Patients FAQ

1) What is Missouri Health Connection?

Missouri Health Connection (MHC) is a non-profit organization that operates Missouri's statewide health information network. Established in 2011, MHC's mission is to enable Missouri health care providers, from small, rural clinics to large hospital systems, to securely share a patient's medical data. With our wide network of hospitals, clinics and community health centers, MHC's network connects inpatient and outpatient care in Missouri. As of 2017, MHC's network covers more than 70% of the acute care in Missouri and enables physicians to access more complete patient records.


2) What is an electronic health record, or “EHR?

The Electronic Health Record (EHR) is a longitudinal electronic record of patient health information generated by one or more encounters in any care delivery setting. Included in this information are patient demographics, progress notes, problems, medications, vital signs, past medical history, immunizations, laboratory data and radiology reports.
 
3) What is a health information network?

An electronic health information exchange (HIE) network allows health care information to be securely shared between care providers within a community or larger region. An HIE allows medical information to quickly move between the different health care information technology systems that may be used by a patient’s different providers (e.g., doctors, specialists, labs) while maintaining the privacy, security and accuracy of the information being exchanged.
 
4) What is the mission of Missouri Health Connection?

Missouri is building a statewide health information network in order to:
- Improve the quality of medical decision-making and the coordination of care;
- Provide accountability in safeguarding the privacy and security of medical information;
- Reduce preventable medical errors and avoid duplication of treatment;
- Improve the public health;
- Enhance the affordability and value of health care; and
- Empower Missourians to take a more active role in their own health care. 


5) How will the Missouri Health Connection work?

EHRs allow MHC’s network to exchange health care information allowing a doctor in one portion of the state to share or retrieve their patient’s health information from another health care provider in a different part of the state (e.g. hospital, lab, or surgeon). The health care information is exchanged accurately in real-time - to ensure quick, quality care. MHC is EHR neutral permitting the HIE to exchange with any type of EHR.


6) Is there a cost for me to allow my records to be shared?

There is no cost for patients to share their health records.

 
7) How will my privacy and security be protected?

Your privacy is important. Your health professional and health care team who are responsible for treatment, payments and operations are the only ones that can view your medical record.
Privacy and security are key to a successful system. MHC operates in compliance with state and federal laws and follows specific protocols for a private, secure network that makes records safer than ever before. (A "paper" system of health records is not always secure as it may sit in a locked file cabinet, out on a desk or on a fax machine.)

MHC does not allow sharing of protected sensitive data such as genetic tests, substance abuse or abortion procedures without patient consent. MHC is committed to meeting all federal and state requirements for handling all sensitive data.


8) What’s the difference between a “health information exchange” and a “health insurance exchange”?

A health information exchange (or network) is a network that connects patients, providers, physicians, hospitals and other health care organizations in order to provide services of query and retrieval of critical medical record information to improve patient care. MHC is responsible for creating Missouri’s statewide network that allows different EHR systems to exchange information, or "talk" to one another. True health information exchange is the act of sharing disparate medical records and data.

A health insurance exchange (or marketplace) deals with people buying insurance. It is a marketplace where people can select health insurance plans from a variety of different insurance companies. For more information on health insurance, visit the Missouri Department of Insurance or the Affordable Care Act at www.Healthcare.gov.

 
9) What type of health information is being exchanged?

Only health information important for treatment, payment or operations is exchanged between authorized health care providers who have a relationship with the patient and have a need to know this information. Health care providers and others must contract with MHC and agree to abide by its strict privacy and security policies and comply with relevant federal and state laws.

 
10) Is Missouri Health Connection the same as Missouri HealthNet?

No. Missouri Health Connection and Missouri HealthNet are two completely different organizations. MHC is private non-profit Health Information Exchange organization. Missouri HealthNet is part of state government and is the Missouri’s state Medicaid program. Contact for MO HealthNet is (573)-751-3425.
 

11) Who will be able to access my personal health information using MHC?

Only authorized health care providers, organizations and professionals involved in your treatment, coordination of care, quality improvement and activities related to the management or payment of your health care. Please note that medical record information is protected under federal and state privacy laws; access, use and disclosure of medical records will comply with those laws.

 
12) Does my insurance company have access to my health information via MHC?

Only if your insurance company has signed a Data Sharing Agreement with MHC. The agreement contains the policy, security and privacy procedures required by MHC.

 
13) Are my records safe and secure?

Only your doctors and health care providers, organizations and professionals involved in your treatment, coordination of care, quality improvement and activities related to the management or payment of your health care can see your records. Only providers that have signed a Data Sharing Agreement with MHC are allowed to view your records. Information in medical records is protected under federal and state privacy laws. It is a serious state and federal crime for someone to wrongly share your health records.
 

14) How do I know if my provider participates in the HIE?

Please click here to see if your provider is a MHC Participant.
 

15) What if my physician is not a MHC participant?

Request they sign up for MHC so they can start sharing your health information and provide you quality care.

 
16) Will my physician or hospital be required to take part in the statewide HIE?

It is not mandatory to participate in the state HIE.

 
17) I just moved from another state to Missouri. Would my physician be able to access my health information electronically?

Only providers who participate with MHC will be able to exchange medical information electronically over the MHC network. MHC is participating in efforts on a national level that will allow certified HIEs to exchange clinical information across state lines. This service will be available in 2017.


18) What if I don’t want my medical information available through the statewide HIE?

MHC requires written opt-in consent to allow access to patient records. Your records will not be shared without your consent except for in the case of a life threatening emergency. 

You can specifically opt-out anytime by completing an opt-out form at your provider’s office. You can also opt-out through MHC by completing an opt-out form, getting it notarized and mailing it to MHC. To opt out through MHC, please go to www.missourihealthconnection.org.
 
If you choose to opt-out your records will not be accessed even in a life threatening emergency.


19) I want to exclude a certain lab test or medical procedure from the exchange. How can I do that?

Selected labs and medical procedures cannot be excluded at this time. Consent covers your complete medical history with the exception of state and federally protected health information.
 

20) What security will there be to prevent unauthorized access to health information?

Access to your health information is restricted to authorized individuals or organizations who have permitted access to your information with whom you have a treatment relationship. These are the same individuals who have permitted access to your information currently.

 
21) Can patients can request a record of who has accessed my records?

Patients can request a record of who accessed their medical records from their provider who will contact MHC. MHC will provide the report in 10 business days.

 
22) I would like to participate in MHC HIE. What is the process?

You may opt-in at your provider’s office. You can ask for the MHC Consent Form and sign the form.
Otherwise, you can also print the opt-in form available on MHC’s website www.missourihealthconnection.org, get the form notarized and mail it to MHC at the address provided on the form.

 
23) What type of health information will be shared?

Your physicians can share your health record with providers who are treating you using MHC’s health information services.

Your records will have your past care such as:
- Doctor’s visits
- Medicines
- Immunizations
- Allergies
- Illnesses
- Test results
- Surgeries
- Treatments
- Hospitalizations
- ER Visits


24) I have opted out of MHC and now I would like to participate in MHC again. What is the process?

You may opt-in again at your provider’s office. You can ask for MHC Consent Form and sign the form. Otherwise, you can print the opt-in form available on MHC’s website www.missourihealthconnection.org and mail it to MHC.
 

25) What if I want my physician to participate in MHC’s HIE?

Please advise your physician to contact MHC at (573)-777-4550 or they can visit www.missourihealthconnection.org
 

26) What is MHC’s mailing address?

PMB 270
2000 E. Broadway
Columbia, MO 65201- 4550
 

27) I have more questions. Who can I contact?

Please call MHC at (573) 777-4550 or email at info@missourihealthconnection.org
 

28) When I complete an opt-in form & send it directly to MHC or complete it at my physician’s office, how long does it take for my opt-in form to be processed, allowing my records to be shared in the HIE? 

Please allow 5 business days for your form to be processed by MHC, if sent directly to MHC. If you’ve opted in at your provider’s office, please contact your provider’s office for the information.
 

29) Does Missouri’s HIE feed into HealthIT.gov or a Federal database(s)?

No. HealthIT.gov does not maintain a federal database. MHC does not provide information into any federal or state database.
 

30) How often does health care providers’ EHR chart updates get loaded into the HIE? Is the HIE real-time compared to the health care providers’ EHR or is there a reporting lag?

The data is in real-time, however, the patient’s encounter with a provider must be closed by the provider and recorded on the Continuity of Care Document (CCD) which is then made available to MHC; this may take a day or two. Data is retrieved by an on-demand query.

 
31) Are other health care providers encouraged to join the HIE i.e. dentists, chiropractors, hearing and vision providers, DME/Equipment suppliers & pharmacies?

Health care providers who are subject to HIPAA privacy regulations for having Protected Health Information (PHI) are welcome to join MHC.
 

32) Will consumers be able to get corrections made regarding erroneous information identified in my health care record?

Requests for corrections must be made to the provider possessing that specific health record. MHC does not change or alter medical records.