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Patient and Visitor FAQs

Patient Information

  • What information do I need to bring with me to the Hospital?

    Patients should bring the following information when registering:

    • Insurance Card
    • Medicare/Medicaid card
    • Name and Social Security Number of insured
    • Referral forms from your physician (if required by your insurance carrier)
    • Referral/Order Guidelines
    • Worker’s compensation information (if applicable)
    • Driver’s license
    • Co-pay or deductible
    • Pre-admission form (if not previously submitted)
    • Advance Directive
  • If I need medical attention but cannot afford it, what can I do?
    No one is turned away from HCGH needing emergent/emergency care 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.
  • Where can I donate blood (for my upcoming operation or a relative)?
    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.
  • Can I fill out any required paperwork before I get there?
    Yes. To view all hospital forms that are available on this web site that may be printed and completed in advance of your visit, go to the Hospital Forms section of this web site by clicking here.


Visitor Information

  • May I take flowers or gifts to a patient at HCGH?
    Gifts are allowed on all units. Flowers are allowed on all units except the Intensive Care Unit. A selection of flowers and gifts is available at The Right Touch gift shop located in the hospital's main lobby
  • What are the patient visiting hours and restrictions?
    Please see visitor information for details.
  • Why do I need to have a Visitor Pass?
    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.
  • What is the Observation (formerly Short Stay) Unit?
    The Observation Unit 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
  • How can I contact a patient in the Intensive Care Unit?
    Intensive Care Unit patients have no phones in their rooms. Intensive Care Unit nurses will relay information to immediate family members only.
  • Can I take a bus to the Hospital?
    Three Howard Area Transit System (H.A.T.S.) bus routes stop at the Hospital. Call 1-800-270-9553 for a bus schedule.
  • Do you have a listing of hotels in the Columbia area?
    Yes, please visit our hotel listings page, which includes the names of nearby hotels, average rates, websites, and distance from HCGH.


Department Phone Listings

Click here for a complete phone list.


  • Where do I call to find out the condition of a patient?
    Call Patient Information at 410-740-7654.
  • Where do I call to help me find a doctor nearby?
    Call HCGH Physician Referral at 410-740-7750 or look under Physician Directory in the Physician section of this web site.
  • Where do I call if I have a question about my hospital bill?
    Call Billing Services at 443-997-0300.
  • Where do I call for information on health screenings?
    Call the Wellness Center at 410-740-7601 or visit the List of Screenings in the Classes section of this web site.


Medical Records

  • What is the Health Information Management Department?
    This is the new name hospitals use to designate the department that holds your medical records.
  • Can I get a copy of my medical records for myself or sent to someone?

    To obtain copies of your medical records, download and complete a Authorization for Release of Health Information form available on our forms page. Clearly specify the dates of service and/or the types of reports needed.

    Mail completed forms to:
    Howard County General Hospital
    Medical Records Department
    5755 Cedar Lane
    Columbia, MD 21044

    Please note: If you are under psychiatric care, your request for release of your medical records will need to be reviewed by your psychiatrist or designee. If your request is denied, a summary from your psychiatrist may be obtained by written request.

  • Can I get a copy of my child's birth certificate/social security card?
    All birth certificates are issued by the Bureau of Vital Statistics. Howard County General Hospital does not issue birth certificates. Visit the Vital Chek website or call Maryland Vital Records at 410-764-3038 or 1-800-832-3277.

    The Social Security Card is mailed to the new parents within three to four weeks after the birth of their baby. The process is initiated from the hospital and there are no separate documents that need to be submitted outside of the hospital.
  • How can I obtain a verification of birth letter for my insurance?
    A birth verification form is provided at the time of discharge. If additional copies are needed, please contact the H.I.M Department.
  • Can I get my lab results over the phone?
    The physician can release the lab results over the phone if the results are being made available as part of a visit or treatment episode. All other requests for lab record should be directed to the H.I.M. Department.
  • Can I fill out any required paperwork before I get there?
    Yes. From this site you can complete, in advance, any of the following forms that are applicable to your visit. To see all hospital forms available online, please click here.
  • How do I obtain a copy of my Imaging Study?

    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. 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.   A photo ID must be presented at time of pick-up. Upon arrival at the hospital, proceed to the information desk and ask to be directed to the Film Library. It is a short distance from the main entrance of the hospital and is open Monday-Friday from 7:30am to 4:00pm.

    Films created before 7/24/04:

    Contact the Film Library at 410-740-7924. 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. A photo ID must be presented at time of pick-up. Upon arrival at the hospital, proceed to the information desk and ask to be directed to the Film Library,  open Monday-Friday from 7:30am to 4:00pm.

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