General Information

How can I report privacy concerns at Springfield Clinic?

You may call 217.528.7541 (toll-free 800.444.7541) and ask for the Privacy Office.

What health information can I access?

  • You have a right to receive, upon request, a copy of Springfield Clinic’s Notice of Privacy Practices. This can be made available in braille, large print, Spanish and other accommodations upon request through our office.
  • HIPAA allows patients access to their health and billing information that is listed in the provider’s “Designated Record Set Policy.” Call us in the Privacy Office and request a Health Information Review.
  • You have the right to receive a copy of your records (behavioral health records are a potential exception to that rule).
  • You have the right to an accounting of disclosures. This details where Springfield Clinic has externally disclosed your protected health information in the past six years without your consent, for purposes of treatment, payment, and operations.
  • You have the right to be notified by Springfield Clinic if your protected health information is compromised by our staff or business associates.
  • If you are on a Springfield Clinic account as the guarantor (billing responsible party), you may have access to the details of billing on the account for all family members on that account, with the exception of Protected Minor Services or other visits being paid for with cash (HITECH cash restriction not being billed to insurance).
  • You may obtain access to our patient portal, myHealth@SC, which provides a copy of your Springfield Clinic record at no charge. This service includes record updates, diagnostic results, office visits and records from 10/01/2008 to present excluding Eye Institute (Ophthalmology and Optometry), Occupational Medicine (MOHA) and Behavioral Health Department records. The portal also allows access to: your family account, secure messaging with your providers, requests to submit records from other sources into your Clinic record, and forms to fill out in advance of your appointment with a new provider.

What is the Notice of Privacy Practices?

The Notice of Privacy Practices exists to inform patients of the following:

  • their rights under HIPAA.
  • where to complain within the Clinic if they feel their rights have been violated.
  • how Springfield Clinic may use or disclose their protected health information without their knowledge or authorization.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a federal law that was enacted to protect your health and billing information (known as PHI – Protected Health Information) and to create standardized rules and regulations for the transfer of that information. It defines who is allowed access to your information and for what purpose, and outlines circumstances which may require the disclosure of your information without your prior written consent.

HIPAA is complex and can be confusing. All of us at Springfield Clinic care deeply about your privacy, and take our role very seriously as a trusted keeper of your PHI. We want to ensure you know your rights and understand our role in protecting your information.

Below are some of our most commonly received questions regarding HIPAA and your privacy. If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact the Privacy Office at 217.528.7541.

What is a Verbal Authorization?

Verbal Authorization allows designated individuals to request verbal information regarding a patient in whose care they participate. It allows Springfield Clinic to orally discuss that patient's health care issues or account information with these approved individuals, including medication instructions and post-visit care. Authorized individuals are also able to set, change and cancel appointments on behalf of the patient and assist with pickup of certain items, such as disability forms and X-ray images.

The Verbal Authorization does not authorize release of a patient’s printed information; it only authorizes the verbal sharing of patient-related information.

To complete the Verbal Authorization form, simply fill out the Verbal Authorization form on this page or request the form from any Springfield Clinic receptionist. It can be filled out on the spot and submitted for processing. Processing takes approximately four days, after which the authorized individuals should have their appropriate access.

A receptionist wouldn’t even tell me if my family member was in the building. Why is that?

Unless there is a Verbal Authorization in place, our staff members are unable to confirm whether or not someone is a Springfield Clinic patient, or if they are or have been in a Springfield Clinic office.

The only exceptions are: 1) if a patient provides explicit instructions during that particular visit that the family member/friend is allowed access to see them or to be informed of their presence on site, or 2) if that person/service is providing transportation to the patient.

If I have the Verbal Authorization for a family member, am I able to make medical decisions for them?

No. Only a legal representative is authorized by law to conduct business on behalf of and make decisions for the patient. Examples of legal representatives include:

  • biological or adoptive parent(s)
  • DCFS officials (with child in protective custody)
  • a court-appointed guardian or an individual with an activated Power of Attorney

In the instance of non-parental relatives accompanying minor patients in place of the legal representative, written consent to treat the patient is required from the custodial parent. These types of forms can generally be accessed at the reception desk and must be signed by the legal representative.

I don’t like my information being verified out loud upon check-in. What options do I have?

Upon request, Springfield Clinic reception staff may print out your information so you are able to verify it privately. If time and space allow, our staff can attempt to review this information with you in a more private location in the office.

I don’t like my first and last names called out loud in the reception area. Is this a HIPAA violation?

As an exception to the rule, HIPAA allows for certain information to be included under “incidental disclosure.” This includes a person’s name on a sign-in sheet, or calling a person’s name out loud in a waiting room. Therefore, incidents such as these that fall under “incidental disclosure” are not HIPAA violations. It is important for clinical accuracy that Springfield Clinic offices ensure the treatment of the correct patient, and, as many patients may have common or similar names, it is necessary to use both one’s first and last names. We continuously work to protect your privacy and safety, and this is an issue we frequently review for improvement.