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Frequently Asked Questions

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GeneralCancer ServicesSurgical Services
Patient InformationDiagnostic ServicesMothers and Babies
Visitor InformationEmergency ServicesPhysicians
Phone ListingsHeart ServicesWellness Center
Medical RecordsPsychiatric ServicesSupport HCGH
FormsRehab ServicesCareers


General:

Q.Where is the Hospital located and how do I get there?

A.

The Hospital is located at 5755 Cedar Lane in Columbia, MD. Directions and detailed maps may be found here.

Q.Do you have an outpatient clinic?
A.We do not have an outpatient clinic on our campus. However the Patient First urgent care center located at 5900 Cedar Lane south of Hickory Ridge Road is a highly respected provider of urgent care services. Johns Hopkins has partnered with Patient First since 1994. You may also go to the Physician Directory section of this site or call 410-740-7750 to get a referral to nearly 800 physicians that practice at HCGH. Outpatient services that are offered include emergency care.
Q.If I need medical attention but cannot afford to pay for it, what can I do?
A.No one is turned away from HCGH because of inability to pay. We direct patients to the Financial Counselors located in the Admitting Department who will work with you to develop a payment plan, help you apply for Medical Assistance or, if you qualify, arrange for free care.
Q.Can I take a bus to the Hospital?
A.Three Howard Area Transit System (H.A.T.S.) bus routes stop at the Hospital. Call 410-313-1919 for a bus schedule or visit their website.


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Patient Information:

Q.What information do I need to bring with me to the Hospital?
A.You should bring your driver's license, or other comparable photo identification, and your insurance card each time you are treated at the hospital.
Q.If I need medical attention but cannot afford to pay for it, what can I do?
A.No one is turned away from HCGH because of inability to pay. We direct patients to the Financial Counselors located in the Admitting Department who will work with you to develop a payment plan, help you apply for medical assistance or, if you qualify, arrange for free care.
Q.Where do I go to donate blood (either for my forthcoming operation or for a sick relative)?
A.Call the local American Red Cross at 1-800-452-5663 to arrange for such a donation. Any donations can be designated for you or for the Hospital at the time of giving.
Q.Can I fill out any of the required paperwork before I get to the hospital?
A.Yes. From this Web site you can print out and complete, in advance, any of the forms available in our Hospital Forms that are applicable to your visit

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Visitor Information:

Q.May I take flowers or gifts to a patient at HCGH?
A.Gifts are allowed on all units. Flowers are allowed on all units except the Intensive Care Unit. Glass vases are not allowed in the Psychiatric Unit (1 North). A selection of flowers and gifts is available at The Right Touch gift shop located in the hospital's main lobby.  HCGH is a latex-free facility, so no latex balloons are allowed. Mylar balloons are acceptable.
Q.What are the patient visiting hours?
A.Please see Visitor Information for details.
Q.Are children allowed to visit patients at HCGH?
A.On most of the nursing units, children under 10 years of age may visit for 15 minutes only. This is to provide a more restful environment for our patients. In the Maternal Child Unit no visitors under 12 years of age are permitted except siblings of the newborn. In the Pediatrics Unit no visitors under the age of 18 months are permitted, and a parent of the patient must be present for anyone to visit.
Q.Why can't children other than siblings of the newborn visit the Maternal Child Unit?
A.The Maternal Child Unit, where new mothers and their babies are cared for, has strict visitor regulations to protect the health of both the newborn infants and any youngsters less than 12 years of age, who are more vulnerable to infectious disease.
Q.Why do I need to have a Visitor Pass?
A.We require everyone entering the Hospital to identify themselves and their destination within the hospital to provide a safer environment for our patients, visitors and staff.
Q.What is the Observation Unit?
A.The Observation Unit (formerly called Short Stay) cares for patients whose condition needs to be monitored for an extended time—up to 23 hours—to determine if it is necessary to admit the patient as an inpatient.
Q.How can I contact a patient in the Intensive Care Unit?
A.Intensive Care Unit patients have no phones in their rooms. Intensive Care Unit nurses will relay information to immediate family members only.
Q.Can I take a bus to the Hospital?
A.Three Howard Area Transit System (H.A.T.S.) bus routes stop at the Hospital. Call 410-313-1919 for a bus schedule.

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Departmental Phone Listings:

Q.How do I contact a patient?
A.Call Patient Information at 410-740-7890.  Hospital Department Directory
Q.Where can I call to help me find a doctor nearby?
A.If you are unable to find what you need in our online Physician Directory, you may call our Wellness Center for assistance at 410-740-7750.
Q.Where do I call if I have a question about my hospital bill?
A.Call Billing Services at 443-997-0300.
Q.Where do I call for information on health screenings?
A.Call the HCGH Wellness Center at 410-740-7601 or visit the List of Screenings in the Classes section of this site.

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Medical Records:

Q.How can I get a copy of my medical record?
A.See the Medical Records listing in the Patient Information section of this site.
Q.What is the Health Information Management Department?
A.This is the new name hospitals use to designate the department that holds your medical records.
Q.What are the hours of operation for the Health Information Management Department?
A.The department is open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for holidays.
Q.How can I get a copy of my child's birth certificate?
A.

Howard County General Hospital does not issue birth certificates. All birth certificates are issued by the Bureau of Vital Statistics. Visit the Bureau of Vital Statistics website or contact Maryland Vital Records at 410-764-3038

Q.Can I get my lab results over the phone?
A.Patient confidentiality prevents the hospital from giving lab results over the phone. With proper identification (photo ID) you may come to the hospital and pick them up, or request that they be sent to your physician and/or health facility.
Q.Can I fill out any of the required paperwork before I get to the hospital?
A.Yes. From this site you can print out and complete, in advance, any of the forms located in the Hospital Forms section that are applicable to your visit.
Q.How do I obtain a copy of my Radiology Films?
A.

To obtain films created after 7/24/04:

Contact the Film Library at 410-740-7924. The Film Librarian will require your name and date of birth to confirm your identity and locate your exams within the hospital computer system. Please be prepared with the date(s) and exams(s) for which you are requesting copies. HCGH digitally stores most radiology images so your images can be provided to you on CD relatively quickly. You will be asked for a date/time you wish to pick up your films or CD.  Proper identification must be presented at time of pick-up. Upon arrival at the hospital, proceed to “Information” and ask to be directed to the Film Library. It is a short distance from the main entrance of the hospital.

To obtain films (originals) created before 7/24/04:

Contact the Film Library as listed above. Films created prior to 7/24/04 are not stored digitally and will need to be returned to the hospital. However, if you are moving out of state, your films will be provided to you without the requirement that they be returned. The Film Librarian will determine if your films are stored locally or off-site. If the film are stored locally, you may pick them up at a mutually agreed upon date/time. If they are off-site, HCGH will require two (2) days to retrieve the films. Upon arrival of your films, you will be contacted and a date/time of pickup will be arranged. 
 

Q.How can I review my medical record?
A.To inspect your medical records, you can download and complete a Authorization for Release of Health Information form. Clearly specify the dates of service and/or the types of reports needed. This form may also be obtained in the H.I.M. Department or you may request to have the form mailed or faxed to you. You may return the form to the H.I.M. Department via mail, fax, or drop off. Upon receipt of your form, you will be contacted within 7-10 working days to schedule an appointment for the review.
Q.What do I do if I believe there is an error in my medical record?
A.

Download and complete a Request to Amend My Protected Health Information. Clearly specify the date of service in question, the change to be made, and the reason for the change. This form may also be obtained in the H.I.M. Department or you may request to have the form mailed or faxed to you. You may return the completed form to the H.I.M. Department via mail, fax, or drop off .


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Cancer Services:

Q.What kinds of support services are available for people who have been diagnosed with cancer?
A.There are many services available for people undergoing cancer treatment and for cancer survivors. The Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center provides an extensive collection of literature and information on local and regional resources such as wigs, prostheses, and make-up instruction to cancer patients. The List of Support Groups under the Wellness Center section of this site provides a list of community support groups for cancer patients and survivors. A listing of Howard County General Hospital doctors and specialists providing cancer treatment and services can be found in the Physician Directory section of this site. Classes, seminars and screenings for cancer patients are included under Wellness Center.

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Diagnostic Services

Q.Where do I call to schedule a diagnostic procedure?
A.Please call 410-740-8130, 8131, 8132 or 8134 Monday - Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.to schedule an appointment for a diagnostic procedure. Please note: a written order or referral form from your physician should be received first before scheduling an appointment. Referrals/Orders may be faxed to 410-720-8129. Appointment days and times vary depending on type of test.
Q.Is there anything I need to do or take the day of my exam?
A.At the time you schedule your exam, you will be given very detailed instructions about any preparation that will be needed.
Q.Why does it appear that patients are taken for their exams or testing out of their arrival sequence?
A.Our reception area is for patients having procedures using many different imaging techniques including Ultrasound, Nuclear Medicine, Angiography and Mammography. Each service schedules patients independently. In addition, delays can occur because emergency exams (ordered by our busy Emergency Department) may take priority over a scheduled appointment. Please keep this possibility in mind when scheduling your appointment and allow for some extra time in the event of an emergency delay.
Q.How long will it take to get a copy of my pulmonary test results to my doctor?
A.In most cases, a report of your test interpreted by the pulmonologist will be mailed within 72 hours. Results can be faxed upon the doctor's request.
Q.How long will it take for my doctor to get a copy of my x-ray?
A.The report of your exam provided by the radiologist will be mailed or faxed to your doctor within 24 hours. There are occasions when your doctor asks the radiologist to compare a recent film with a previous study. If the previous study is not immediately available, we will wait to interpret the current study until the previous film(s) are available. For reports to be faxed to a physician's office, please call 410-740-7900 or 7919.
Q.How can I get copies of my X-ray films for a doctor's appointment?
A.With the recent implementation of PACS (picture archiving and communication system) at Howard County General Hospital, patients can now pick up their films immediately after being released from the hospital or the Emergency Department. Please expect a short wait while your images are prepared. For further information, please call the Film Library at 410-740-7924.
Q.Will my insurance allow me to have these tests and procedures done at the Hospital?
A.We participate with most insurance plans. However, your plan might require that you use an outpatient center for your testing or procedures. Therefore, it is best to check with your insurance company or call our Admitting Office at 410-740-7670 to verify that your insurance will cover services at HCGH before you schedule your test. You must always bring a written order and/or the referral form signed by your physician that gives the name of the test and the reason for the test or diagnosis.
Q.Why do I have to go to the Admitting Department before going to the location where the test will be performed?
A.All patient demographics and insurance information must be verified when you arrive. Authorization for services from the insurance company then must be obtained to ensure that you will not be billed.

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Emergency Services:

Q.If I need medical attention but cannot afford to pay for it, what can I do?
A.No one is turned away from HCGH because of inability to pay. We direct patients to the Financial Counselors located in the Admitting Department who will work with you to develop a payment plan, help you apply for Medical Assistance or, if you qualify, arrange for free care.
Q.Is the fee for the Emergency Department doctor included in the Hospital's charges?
A.No, physician billing is separate from Hospital billing. All physicians that care for you during your hospital stay will issue a bill separate from the hospital bill.
Q.When should I use the Emergency Department?
A.You should use the Emergency Department when you cannot reach your primary care physician and/or are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

Airway obstruction
Respiratory distress
Chest pain
Severe abdominal pain
Sudden severe headache
Uncontrolled bleeding
Sudden onset of any neurological disorder-paralysis, speech difficulties
Change in level of consciousness.
Q.What should I do if I need to come to the Emergency Department?
A.The following tips should help make your trip to the Emergency Department go more smoothly:

Call your primary care provider first, if possible.
Bring a list of all current medications and any known allergies.
If possible, don't bring children under the age of 12 to wait with you.
Be prepared to wait. Unfortunately, it can take 2 to 8 hours to get the results of some tests. Also, delays can occur if a specialist must be called in.
Please do not call the Emergency Department for medical advice because the emergency staff cannot give advice over the phone.
Please don't bring valuables with you.
Try to be clear about what injury or illness brought you to the Emergency Department today.
Make sure you have money for a cab or a ride home.

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Heart Services (Cardiology):

Q.Who should I call to schedule my cardiac testing?
A.If you have a written order or referral from your physician, call Cardiac Services at 410-740-7739.
Q.Will my insurance allow me to have these tests and procedures done at the Hospital?
A.We participate with most insurance plans. However, your plan might require that you use an outpatient center for your testing or procedures. Therefore, it is best to check with your insurance company or call our Admitting Office at 410-740-7670 to verify that your insurance will cover services at HCGH before you schedule your test. You must always bring a written order and/or the referral form signed by your physician that gives the name of the test and the reason for the test or diagnosis.
Q.How do I get into cardiac rehabilitation?
A.Admission to Cardiac Rehab is by referral from your primary care physician or cardiologist.
Q.Who pays for cardiac rehabilitation?
A.Phase I services are included in the hospital charges.
Phase II is covered by most insurance companies - confirmation of coverage is established prior to admission to the program. A self-pay option is also available.

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Psychiatric Services:

Q.Does HCGH have a psychiatric outpatient program?
A.No, we do not have an outpatient program at this time.
Q.Can you give me any information about a specific patient?
A.Information about the condition of a psychiatric patient cannot be given out.  State regulations protect the privacy rights of all psychiatric patients. The Hospital is not allowed to even confirm or deny that a patient is in the Psychiatric Unit or the Emergency Department.  Once admitted, information may be given out only if a patient has signed a release of information.  This may be a general release or specifically focused to certain persons.
Q.Do you have a drug treatment/detox program?
A.Currently we have no detoxification or inpatient drug programs. 
Q.Which age groups do your psychiatric programs serve?
A.Our Emergency Evaluation and Consult Service serves child, adolescent, adult and geriatric patients.  Our inpatient service serves patients who are 18 years of age and older with a primary psychiatric diagnosis.

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Rehabilitation Services:

Q.Where do patients receive outpatient therapy such as Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and/or Speech-Language Pathology at the Hospital?
A.The Bolduc Family Outpatient Center at the hospital services pediatric outpatients and adult multidisciplinary outpatients needing occupational therapy, speech-language pathology and physical therapy. The department can be reached at 443-718-3000.
Q.I received medical equipment while I was in the Hospital and have a question or need new equipment. Whom should I contact?
A.If you received the equipment while you were in the Hospital, it was furnished by a durable medical equipment (DME) vendor, not the Hospital. Call the number of the company listed on the paperwork you received while in the Hospital. If you need a replacement, you will generally need to get a physician's prescription for the equipment and contact the company. You may want to check to see if your insurance covers the item.
Q.Do you offer Pulmonary Rehabilitation programs?
A.We offer a three-phase program.

Phase I involves initial diagnostics for patient entry into the pulmonary rehab program.
Phase II is designed for outpatients who are diagnosed with pulmonary disease, pre- or post-lung reduction, or lung-transplant surgery. Sessions are three days a week.
Phase III is our maintenance exercise program for previous graduates.

Q.How often do I need to come to therapy?
A.The frequency of treatment depends on the diagnosis, the severity of the problem, and the recommendation of the referring physician who works with our therapists to design a treatment plan for you.
Q.Who can give me information about home health services?
A.Generally you should contact your health insurance company to determine your level of coverage and any restrictions on the use of particular home health services. For more information, call the Social Work Services Department at 410-740-7960 or 7755, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Q.What nursing home and/or rehabilitation facilities are available in this area?
A.Call the Social Work Services Department at 410-740-7960 or 7755, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m

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Surgical Services:

Q.Where would I go for outpatient surgery at HCGH?
A.The primary location for outpatient surgical procedures is The Center for Ambulatory Surgery (TCAS) in The Health Care and Surgery Center, located next to the hospital. See Directions.
Q.Are there any forms I can fill out ahead of time?
A.See the Hospital Forms in the Patient Information portion of the Patient Information section of this site.
Q.What happens if I am undergoing a scheduled joint replacement or spinal surgery?
A.You are scheduled for a pre-operative visit 1-2 weeks before your surgery at which time you will complete the pre-admission paperwork; meet with nurses from OR Admitting, Anesthesia, Rehabilitation (Occupational and Physical Therapy), and a Case Manager. A video will be shown regarding your recovery from the procedure and you will have the opportunity to discuss your individual questions.
Q.Do I need an appointment for pre-operative testing?
A.No, you can have lab testing and other testing without an appointment. Make sure you bring your doctor's order for the test with you. The order must have the doctor's signature, name of the test, and the reason for the test or diagnosis.
Q.Where do I go to have blood work done before surgery?
A.In order to have any testing done, you must have a physicians order with an original signature by your doctor that gives the name of the test and the reason for the test or diagnosis. You may take that order to The Outpatient Lab in The Bolduc Family Outpatient Center during their hours of operation. On weekends, please go directly to the Admitting desk in the main lobby of the hospital. You may also pre-register with the Outpatient Center for other kinds of tests such as EKGs. For a complete listing of outpatient services, visit The Bolduc Family Outpatient Center webpage.
Q.Where do I go to donate blood (either for my forthcoming operation or for a sick relative)?
A.Call the local American Red Cross at 1-800-452-5663. Any donations can be designated for you or for the Hospital at the time of giving.

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Mothers and Babies:

Please visit the Mothers and Babies section of this website for a list of frequently asked questions about delivering your baby at Howard County General Hospital.


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Physicians:

Q.How can I find a doctor nearby that has the specialty I need?
A.Go to the Physician Directory section of this web site or call the HCGH Physician Referral Service at 410-740-7750.

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Wellness Center:

Q.How can I get directions to a community education program?
A.Go to the Directions listing in the Classes section of this site.
Q.How do I find out more about a specific program?
A.Go to the Classes section of this site.
Q.Where can I find a support group for people with a particular illness or condition?
A.Go to Support Groups under the Classes section of this site.
Q.Can I register online for Wellness Classes?
A.Yes, you may register for Wellness Center classes by vising the Classes section of this site.

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Support HCGH:

Q.Is there an age requirement to volunteer at the Hospital?
A.
You must be at least 16 years old, but there is no maximum age. Students under the age of 18 or who have not yet completed high school must submit Parental and Guidance Counselor forms as well as completing a Volunteer Application. Visit our Volunteer Services page for details.
Q.How long must I work when I come to volunteer?
A.We request that you put in a minimum of 4 hours of service per week.
Q.What jobs are available for HCGH volunteers?
A.Volunteer positions are available in almost every department within the Hospital. A description of volunteer opportunities currently available can be found in the Volunteer Services section of this website.
Q.If I become a volunteer, does that mean I become a member of the Volunteer Auxiliary?
A.All volunteers automatically become Auxiliary members; annual membership dues are optional.

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Careers:

Q.Where is the Human Resources Office located?
A.
The Human Resources Office is located next door to the hospital on the 2nd floor of The Ambulatory Care Center. It has the same address as the hospital:

5755 Cedar Lane
Columbia, Maryland 21044
See the Directions tab in the Careers section of this site.
Q.How can I find out what positions are currently available?
A.
There are several ways for you to find out what jobs are available:
  • Browse through the Job Openings listed in the Careers section of this site. This list is updated weekly.
  • Visit the Human Resources Department. Jobs are posted weekly on the bulletin board.
  • Call the HCGH Job Line at 410-884-4567.
Q.When is the Human Resources Department open?
A.We are open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
Q.What phone number can I call for general questions regarding job openings?
A.You may call 410-740-7815.
Q.How do I apply for a job at HCGH?
A.
All applications must be completed online via the this site. Simply select the "Careers" link at the top of the page. Once on the "Careers" page, select "Job Openings." Determine the position in which you are interested and click on the title. The position description will then be displayed. At the bottom of the page, click the link "Click Here to Apply Online." If you do not have computer access, you may use the computer kiosk at the HCGH Human Resources Department where an HR representative is available to assist you or you may choose to visit your local library. After your application has been submitted, you will be contacted for an interview if you are one of the most qualified candidates.
 

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