Privacy, Security and Advanced Directives

Discharge Planning
Medical Records

To protect the confidentiality of your medical records, we must have written authorization before information regarding your medical treatment can be released. If you or your physician need this information, please send a signed and dated letter outlining the specific information required from your medical record. Be sure to include your complete name, date of birth and UTMB Health patient identification number. Also, include the name and address of the physician to whom the record should be sent.

The letter requesting your medical record should be addressed to:

The University of Texas Medical Branch
Health Information Management Department
Release of Information
301 University Blvd.
Galveston, TX 77555-0782

For more information regarding the process for obtaining a copy of your medical record or to request a copy of your medical record prior to discharge, contact the Health Information Management Department at (409) 772-1965.

Privacy and Security of Health Information

UTMB Health is committed to protecting the privacy of our patients and keeping their health information secure. According to the federal law named the “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act” (HIPAA), you have rights concerning the use of individually identifiable health information. The primary purpose of this law is to provide standards to facilitate the electronic exchange of health information, provide individuals with better access to their health information and standardize this access among states, decrease health care fraud and abuse and, most importantly, protect your personal health information. If you feel your health information has been misused in any way, please call the UTMB Health Privacy Office at (409) 747-8700. You may also call our anonymous Fraud, Abuse and Privacy hotline at (800) 898-7679.

Advanced Directives

An advance directive is defined as “a written instruction such as living will or medical power of attorney for health care recognized under state law and relating to the provision of such care when the person is incapacitated.” In Texas there are three types of advance directives: Directive to Physicians, Medical Power of Attorney, and Out-of-Hospital Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order. If a patient wishes to formulate an advance directive, the necessary documents can be made available by the hospital. Once formulated, the completed document, which is signed by the patient, becomes a part of the patient’s permanent medical record. Prior to the initiation of new treatments or procedures, your doctor will speak with you about the extent to which the hospital is able, unable or unwilling to honor your advance directive. A patient has the option to review or revise advance directives. The existence or lack of an advance directive does not determine an individual’s access to care, treatment or services.

You have the right to:

  • Create advance directives regarding care and have staff and practitioners who provide care comply with these directives.
  • Participate in ethical questions that arise in the course of care, including issues of conflict resolution, withholding of resuscitative services, forgoing or withdrawal of life- sustaining treatment, and participation in investigational studies or clinical trials.
  • Receive end-of-life care that is respectful and responsive and that demonstrates concern for a patient’s comfort and dignity.