August 18, 2015

Wyden, Bonamici Encourage Input on Dept. of Ed. Draft Guidance on Student Medical Records

Oregon lawmakers call on privacy experts, higher education community to ensure the protection of student privacy

Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (both D-Ore.) today issued the following statements after the U.S. Department of Education issued draft guidance regarding the treatment of student medical records on college campuses nationwide:

“The Education Department today took an encouraging step toward protecting the privacy of student medical records on college campuses,” Wyden said. “Now, it’s critical that privacy experts and the higher education community weigh in on the draft guidance to make sure colleges and universities are held to the highest possible standard when it comes to protecting student privacy. I look forward to reading the comments submitted to the department and will continue to look for ways to ensure that college students in Oregon and across the country know they can safely use on-campus mental health services and trust that those records will be protected appropriately.”

“Protecting the safety and privacy of students on college campuses is critical and, as a member of the House Committee in Education and the Workforce, something I take very seriously,” Bonamici said. “The announcement today from the Department of Education is a positive step toward greater accountability and transparency for students. I am pleased to see the department take action to address the potential loophole that could allow a student’s personal medical information to be accessed. All students deserve to be and feel safe at school. The draft guidance acknowledges that personal information should stay private with very few, well-defined exceptions. I look forward to continuing to work with the Department to protect the privacy of students, especially those who seek care on campus."

Earlier this year, Wyden and Bonamici asked the Department of Education to clarify the privacy protections for students on college and university campuses regarding access to their medical treatment records.

Read about the draft guidance from the Education Department here.