Patient Privacy

Your Right to Privacy


We are required by law to protect the privacy of your health information. We are also required to provide you with this notice, which explains how we may use information about you and when we can give out or “disclose” that information to others. You also have rights regarding your health information that are described in this notice. We are required by law to abide by the terms of this notice. The terms “information” and “health information” in this notice include any information that we maintain that reasonably can be used to identify you and that relates to your physical or mental health condition, the provision of health care to you, or the payment for your health care.

Please read our Notice of Privacy Practices at WellStar West Georgia Medical Center.

Understanding HIPAA and our Role in Maintaining Confidentiality

At WellStar West Georgia Medical Center, we are serious about guarding your privacy and support efforts to strengthen privacy laws pertaining to people’s personal health information. That’s why we adhere to HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. This federal legislation contains provisions intended to ensure that private information about you and your health remains just that—private.

As your health care provider, we’re required to be in compliance with these federal regulations, and, as a patient, you’re entitled to know how HIPAA impacts our relationship with you and what our specific privacy policies are.

Following are some frequently asked questions and answers about this legislation:

What is HIPAA?

HIPAA is an acronym for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. This complex legislation has several components; its intent is to make it easier for people to get and maintain health coverage and to allow the transmission of health information from one organization to another in a consistent manner.

How does HIPAA protect my privacy?

Medical records contain considerable information about a person’s physical and mental health and behaviors. If this information is shared inappropriately, it could make people reluctant to confide in health care professionals. Because they anticipated an increase in the use of computerized systems to collect, store and transmit patients’ personal health information, the framers of HIPAA felt it was crucial to include standards for maintaining patients’ privacy and security. These standards guide health care entities in maintaining their patients’ confidentiality. In addition to protecting computerized health information, the privacy regulations and standards also apply to information that appears on paper or is communicated orally.

Who must comply with HIPAA regulations?

Everyone involved in health care, including medical providers, hospitals, insurance companies, health plans, clearinghouses and health departments, must comply with HIPAA. If an entity conducts any of several key transactions electronically, it is also subject to the regulations.

How will the privacy rules impact me and what protections do they offer?

The privacy rules govern your personal access to your records and restrict the access of others. In accordance with HIPAA, you:

What steps is WGMC required to take to protect my privacy?

HIPAA establishes specific obligations for hospitals and other covered entities.

What if I think my privacy has been violated?

If you suspect your privacy rights have been violated, you can file a complaint directly with your health care provider or with the federal government. Details should be available in your provider’s notice of privacy practices. A health care provider found to be noncompliant with HIPAA rules may be subject to civil and criminal penalties.

Where can I get more information about HIPAA and the privacy rules?

Consult our notice of privacy practices or contact Member Services. You may also learn more at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website at

For more information, contact or call (470) 644-0444.