About your visit
Recommendations for Your Visit
- Keep a written list of all of your symptoms and problems.
- Document your health history (current medications, allergies, past illnesses, past medical treatments and family health conditions).
- Ask questions about your diagnosis. Be sure you understand what the doctor says. Ask for an explanation of any terms you do not understand.
- Be sure you know the instructions for any medication, whether a generic version of the drug is available and what the possible side effects are.
- Ask what treatment you should follow, including medical treatment and dietary and lifestyle changes.
- If you need tests, ask how much the tests cost and whether your insurance will cover them.
- Learn how often you should have these tests and whether they will be scheduled and performed in the physician’s office.
- Ask how to prepare for any tests you may need.
- Take note of when and how you will receive the test results. If a follow-up visit is needed, ask when it should be scheduled.
Ask about Fees and Insurance
- What will today’s office visit cost me?
- What fees will be charged for other services in addition to the clinic visit fee?
- What is covered by my health insurance?
Patient Rights and Responsibilities
UT Physicians respects your rights as a patient and recognizes that you are an individual with unique health care needs. We want you to know what your rights are as a patient, as well as what your obligations are to yourself, to your health care providers and to UT Physicians.
We encourage a partnership between you and your health care team. Your role as a member of this team is to exercise your rights and to take responsibility by asking for clarification of things you do not understand.
You have the right to:
- Be informed of your medical condition and treatment plan.
- Make decisions regarding your care.
- Confidentiality within the limits of the law.
- Participate in decisions regarding your care.
- Refuse medical treatments.
- Privacy of your health consultations and records.
- Know the cost of care.
- Voluntarily participate in clinical research.
- Dignity in your interactions with UT Physicians doctors and staff.
- Access to care regardless of your age, race, sex, national origin, cultural values, sexual orientation, religion, disability or financial status.
You have the right to expect all who are involved in your care to:
- Communicate completely and honestly with you.
- Identify themselves by name and title.
- Teach you how to participate in your care, in and out of the UT Physicians offices.
- Explain your condition, all procedures, treatments (including risks and benefits) prognosis and alternatives before you sign a consent form.
You are expected to:
- Follow the treatment plan … if you refuse treatment or fail to follow the directions of your physician or of authorized UT Physicians clinical staff, you assume responsibility for your health care outcome.
- Provide accurate and complete information regarding your health and health history and to report changes in your condition.
- Fulfill your financial obligation.
- Treat health care providers with courtesy and respect.
Complaints and Grievances
You have the right to make complaints regarding the quality of care and services you receive.
If you have a complaint or feel that your rights are not being respected, please immediately inform the staff or contact the patient experience office at 713.486.1875 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The patient experience team will coordinate a prompt resolution. The presentation of a complaint or grievance will in no way compromise your care. If you have a complaint about privacy violations or violations of confidentiality, please call The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Privacy Office at 713.500.3391.
You May Obtain a Copy of “Patient Rights and Responsibilities” from any Staff Member
UT Physicians respects the privacy of every patient.
Patients expect that the information that they give to their health care providers will remain confidential and protected. Patients want to know what information is kept, who has access to their information, how records can be amended and errors corrected and what rights patients have with regard to their health information.
In recognition of patients’ rights and the increasingly complex flow of health information, Congress passed a federal law in 1996 that, among other things, required the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to issue Privacy Standards. This law is called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and it is commonly referred to as HIPAA.
DHHS, in turn, wrote the Standards for the Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information. Entities covered by the Privacy Standards, including health care providers, health care clearinghouses and health plans, were required to comply with these standards by April 14, 2003. UT Physicians is a health care provider and, therefore, is covered by HIPAA.
UT Physicians protects the privacy of patients’ Protected Health Information in compliance with applicable provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, Public Law 104-191 (HIPAA) and regulations promulgated hereunder by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Privacy Rule) and all other applicable privacy-related state laws, regulations and other jurisprudence which are not preempted by HIPAA.
What is protected?
The Privacy Standards cover Protected Health Information (PHI). PHI is individually identifiable health information that is related to the “past, present or future physical or mental health condition” of a person. The definition of PHI excludes individually identifiable health information in education records covered by the Family Educational Right and Privacy Act (20 USC 1232g).
PHI under HIPAA means individually identifiable health information. This definition is narrowed to information created or received by a health care provider, health plan, employer or health care clearinghouse. The information that is protected includes information in oral, written or electronic form. Information relating to the provision and the payment for the provision of health care is also included in this definition.
How is the information protected?
The core concept of the Privacy Standards is that patient information cannot be used by the provider or disclosed to a third party without the authorization of the patient, with a few exceptions.
Treatment: The Privacy Standards permit a health care provider to disclose protected health information about a patient, without the patient’s authorization, to another health care provider for that provider’s treatment of the patient.
Payment: Payment encompasses the various activities of health care providers to obtain payment or be reimbursed for their services and of a health plan to obtain premiums, to fulfill their coverage responsibilities and provide benefits under the plan and to obtain or provide reimbursement for the provision of health care.
Health Care Operations: Health Care Operations is defined by DHHS as certain administrative, financial, legal and quality improvement activities of a covered entity that are necessary to run its business and to support the core functions of treatment and payment.