Frequently Asked Questions

Your Medical Bill

I received an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from my insurance company and did not have a visit to SEARHC on the date indicated. What should I do?

If you believe that the EOB or bill is incorrect, contact the Billing Supervisor and explain your concerns. If you do not get a timely response or you are not satisfied with the response by the Billing Supervisor, you should contact the Compliance Officer at (907)364-4466 or call the SEARHC Compliance Hotline at 1(866)891-8800.

How do I know if my visit was billed correctly?

When you get your Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from your insurance company or Medicare, review it to make sure it is accurate as far as the provider, date of service, and services provided. If you get an itemized bill for your visit or hospital stay, review the bill for accuracy; date of service, services provided, procedures, items given to you or used, etc. If you believe it is wrong, you should contact the Billing Supervisor and explain your concerns. If you do not get a timely response or you are not satisfied with the response by the Billing Supervisor, you should contact the Compliance Officer at (907)364-4466 or call the SEARHC Compliance Hotline at 1(866)891-8800.

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Should I suspect fraud and abuse if my Explanation of Benefits (EOB) or bill is incorrect?

Not necessarily. Many mistakes are innocent mistakes and are not considered fraud. You should contact the Billing Supervisor or the Compliance Officer to get the mistake corrected.

What is fraud?

In most cases fraud is an intentional and deliberate act by someone to get more money or money that they are not entitled to receive. If you suspect fraud, then you should call the Compliance Officer at (907)364-4466 or the Compliance Hotline at 1(866)891-8800.

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Can I call the Compliance Officer at anytime?

Yes, you can contact the Compliance Officer or hotline at anytime. You do not need to contact anyone else before contacting the Compliance Officer.

If I suspect fraud, whom else can I contact?

You can contact Medicare, Medicaid, your insurance company, or the Office of Inspector General at any time. However, SEARHC would like to have the opportunity to review/investigate your concerns before you contact other agencies. This gives us the opportunity to promptly investigate a matter.

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Your Privacy Rights as a Patient

What is HIPAA?

HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is a law that pertains to how health information can be used and disclosed. The privacy regulations of HIPAA became effective April 14, 2003. Starting April 14, many health providers are required to inform their patients how they use and disclose their health information. HIPAA also requires health providers to inform patients of the rights they have to their own health information. This information is provided to patients in a document called a Notice of Privacy Practice. Every health provider, covered by HIPAA, must provide their patients with their own copy of their Notice of Privacy Practices at the patients first visit after April 14, 2003.

What is a Notice of Privacy Practices?

A Notice of Privacy Practices is a document that informs patients how their health provider uses and discloses their health information. The Notice also informs the patients when the provider can use or disclose their health information with and without their permission, and informs the patient about rights to their health information.

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How do I get a copy of the Notice of Privacy Practices?

Every patient will be offered the Notice when they come to a SEARHC facility for the first time after April 14, 2003. You can also pick up a Notice from any SEARHC facility, usually at the Registration Desk.

Why doesn't SEARHC staff leave more information on my message machine when they call about appointment reminders or test results?

The staff does not know who else might listen to the message and they do not know if you want others to hear about your appointments or test results. Therefore, when staff member leaves a message about an appointment reminder he/she will only say the date, time, and building. Staff will also leave their name and phone number in case you need to call them. Staff will not leave any information about test results or other specific information.

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Why do I have to give my birth date when I call to find out when my appointment is?

Staff will take reasonable methods to ensure that the caller is who they say they are. One method is to ask you for your birth date. We want to make sure that we only give out your information to you.

If I want a copy of my chart or want a copy sent to another physician, what should I do?

You will need to go to the Health Information Management (Medical Records) Department and inform them that you want a copy of your chart. The staff will give you a form to complete. This form, called an Authorization for Disclosure form, is what gives us permission to give you a copy of your chart or give someone else a copy of your chart.

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Do I have other rights to my health information?

Yes. A patient has several rights in regards to their health information. Some of these rights include: making corrections to information; restricting access to whom can use the information or where it can be sent; and receiving an accounting of who was given information from your chart. For more information, please read our Notice of Privacy Practices, or contact our Privacy Officer at (907)364-4466.

What if I don't want other people to have access to my health information?

You can go to the Health Information Management Department and ask for a Restriction for Disclosure form. By completing this form, you will tell us how you want your health information restricted. Depending on the circumstances, we may not allow your restriction if it would hinder our operations, is not reasonable, or would contradict any laws, regulations, or policies.

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If I believe that my information was used inappropriately or my rights have been violated, what can I do?

You can contact the SEARHC Compliance Officer at (907)364-4466; call the SEARHC Compliance Hotline at 1(866)891-8800 (toll free number); or call the U.S. Office of Civil Rights at (800)368-1019.

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