has updated operating and anti-virus software.  
  • You will not record any sessions, nor will Health and Counseling staff record your sessions without your written consent.  

Should there be technical problems with video conferencing, the backup plan is contact by phone. Make sure that your provider has a correct phone number at which you can be reached, and have your phone with you at session times. If you are unable to connect, or get disconnected, please try to connect again. If problems continue, call the office or send a secure message to your provider via the online student health portal. If we believe you are in crisis and we are unable to contact you, we may call your emergency contact or local emergency services providers. 

In some limited circumstances, or to preserve continuity of care, sessions by phone may be arranged. Please be aware that phone communication may not be secure. If you have concerns about phone sessions, please discuss these with your provider. 

What is the role of collaborators?

Your consent to TMH includes the identification of a local collaborator that can be reached by your provider if there is any concern for your physical and/or emotional well-being. Such collaborators may be called upon to contact you or to alert local authorities in an emergency situation. At each TMH session, you will identify a collaborator and their contact information. If you show signs of deterioration that indicate you may be in danger, you grant staff permission to contact your collaborator(s) to verify your well-being. If you show indicators that you may be at serious risk for harm to self or others, you understand that the provider is required to contact campus staff and/or local emergency response personnel to ensure your safety. 

Telemental health emergencies

You acknowledge and agree that TMH is not appropriate for emergencies and mental health crises. These include: 

  • Thoughts of hurting or killing yourself or another person
  • Hallucinations
  • Being in a life threatening situation or emergency of any kind
  • Having uncontrollable emotional reactions
  • Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs

The UCC does offer urgent services for time-sensitive issues that are troubling but may refer to other resources at the level of the emergencies described above.  Health and Counseling will refer to a higher level of care as needed, such as if you present experiences like the ones bulleted above that are determined to be emergent.

You understand that your provider is available on a limited basis for contact between scheduled sessions. If you are in an emergency or crisis situation (such as those listed above), you should immediately call 911 or seek help from a hospital or crisis-oriented health care facility in your immediate area. If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide without a clear commitment to safety, you are to contact one of the following resources:

  • If on campus, call University Police at 607-777-2222. 
  • If in the Binghamton area, call the Crisis Center at 607-762-2302
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255
  • Contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741
  • Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room

Consent to telemental health services

To better serve the needs of our students, Binghamton University has made the Services available via two-way interactive audio and video communications and in order to use the Services you understand, agree to, and consent to the above sections and the following information:

  • Binghamton University Telemental Health is not for emergency medical needs. If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911 immediately.
  • You will provide accurate, complete and truthful information to the provider(s). 
  • You agree to have your collaborator contacted in the event of concern for your safety and well-being. You also agree to contact your collaborator yourself if your condition worsens and you need support or need assistance in connecting to emergency services.
  • You have voluntarily chosen to be seen via TMH as opposed to a traditional, face-to-face visit. 
  • If you experience difficulty using the Service, you should contact your provider or your collaborator.    
  • The provider will keep an electronic record of the consultation in the Health and Counseling Electronic Health Record.   
  • Participation in TMH is voluntary. You have the right to: (A) refuse the TMH session or stop participation at any time without jeopardizing your right to future care; (B) limit the examination during the consultation; and/or (C) ask questions about the Service provided. 
  • You acknowledge that the nature and purpose of TMH have been explained to your satisfaction. 
  • You acknowledge and understand that there are certain risks, limitations, and potential benefits involved in TMH.  You voluntarily assume them in the hopes of obtaining the desired beneficial results. 
  • You agree that you are solely responsible for securing and maintaining in good working order, free from malware, the necessary equipment, connectivity, applications you may require, in order to use this Service. 
  • You represent that you are using your own equipment to communicate, and specifically not using your employer’s computer or network. You are aware that any information you enter into an employer’s computer can be considered by the courts to belong to your employer and your privacy may thus be compromised.