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2424 Century Place, SW, Hickory, NC 28602
Phone 828.304.6611

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Graystone Eye

Refractive Procedures

Refractive surgery is the surgical correction of nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and/or presbyopia. The goal is to greatly reduce or eliminate the need for glasses and contact lenses. While iLASIK is a popular refractive procedure, there are other excellent options to consider, depending on your individual diagnosis. Among the nation’s most experienced refractive surgeons, Dr. Oursler will help guide you in choosing the procedure for your personal best vision. Following are the options available at Graystone Eye.


Graystone iLASIK

Vision For My Generation

Nearly 290 million people worldwide are good candidates for the iLASIK™ procedure.

LASIK stands for Laser Assisted in-Situ Keratomileusis. It is a painless, outpatient procedure that utilizes ultraviolet light energy from the Excimer laser to reshape the cornea improving how light is focused by the eye, correcting near-sightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.

My Generation

At Graystone, we use the iLASIK procedure exclusively. This consists of the Intralase laser for flap creation and VISX CustomVue laser for the corneal reshaping. This provides a 100% blade-free treatment and a truly customized all laser vision correction. Modern lasers offer a level of precision that has not been achievable in the past. Utilizing eye trackers to ensure centration, as well as variable spot scanning for larger treatment zones, these lasers provide unparalleled visual results. In fact, most patients tell us they see better after iLASIK than with contact lenses or eyeglasses.

The iLASIK procedure is truly customized for you based on your individual vision profile. Many safety-minded organizations, including NASA and the U.S. military, rely on iLASIK technology. If you've been waiting for the right motivation to have laser vision correction, the iLASIK™ procedure is your reason to act.

You're Probably A Candidate

The reality is that the majority of people who meet the age and general health requirements are in fact good candidates for the iLASIK procedure. If you meet the basic criteria below, you are probably a good candidate for iLASIK:

  • You are at least 18 years old
  • You are in good general health
  • You have had a stable vision prescription for at least one year
  • You have no existing eye disease

Exceptional Vision Correction Technology At Every Step

When you have the iLASIK procedure, you'll get a completely integrated, completely personalized procedure based on advanced vision correction technology at every step.

Step 1 — Creating Your Personal Vision Profile

The first step in the iLASIK procedure is to perform a series of tests to determine the individual characteristics of your vision, including the use of our WaveScan™ technology. The WaveScan system creates a 3-D map of the unique imperfections of your eyes. Then our Advanced CustomVue process uses the digital information from that map to design a custom treatment for both of your eyes.

Step 2 — Making The iLASIK Flap

The iLASIK procedure exclusively uses an advanced technology called the IntraLase™ Method. The IntraLase Method is a 100% blade-free approach to creating your corneal flap, the thin flap of tissue that Dr. Oursler folds back in order to perform your iLASIK procedure.

Step 3 — Your Laser Vision Correction

Now that you've had your personal vision profile using WaveScan technology and your blade-free corneal flap, your vision can be corrected using the Advanced CustomVue treatment within the iLASIK procedure. The Advanced CustomVue process has earned FDA approval to treat the broadest range of vision imperfections possible, including mild-to-severe nearsightedness, farsightedness and all types of astigmatism.

What is the CustomVue™ System?

Your vision is unique - as personal as your fingerprint or your DNA. The CustomVue System™, allows us to measure the unique focusing qualities of your eyes. This FDA approved technology is the safest and most precise form of vision correction now available.

Frequently Asked Questions About iLASIK

How do I know if I am a good candidate for LASIK?

The best way to find out if you are a good candidate for LASIK is to proceed with the free refractive consultation. During the consultation, Dr. Oursler will evaluate your current prescription, vision needs, and expectations. In addition, he will explain the LASIK procedure and answer any questions you might have. It is crucial to understand individual vision needs and expectations, as well as provide professional guidance in recommending whether or not you should proceed with surgery.

How soon will I see after my surgery?

Most of our patients notice immediate improvement right after they step up off the table, but the visual recovery varies for each person. Most patients are seeing well enough to drive and go back to work within 24 to 48 hours. The speed at which your vision improves is due to the individual rates of healing and degree of correction. In most patients, the vision is stable by three months.

Does LASIK hurt?

No. Anesthetic eye drops are used during surgery, so that the procedure is completely painless. Patients often do feel a moderate amount of pressure sensation during surgery, but pain is not a normal part of the procedure. If pain is experienced during surgery, the patient should notify Dr. Oursler, as it is not expected. After surgery, some patients may experience a gritty or sandy feeling in the eyes, some tearing and some light sensitivity, and small fluctuations in their vision, as well as halos around lights at night. These are all temporary and improve.

Will I still be a candidate if my prescription is really strong?

With LASIK at Graystone Eye, we have the ability to correct a range of nearsightedness from approximately -1.00D to -12.00D or higher. Farsightedness is more limited. We typically are comfortable correcting up to +6.00 diopters. Sometimes, if the patient's prescription is higher, refractive lens replacement may be a better option for correcting the vision.

Does LASIK correct astigmatism?

Yes, we have the ability to correct astigmatism with the LASIK procedure. It is important to remember that not every prescription is correctable with LASIK and other factors are taken into consideration when evaluating a person for candidacy for LASIK surgery. Please call 828.304.6611 or request a free consultation online.

Why the IntraLase™ method?

The Traditional Method utilizes a microkeratome (or blade) to create the flap, whereas the IntraLase Method™ uses a laser for a totally-blade free procedure. Due to its consistently predictable outcomes, Dr. Oursler utlizes the IntraLase Method™ exclusively.

I have thin corneas. Can I still have LASIK?

Due to its precision, the IntraLase Method™ now allows treatment for people with thin corneas who were previously told they were not good candidates for LASIK.

Why should I choose Graystone over another LASIK provider?

Dr. Oursler spends an extensive amount of time educating his patients in the pre-operative evaluation and helping the patient decide what refractive procedure, if any, is right for them.

He is very thorough and detail oriented during surgery and does not rush patients through the surgery.

Dr. Oursler does all the pre- and postoperative evaluation himself. He has completed a LASIK fellowship and has extensive experience identifying and correcting the complications that can occur with LASIK.

Dr. Oursler has an excellent relationship with our network of Graystone affiliated eye doctors. While your postoperative care can be arranged through one of these doctors, Dr. Oursler is available to see you 5 days a week in the Hickory area if you have minor complications from the LASIK procedure.

Graystone Eye has been a provider of quality eye care in the Hickory area for over 30 years and will continue to be in the area for long into the future. Some of our lower price competitors don't have the same track record.

Our commitment to your final visual outcome is unparalleled by any of our competitors.

Our threshold for re-treating patients is very low, and we are available at a phone call for any postoperative concerns. Compare the Advantages.

What Is an enhancement?

If the goal of the surgery was not achieved with the initial LASIK procedure, we may want to fine tune your vision with another surgery called an enhancement. The enhancement is very similar to the first surgery. The existing flap is surgically lifted with a different instrument following the original incision line. The enhancement procedure is typically done no sooner than three months after the initial procedure.

Is an advertisement for "All Laser Correction" the same as All Laser iLASIK?

No, this is probably a misrepresentation. PRK could be technically called “all laser vision correction,” but this does not involve making a cornea flap and does not utilize the precision of iLASIK. Be sure to ask for iLASIK by name. Only iLASIK offers the safety of micron level precision of a truly all-laser surgical approach. Patients must be sure that only the IntraLase FS pulsion laser is used to create the corneal flap in iLASIK.

Is iLASIK more expensive?

iLASIK is now more affordable than ever! The two most advanced technologies offered Graystone Eyer are: IntraLase laser to create the cornea flap, and WaveFront-Guided Customized vision correction. Our center has an IntraLase laser, and a FDA approved excimer laser for WaveFront-Guided Customized treatments. However, because our clinic specializes in laser vision correction, our fees are highly competitive and our patients tell us the added level of safety and assurance offered by Graystone Eye is well worth the cost when considering laser vision correction surgery.

Compared to the lifetime cost of glasses, contact lens, and general lens care over the course of 5-6 years, iLASIK pays for itself. Patients can eliminate glasses in most cases and have clear, natural vision. Most insurance companies do not cover laser vision correction.

How do I pay for the iLASIK procedure?

We accept Visa, Mastercard, Checks, American Express, and Discover Card. We offer affordable payment plans through Care Credit with interest- free financing up to 24 months for those who qualify.

Does insurance pay for this procedure?

We will be happy to assist you in determining whether your insurance company will cover your procedure. If your company does provide the benefit, we will assist in filing your claim.

Can I use my Flex Spending Account?

Your company may offer a Flex Spending Account, which allows you to set aside pre-tax dollars to pay for your medical expenses such as iLASIK. Use our FSA Savings Calculator to find out how much you can save by using your FSA to pay for iLASIK.

Visian ICL Contact Lenses

When iLASIK Isn't An Option

The Visian ICL is an implantable contact lens that works with the eye to correct vision. Unlike traditional contact lenses that go on the surface of the eye, Visian ICL is surgically inserted into the eye where it provides excellent quality of vision for a wide range of correction needs.

Visian ICL

How Is It Implanted?

Although similar to cataract surgery, the natural lens is not removed during the Visian ICL procedure. The lens is implanted into the posterior chamber of the eye behind the iris and in front of the natural lens. It is not attached to any structures within the eye and is designed to stay in position. You enjoy a natural cosmetic appearance because, after it is inserted, the Visian ICL is invisible both to you and everyone.

The lens is designed to remain in the eye indefinitely without any maintenance for a lifetime of clear vision. Should your vision change, it can be removed by a simple surgical procedure.

Benefits of the Visian ICL

Because the Visian ICL is implanted into the eye, it is suitable for many patients who might not be candidates for iLASIK. Patients with extreme or special vision correction needs or patients with thin corneas may benefit from Visian ICL technology. Another bonus to the Visian ICL is the superb night vision. Patients very rarely experience any halos or glares at night, which is possible for other refractive procedures.

For more information about Visian ICL, go to visianinfo.com.

Lens Replacement for Presbyopia

In addition to standard lens implants historically used for cataracts, Graystone Eye now offers the ReSTOR®, Crystalens®, Tecnis® Multifocal, and Toric Advanced Technology Lens Implants for better vision at all ranges, delivering high levels of glasses-free vision. FDA-approved for use in the US, millions of Advanced Technology Lenses have been implanted worldwide since 1994.

Lens Replacement for Presbyopia

Presbyopia is a condition brought on by the natural aging process of the human lens. Everyone, including those with perfect vision all their life, will be affected by this condition. Most people turn to reading glasses or bifocals to compensate for this loss of near vision. fortunately, we live in an age of tremendous technological advances in the development of intraocular lenses (IOLs). This state-of-the-art technology offers individuals new freedom from eyeglasses and contact lenses.

Dreams to Reality

For many people, life without bifocals or reading glasses is something they just dream about. With the FDA approved ReSTOR®, Crystalens®, Tecnis® Multifocal lenses, and Toric, dreams are becoming reality for Graystone patients with presbyopia.

Safety and Success Rate

Lens Replacement for Presbyopia

Intraocular lenses have been on the market since 1949 for use in cataract patients. Lens implantation is performed on an outpatient basis and requires just a few hours of your time from start to finish. Your eye is treated with anesthetic drops prior to the procedure and you will feel little, if any, discomfort. A tiny incision is made in the eye to allow a small instrument to break up and remove the natural lens. Once the natural lens is removed, the new lens is inserted through the same incision and set into its permanent position. There are no stitches required.

After the procedure, Dr. Oursler will examine your eye within 24 hours and give eye drops to guard against infection. Most patients see well enough to return to their routine activities the next day. Complications are rare and the vast majority see well enough to pass a drivers test and read a newspaper without glasses.

Frequently Asked Questions About Lens Replacement

Is iLASIK a better option?

Whether to go with lens replacement or iLASIK depends not only on the patient’s age, but the amount of correction they need. If the patient has a high amount of astigmatism, they are better served with iLASIK surgery. Also, individuals with low nearsightedness do quite well with iLASIK up until about age 60 if they have no signs of cataracts. Farsighted individuals do much better with lens replacement surgery starting at about age 45.

Lens Replacement over the age of 45 is a good choice

Is lens replacement an option for patients with previous LASIK or RK?

Yes, depending on the corneal topography and degree of astigmatism present.

How is astigmatism compensated for with lens replacement?

Dr. Oursler can address small amounts of astigmatism with relaxing incisions. Higher amounts of astigmatism may require an iLASIK touchup.

How is the Alcon ReSTOR lens different from the Crystalens?

The ReSTOR lens does not depend on a hinge and is not mobile inside the eye like the Crystalens. The ReSTOR lens has a multifocal optic, splitting up the light for a near focal point and a distance focal point. This has advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that it gives more reproducible near vision, as it is less dependent on movement, which can vary from individual to individual. A disadvantage would be some loss of contrast sensitivity and a mild halo effect at night.

Does insurance or Medicare cover the cost for lens replacement?

Insurance or Medicare does not cover the cost of lens replacement for presbyopia patients. However, if a patient has developed visually significant cataracts, insurance or Medicare will cover the cost of surgery for a standard IOL. For an additional charge, patients may opt to upgrade to the newer presbyopia correcting lenses.

Can I use my Flex Spending Account?

Your company may offer a Flex Spending Account, which allows you to set aside pre-tax dollars to pay for your medical expenses. Use our FSA Savings Calculator to find out how much you can save by using your FSA to pay for iLASIK.

Surface Laser Correction

SLC

Surface Laser Correction (SLC) is a similar procedure to iLASIK for correcting nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Like iLASIK, it utilizes the Excimer laser to reshape the cornea. In fact, the actual laser application in SLC is identical to iLASIK. The difference is that the treatment is done directly on the surface of the cornea without a flap. The very thin protective epithelial layer is first removed allowing access to the underlying corneal surface for the laser treatment. The epithelial layer then grows back over several days. After the procedure, a bandage contact lens is placed in your eye. Begin using your eye drops as directed by Dr. Oursler.

SLC is often a better choice than iLASIK for patients with thinner corneas or pre-existing dry eyes. Also, patients who are at higher risk of eye trauma, such as military personnel, may prefer SLC. It is slightly safer than iLASIK as the corneal flap is not involved, but it entails a slower recovery. Because the protective epithelial layer has to heal, patients may not be seeing well enough to work for three to five days. Dr. Oursler can discuss with you individually if SLC is a better choice for you than iLASIK.

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Graystone Eye

Patient Information

As a patient of Graystone Eye, you could not be more important to us. We will make recommendations for you as if you were our own family. Graystone Eye has been an intricate part of the Hickory Unifour area for over 45 years, and is committed to continuing that legacy for years to come. We would like to make your Graystone Eye experience as easy and enjoyable as possible. Listed below is more information to help prepare you for your visit at Graystone.


About Dr. R.E. (Trey) Oursler, III

Dr. Oursler, Graystone's Refractive Surgeon

Graystone Eye's Refractive Surgery Specialist

Ralph (Trey) E. Oursler, III, MD, is Graystone Eye's board certified and fellowship trained refractive surgeon. In practice for over ten years, he and his staff have performed thousands of LASIK procedures and he has consistently been named one of LaserVision's Top 100 LASIK surgeons in the United States.

Dr. Oursler received his medical degree from Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest University. He completed his residency at the Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia, PA, and his fellowship in LASIK at the prestigious Barnet-Dulaney Eye Center in Phoenix, AZ. He is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Society.

In 2008, Dr. Oursler was one of the first surgeons in the Carolinas to begin performing iLASIK, the newest vision correction procedure approved by the FDA. iLASIK combines the safety and precision of the laser with individualized WaveFront Custom technology for unsurpassed results in patients' vision. In addition, Dr. Oursler specializes in advanced, multi-focal lens implants that provide better near, far, and in-between vision for many patients.

Dr. Oursler and his staff are committed to your vision. During your initial visit, they will discuss your refractive options and expectations with you in order to personalize your procedure for your individual needs. There are no hidden fees or additional charges and Graystone Eye provides free enhancements or retreatments, if needed.

Compare The Advantages

Experience

Dr. R.E. Oursler, III, Graystone's fellowship trained refractive surgeon, has been named one of LaserVision's Top 100 LASIK surgeons in the country. He and his staff have performed thousands of refractive procedures.

Commitment

Graystone Advantages

Dr. Oursler and his staff will discuss your options and expectations with you and personalize your procedure for your individual needs. There are no hidden or additional charges and Graystone Eye provides free enhancements or retreatments if needed. Also, Graystone has been part of the Catawba Valley community for over 30 years. Rest assured they will be here for you in the future.

Convenience

All LASIK procedures are done at Graystone's Laser Refractive Surgery Center in Hickory. Dr. Oursler and the Graystone physicians are available in Hickory 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.

Lifetime Commitment

Graystone Eye is so confident that you will be satisfied with the results of your LASIK procedure that we provide this Lifetime Guarantee:

Graystone promises to provide any necessary retreatments to maintain your distance vision at no charge for your entire life.*

To qualify for this benefit, you must have a complete vision exam by your Graystone-approved eye doctor every year following your procedure. Although the need for retreatment is rare after the first 12-month postoperative period, should your unaided distance vision ever drop below 20/40 (in the absence of cataracts or other ocular pathology) and the Graystone Laser Refractive Surgery Center determines that a retreatment will improve your vision, it will be provided at no additional cost.

Graystone has been a part of our community for over 40 years. It is our long-standing commitment to the highest quality of care that enables us to offer this Lifetime Guarantee. The benefit comes with the added assurance that Graystone will continue to be a provider of community-based eye health excellence long into the future.

*Some restrictions apply.

What To Expect After Your Procedure

Immediately following your procedure, your vision may be quite blurry or hazy. This is due to swelling of the cornea and will resolve with time. The speed of visual recovery is different for everyone so BE PATIENT and don’t compare your early vision to others who have been through the procedure.

Some degree of scratchiness or foreign body sensation, burning and tearing is also normal within the first 24 hours and will improve with time. Tylenol or Ibuprofen can alleviate these symptoms. We encourage our patients to go home and rest their eyes after the surgery, ideally taking a 4-6 hour nap. Also, we ask that you avoid bending, lifting, exercise, and driving the day of the procedure (you will have been given a mild sedative that can last for several hours).

The following day, your vision will be significantly improved and you can resume full activities, including exercise, driving, and even returning to work. You will need a quick post-op eye exam the next day (which you can usually drive to yourself).

Your vision may fluctuate but will continue to improve as you heal for weeks to months depending on the particular procedure that was performed. In some cases, it may be up to 6 months before the final result (or best vision) is achieved. A small percentage of patients will need a 2nd procedure, or touch-up, before the final result is obtained. This is usually performed several months after the initial surgery.

Schedule An Appointment

You may schedule a Refractive Surgery appointment by calling (828) 304-6611 or by filling out and submitting this form to our office. Under 'Appointment Time' request the dates and times that are most convenient for you. Someone from Graystone Eye will contact you within the next business day to confirm your appointment.

All information is required.


Contact Information

First Name

Last Name

Phone

Email


Appointment Time

Please indicate the date and time that is most desirable for your appointment.

am pm

What is an optional date and time for your appointment?

am pm

Seminar Registration

Call (828) 304-6611 for our next seminar date.

Attend our FREE Refractive Surgery seminar and learn about vision correction options including iLASIK and Advanced Technology Lens Implants.

Everyone attending will receive an $800 certificate toward an iLASIK procedure and be eligible to win a $1,500 certificate. Discount certificates are not transferrable and may not be used in combination with any other insurance or promotion. You must be in attendance and over 18 years old to win.

Please fill out the following information and send to our office. If you prefer, you may register by calling (828) 304-6611. All information is required.


First Name

Last Name

DOB

Phone

Email

FLEX Plan Savings Calculator

A Flexible Spending Account (FSA), also called flex plan, reimbursement account, Flex 125, Tax Saving Plan, Medical Spending Account, a Section 125, or a Cafeteria Plan, is an employer-sponsored benefit that allows employees to pay for eligible health care expenses, such as refractive laser surgery, with pre-tax dollars.

How it works

The money you put into a Flexible Spending Account is deducted from your pay BEFORE your Federal, State, or Social Security taxes are calculated, resulting in a decreased amount of taxable income that you report. You can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year through an FSA. The higher your tax bracket, the more you save.

Please note that it's recommended you check with the Benefits Manager where you work to see if your company participates in an FSA program and how that particular program works. It's important you carefully calculate how much money to contribute for the year. By law, you'll lose whatever unused amount remains in your account at the end of the year.

Use our FLEX Plan Savings Calculator to find out how a Flexible Spending Account can save you up to 30%* off the cost of iLASIK.

* This calculator is meant for illustrative purposes only and is not intended to offer tax advice or quote an exact procedure cost.


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Patient Privacy

This Notice describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed, and how you can get access to this information. Please review it carefully.

WHO WILL FOLLOW THIS NOTICE

This notice describes the privacy practices of Graystone Eye which extend to:

  • Any health care professional authorized to enter information into your chart (including physicians, PAs, RNs, etc.);
  • All areas of the Practice (front desk, administration, billing and collection, etc.);
  • All employees, staff and other personnel that work for or with our Practice;
  • Our business associates (including a billing service, or facilities to which we refer patients), on-call physicians, and so on.

The Practice provides this Notice to comply with the Privacy Regulations issued by the Department of Health and Human Services in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

OUR PLEDGE REGARDING MEDICAL INFORMATION

We understand that your medical information is personal to you, and we are committed to protecting the information about you. As our patient, we create paper and electronic medical records about your health, our care for you, and the services and/or items we provide to you as our patient. We need this record to provide for your care and to comply with certain legal requirements.

We are required by law to:

  • make sure that the protected health information about you is kept private;
  • provide you with a Notice of our Privacy Practices and your legal rights with respect to protected health information about you; and
  • follow the conditions of the Notice that is currently in effect.

HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU

The following categories describe different ways that we use and disclose protected health information that we have and share with others. Each category of uses or disclosures provides a general explanation and provides some examples of uses. Not every use or disclosure in a category is either listed or actually in place. The explanation is provided for your general information only.

Medical Treatment:
We use previously given medical information about you to provide you with current or prospective medical treatment or services. Therefore we may, and most likely will, disclose medical information about you to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical students, or hospital personnel who are involved in taking care of you. For example, a doctor to whom we refer you for ongoing or further care may need your medical record. Different areas of the Practice also may share medical information about you including your record(s), prescriptions, requests of lab work and x-rays. We may also discuss your medical information with you to recommend possible treatment options or alternatives that may be of interest to you. We also may disclose medical information about you to people outside the Practice who may be involved in your medical care after you leave the Practice; this may include your family members, or other personal representatives authorized by you or by a legal mandate (a guardian or other person who has been named to handle your medical decisions, should you become incompetent).

Payment:
We may use and disclose medical information about you for services and procedures so they may be billed and collected from you, an insurance company, or any other third party. For example, we may need to give your health care information, about treatment you received at the Practice, to obtain payment or reimbursement for the care. We may also tell your health plan and/or referring physician about a treatment you are going to receive to obtain prior approval or to determine whether your plan will cover the treatment, to facilitate payment of a referring physician, or the like.

Health Care Operations:
We may use and disclose medical information about you so that we can run our Practice more efficiently and make sure that all of our patients receive quality care. These uses may include reviewing our treatment and services to evaluate the performance of our staff, deciding what additional services to offer and where, deciding what services are not needed, and whether certain new treatments are effective. We may also disclose information to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical students, and other personnel for review and learning purposes. We may also combine the medical information we have with medical information from other Practices to compare how we are doing and see where we can make improvements in the care and services we offer. We may remove information that identifies you from this set of medical information so others may use it to study health care and health care delivery without learning who the specific patients are. We may also use or disclose information about you for internal or external utilization review and/or quality assurance, to business associates for purposes of helping us to comply with our legal requirements, to auditors to verify our records, to billing companies to aid us in this process and the like. We shall endeavor, at all times when business associates are used, to advise them of their continued obligation to maintain the privacy of your medical records

Appointment and Patient Recall Reminders:
We may ask that you sign in writing at the Receptionists' Desk, a "Sign In" log on the day of your appointment with the Practice. We may use and disclose medical information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment for medical care with the Practice or that you are due to receive periodic care from the Practice. This contact may be by phone, in writing, e-mail, general mail, or otherwise and may involve leaving an e-mail, a message on an answering machines, or otherwise which could (potentially) be received or intercepted by others.

Emergency Situations:
In addition, we may disclose medical information about you to an organization assisting in a disaster relief effort or in an emergency situation so that your family can be notified about your condition, status and location.

Research:
Under certain circumstances, we may use and disclose medical information about you for research purposes regarding medications, efficiency of treatment protocols and the like. All research projects are subject to an approval process, which evaluates a proposed research project and its use of medical information. Before we use or disclose medical information for research, the project will have been approved through this research approval process. We will obtain an Authorization from you before using or disclosing your individually identifiable health information unless the authorization requirement has been waived. If possible, we will make the information non-identifiable to a specific patient. If the information has been sufficiently de-identified, an authorization for the use or disclosure is not required.

Required By Law:
We will disclose medical information about you when required to do so by federal, state or local law.

To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety:
We may use and disclose medical information about you when necessary to prevent a serious threat either to your specific health and safety or the health and safety of the public or another person. Any disclosure, however, would only be to someone able to help prevent the threat.

Organ and Tissue Donation:
If you are an organ donor, we may release medical information to organizations that handle organ procurement or organ, eye or tissue transplantation or to an organ donation bank, as necessary to facilitate organ or tissue donation and transplantation.

Workers' Compensation:
We may release medical information about you for workers' compensation or similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.

Public Health Risks:
Law or public policy may require us to disclose medical information about you for public health activities. These activities generally include the following:

  • to prevent or control disease, injury or disability;
  • to report births and deaths;
  • to report child abuse or neglect;
  • to report reactions to medications or problems with products;
  • to notify people of recalls of products they may be using;
  • to notify a person who may have been exposed to a disease or may be at risk for contracting or spreading a disease or condition;
  • notify the appropriate government authority if we believe a patient has been the victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence. We will only make this disclosure if you agree or when required or authorized by law.

Investigation and Government Activities:
We may disclose medical information to a local, state or federal agency for activities authorized by law. These oversight activities include, for example, audits, investigations, inspections, and licensure. These activities are necessary for the payor, the government and other regulatory agencies to monitor the health care system, government programs, and compliance with civil rights laws.

Lawsuits and Disputes:
If you are involved in a lawsuit or a dispute, we may disclose medical information about you in response to a court or administrative order. This is particularly true if you make your health an issue. We may also disclose medical information about you in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process by someone else involved in the dispute. We shall attempt in these cases to tell you about the request so that you may obtain an order protecting the information requested if you so desire. We may also use such information to defend ourselves or any member of our Practice in any actual or threatened action.

Law Enforcement:
We may release medical information if asked to do so by a law enforcement official:

  • In response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, summons or similar process;
  • To identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person;
  • About the victim of a crime if, under certain limited circumstances, we are unable to obtain the person's agreement;
  • About a death we believe may be the result of criminal conduct;
  • About criminal conduct at the Practice; and
  • In emergency circumstances to report a crime; the location of the crime or victims; or the identity, description or location of the person who committed the crime.

Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors:
We may release medical information to a coroner or medical examiner. This may be necessary, for example, to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death. We may also release medical information about patients of the Practice to funeral directors as necessary to carry out their duties.

Inmates:
If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement official, we may release medical information about you to the correctional institution or law enforcement official. This release would be necessary (1) for the institution to provide you with health care; (2) to protect your health and safety or the health and safety of others; or (3) for the safety and security of the correctional institution.

CHANGES TO THIS NOTICE

We reserve the right to change this notice at any time. We reserve the right to make the revised or changed notice effective for medical information we already have about you as well as any information we may receive from you in the future. We will post a copy of the current notice in the Practice. The notice will contain on the first page, in the top right-hand corner, the date of last revision and effective date. In addition, each time you visit the Practice for treatment or health care services you may request a copy of the current notice in effect.

COMPLAINTS

If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with the Practice or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with the Practice, contact our Privacy Officer who will direct you on how to file an office complaint. All complaints must be submitted in writing, and all complaints shall be investigated, without repercussion to you. The Privacy Officer can be reached at this number 828-322-2050. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.

OTHER USES OF MEDICAL INFORMATION

Other uses and disclosures of medical information not covered by this notice or the laws that apply to us will be made only with your written permission, unless those uses can be reasonably inferred from the intended uses above. If you have provided us with your permission to use or disclose medical information about you, you may revoke that permission, in writing, at any time. If you revoke your permission, we will no longer use or disclose medical information about you for the reasons covered by your written authorization. You understand that we are unable to take back any disclosures we have already made with your permission, and that we are required to retain our records of the care that we provided to you.

YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU

You have the following rights regarding medical information we maintain about you:

Right to Inspect and Copy:
You have the right to inspect and copy medical information that may be used to make decisions about your care. This includes your own medical and billing records, but does not include psychotherapy notes. Upon proof of an appropriate legal relationship, records of others related to you or under your care (guardian or custodial) may also be disclosed.

To inspect and copy your medical record, you must submit your request in writing to our Compliance Officer. Ask the front desk person for the name of the Compliance Officer. If you request a copy of the information, we may charge a fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other supplies (tapes, disks, etc.) associated with your request.

We may deny your request to inspect and copy in certain very limited circumstances. If you are denied access to medical information, you may request that our Compliance Committee review the denial. Another licensed health care professional chosen by the Practice will review your request and the denial. The person conducting the review will not be the person who denied your request. We will comply with the outcome and recommendations from that review.

Right to Amend: If you feel that the medical information we have about you in your record is incorrect or incomplete, then you may ask us to amend the information, following the procedure below. You have the right to request an amendment for as long as the Practice maintains your medical record. To request an amendment, your request must be submitted in writing, along with your intended amendment and a reason that supports your request to amend. The amendment must be dated and signed by you and notarized. We may deny your request for an amendment if it is not in writing or does not include a reason to support the request. In addition, we may deny your request if you ask us to amend information that:

  • Was not created by us, unless the person or entity that created the information is no longer available to make the amendment;
  • Is not part of the medical information kept by or for the Practice;
  • Is not part of the information which you would be permitted to inspect and copy; or
  • Is inaccurate and incomplete.

Right to an Accounting of Disclosures:
You have the right to request an "accounting of disclosures." This is a list of the disclosures we made of medical information about you, to others.

To request this list, you must submit your request in writing. Your request must state a time period not longer than six (6) years back and may not include dates before April 14, 2003 (or the actual implementation date of the HIPAA Privacy Regulations). Your request should indicate in what form you want the list (for example, on paper, electronically). We will notify you of the cost involved and you may choose to withdraw or modify your request at that time before any costs are incurred.

Right to Request Restrictions:
You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the medical information we use or disclose about you for treatment, payment or health care operations. You also have the right to request a limit on the medical information we disclose about you to someone who is involved in your care or the payment for your care (a family member or friend). For example, you could ask that we not use or disclose information about a particular treatment you received.

We are not required to agree to your request and we may not be able to comply with your request. If we do agree, we will comply with your request except that we shall not comply, even with a written request, if the information is excepted from the consent requirement or we are otherwise required to disclose the information by law.

To request restrictions, you must make your request in writing. In your request, you indicate: (1) what information you want to limit; (2) whether you want to limit our use, disclosure or both; and (3) to whom you want the limits to apply, (e.g., disclosures to your children, parents, spouse, etc.)

Right to Request Confidential Communications:
You have the right to request that we communicate with you about medical matters in a certain way or at a certain location. For example, you can ask that we only contact you at work or by mail, that we not leave voice mail or e-mail, or the like.

To request confidential communications, you must make your request in writing. We will not ask you the reason for your request. We will accommodate all reasonable requests. Your request must specify how or where you wish us to contact you.

Right to a Paper Copy of This Notice:
You have the right to a paper copy of this notice. You may ask us to give you a copy of this notice at any time. Even if you have agreed to receive this notice electronically, you are still entitled to a paper copy.

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Graystone Eye

Contact Information /
Driving Directions

Street Address

2424 Century Place, SE,Hickory, NC 28602

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 2588, Hickory, NC 28603

Phone

828.304.6611

Graystone Eye Hickory Office
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