Frequently Asked Questions
Does USA Health have a dermatologist?
Does USA Health have an ophthalmologist?A:
Currently, USA Health has a pediatric ophthalmologist, Aref Rifai.
I went to the ER over the weekend and they told me to make an appointment at Strada but I don’t know what specialty or which doctor. Can you help me?
How do I send my medical records to another clinic?A:
If you would like to send your medical records to a healthcare provider outside the USA Health network, please contact the outpatient clinic where you have received care to receive further instructions. If you were a patient of USA Health University Hospital, please call (251) 471-7350, and if you were a patient of USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital, please call (251) 415-1642.
How do I request an appointment?A:
USA Health now makes it easier than ever to request an appointment with a provider. Use our online appointment request form and a USA representative will be in touch with you shortly.
How do I get to the clinic?A:
We have several different clinic locations, so you’ll need to remember for which clinic your appointment is scheduled. For contact information and directions, see the full listing of our locations here.
When is my appointment? Who is my appointment with?A:
If you have a general question about an appointment or provider, please contact the clinic directly. You can also call our patient navigator at (251) 434-3711, and someone will be happy to transfer you to the clinic.
How do I make a payment?A:
USA Health offers multiple ways to pay your bill. Payments can be made in-person, mailing a check, via telephone, online or through your MyUSAHealth patient portal account.
If you would like to mail a check, please send your payment to the following address:
USA Health Physicians Billing Services LLC
P.O. Box 746434
Atlanta, GA 30374-6434
You may contact us directly at 1-866-233-6494 to pay via telephone.
If you wish to pay online, you can pay by selecting the facility above and follow the instructions to complete payment or you can pay by logging into your MyUSAHealth patient portal account if you are an existing patient.
We accept major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Discover), money orders, personal checks, and cash.
I have insurance. Why am I getting a bill?A:
Many insurance plans include co-insurance, deductibles, and co-payments that are the patient’s responsibility to pay. Once your insurance has processed a claim, you will be billed for those amounts according to the Explanation of Benefits received from your insurance company. Directly contact your insurance company if you have questions regarding how your claim was processed.
Do you have my correct insurance?A:
For questions regarding your insurance information, or if you need to update your information, call USA Physicians Patient Business Services at 1-866-233-6494. Always present your insurance card at the time services are rendered.
Will my insurance cover certain procedures?A:
To know for sure you will need to get those answers from your insurance company or refer to your plan manual for details on covered services.
Can I make payment arrangements on my account?A:
Yes. If you cannot pay your balance in full, please contact one of our Patient Account Representatives and let them assist you in setting up an arrangement. Please call USA Physicians Group Patient Business Services at 1-866-233-6494 to make payment arrangements on your account. Learn more about Financial Assistance here.
How do I get an itemized statement of my account activity?A:
We ask that you request in advance by calling 1-866-233-6494. We will contact you once the information is complete and will make arrangements to get the information to you.
If I use my Google Maps or Apple Maps app, sometimes it takes me through nearby neighborhoods. What is the best route to take to get to the University Hospital?A:
Mapping services such as Google and Apple Maps sometimes route drivers through nearby neighborhoods and industrial areas. These routes can involve many turns, and some drivers have gotten lost while trying to navigate them. We encourage drivers to follow the directions provided below:
Directions from South Mobile County
Take I-10 East to I-65 North. Take Springhill Avenue Exit and turn right onto Springhill Avenue. Go 1.3 miles and turn left onto Mobile Street (traffic signal). Go 0.8 miles and after the road curves, University Hospital is the 2nd building on the right after the bridge.
Directions From North Mobile County
Take I-65 South to the Springhill Avenue Exit and turn right onto Springhill Avenue. Go 1.3 miles and turn left onto Mobile Street (traffic signal). Go 0.8 miles and after the road curves, University Hospital is the 2nd building on the right after the bridge.
Directions From Semmes/Lucedale
Take Highway 98 to Springhill Avenue. Take a left onto Springhill Avenue and go 0.6 miles to Mobile Street. Take a left onto Mobile Street and go 0.8 miles and after the road curves, University Hospital is the 2nd building on the right after the bridge.
Directions From Baldwin County
Take I-10 West to US Highway 98. Take Highway 98 to Springhill Avenue. Go approximately 4 miles to Mobile Street. Take a right onto Mobile Street and go 0.8 miles. After the curve in the road, University Hospital will be the 2nd building on the right after the bridge.
Where do I park at the University Hospital?A:
There is ample parking in front and along the eastern sides of our hospital.
Where do I park at the Children’s & Women’s Hospital?A:
There is ample parking in front of the hospital, with a covered breezeway in front of the lobby and the Emergency Department entrances.
Where do I park at the Strada Patient Care Center?A:
There is ample parking for patients on both the western and eastern sides of the building.
Where do I park at the Mitchell Cancer Institute?A:
We offer free valet parking services at MCI. Just pull up to the front entrance and a greeter will take care of the rest. The hugs are free, too!
What items should I bring with me if I am checking into the hospital?A:
If your physician has determined that an overnight stay, or longer, is required for your visit with us, there are some items that you should bring with you.
- A list of your current medications: This should include name, strength of your medication, and the times when you take your medication. Please include any over the counter medications and any vitamins or natural supplements.
- Important telephone numbers: family and friends that you may need to reach during your stay.
- Insurance card and personal identification
- Pen and paper: Write down questions for your physician or nurse. You may forget later!
- Robe, slippers, underwear, socks
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant
- Dentures and denture case, if needed
- Glasses or contacts, with cases, if needed
- Reading material
Please do not bring valuables with you, such as large sums of money or jewelry. Also, please do not bring electric shavers or hair dryers. If you need help with shaving or other personal needs, your nurse or patient care assistant will help you.
I am being discharged. What do I do now?A:
Your nurse or another healthcare provider will give you details on the discharge location from our hospital. It will vary by the type of service you received and also by hospital location.
We encourage you to take advantage of our bedside pharmacy program to have your prescriptions filled before you leave the hospital. We also encourage you to practice good safety habits while in your car leaving the hospital. Be sure to wear a seat belt.
Ask about any side effects from your medications. Some may make you feel sleepy, restrict your ability to drive or your ability to make good decisions. Some medicines have side effects when combined. Make arrangements to have someone else drive you home. For at least the next four to six hours, do not operate machinery, make important decisions, take sleeping pills, pain pills or drink alcohol. It is also important to know that the use of narcotic medications can be habit forming.
You may have been referred to your regular doctor or provider or a specialist. Please follow-up as instructed. If your condition worsens, or you can’t get in to see a medical provider, contact the Emergency Department.
I want to shadow or observe—I need those hours to apply to a professional program.A:
Shadowing, observation, and internship hours are scheduled through the individual departments. Please call the hospital’s main number, (251) 415-1000, and asked to be transferred to the particular department you are interested in shadowing. More information on the Clinical Observation Program, please visit our Engagement Opportunities page.
I have a long holiday break and I would like to volunteer at that time.A:
Thank you for thinking of USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital. We know some breaks can be 4-6 weeks or longer. If you are a former volunteer, contact us prior to your break and let us know your availability. You may need to complete some paperwork. If you have never been a volunteer, unfortunately this is not enough time to get through our process. Please plan on starting at the beginning of the school year or in the summer, then we would welcome you back during your breaks.
What are the uniform and dress code requirements to volunteer?A:
Volunteers are required to purchase and wear a uniform top while volunteering. In addition to the uniform top, volunteers must wear khaki pants, their name badge and closed-toe shoes. Artificial nails, visible tattoos and facial piercings are not permitted.
If I apply to volunteer at USA Health Children's & Women’s Hospital, am I automatically accepted?A:
Volunteering at USA Children's & Women’s Hospital is not a good match for everyone. We are happy to share about our program to make sure you are well-informed.
If I apply, how long before I can begin volunteering?A:
Thank you for being so excited to volunteer! Part of the process; however, is making sure we look after the safety and security of our patients. We require a background check, and training in areas such as confidentiality, infection control, safety and security, among others before a volunteer can begin. Generally, the application process takes about 6 weeks.
Can I volunteer to just rock babies?A:
Patient unit volunteers are self-starters who need to feel at ease interacting with patients of all ages. Our volunteers need to enjoy interacting with any age patient—infants, toddlers, school-age, teens and adults. Being a volunteer requires flexibility. Volunteers may be called upon to help in another area or with special events.
I am looking for job experience; can I get that by volunteering?A:
We do not have an official volunteer-to-work program. All of our volunteer assignments are in areas where the department has requested a volunteer. The objective of being a volunteer is to support patients, families, and staff. All volunteers perform tasks at the direction of and on behalf of the hospital, without monetary compensation or expectation of compensation from USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital.
What should I know about volunteer assignments?A:
Many people think assignments only involve playing with children. We have many departments requesting volunteer assistance in more clerical/support roles. Assignments are based on your interest, availability and department needs.
Can I volunteer with a friend or family member?A:
Yes, it may be possible to place you in assignments on the same day, at the same time and in the same department as your friend or family member.
When should college students apply?A:
We know college students are in a variety of situations, yet still want to volunteer. We accept volunteer applications throughout the entire year. Please apply before the fall or spring semester. We want to make sure you have enough time to apply, get trained, and actually volunteer.
I am going to college locally and staying in town for the summer. When should I apply?A:
Great! You are available year-round. Feel free to apply anytime.
I am going to college locally, but going home for the summer. When should I apply?A:
We accept volunteer applications throughout the entire year. Please apply before the fall or spring semester. We want to make sure you have enough time to apply, get trained, and actually volunteer.
I am going to college out of town/state, but home locally for the summer. When should I apply?A:
Welcome home! We appreciate your desire to help. Please apply for the summer volunteer session in March and April. This will give you enough time to complete to application and screening process and still have plenty of time to volunteer during the summer.
Do you have volunteer assignments in every department? I plan on majoring in xxx and want to get experience there.A:
We respond to the needs of the staff when placing volunteers. If a department has requested a volunteer, then that is where we place them.
I am in college and my schedule changes. Can that be accommodated?A:
Yes, we have a large number of college students in our volunteer ranks. Communicate with our office and every effort will be made to work with your schedule. If you are a college student home for the summer, you will need to apply early in the spring to allow for our application and placement process.
If I apply for the teen program, am I automatically accepted?A:
The teen program continues to grow each year! We try our best to match as many teens with volunteer positions as possible, but due to the high number of applicants, it is not possible to find a match for everyone. Acceptance is also based on when we received your completed application.
When should teen volunteers apply?A:
Applications for the summer program are available in January on this page. Applications will be accepted until the program deadline, unless the program capacity is reached. Please apply early.
What are the steps to become a teen volunteer?A:
- Complete and submit the application.
- Give the reference forms to 2 people who are not related to you or send them the link.
- Return the references to the Department of Volunteer Services.
- Attend the mandatory Information Session.
- Enjoy volunteering and keep your commitment.
What are you looking for in a teen volunteer?A:
Our teen volunteers must be interested and enthusiastic about what they are doing. It is important to be independent and comfortable talking to children and adults. There are many rules regarding infection control, confidentiality, and interacting with children and families — it is important to pay attention to this information and follow these regulations. Hospital staff members expect a teen volunteer to follow directions and demonstrate maturity and respect. Remember… volunteering should be your idea!
When would I volunteer?A:
Our volunteers are given an assignment on the same day and same time each week; for example, Wednesdays 1-4 p.m. Typically, volunteers are here 4 hours each week. The staff relies on volunteers, so if you are going to miss more than 2 weeks in the summer, this may not be the right time to apply.
I volunteered as a teen. Do I need to complete another application?A:
No, you do not. Check with the Department of Volunteer Services. Depending on when you volunteered, we will let you know what needs to be updated.
What is the Pfzer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine?A:
The Pfzer-BioNtech product is a vaccine authorized under emergency use that may prevent you from getting COVID-19. Because this is an emergency utilization of the vaccine, this product has not been granted full approval yet. This means the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined at this time the benefits of this vaccine outweigh the risks when administered to persons who are 16 years of age or older. You are encouraged to read the full Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).
How is the vaccine given?A:
The vaccine is given via an intramuscular injection (shot) into your deltoid (shoulder) muscle.
How does this vaccine work? Will it affect my DNA?A:
This vaccine works by sending messenger RNA (mRNA) into your muscle with instructions to your immune cells to stimulate an immune response (protection) against COVID-19. It teaches your body how to make a protein that triggers antibody production so if the real virus enters your body at a later date, your immune cells will recognize it and protect you against it.
It does not enter the part of your cell where your DNA is found (the nucleus) and therefore will not change or alter your DNA.
Will this vaccine give me COVID-19?A:
No, this is not a live vaccine and will not give you COVID-19. The vaccine does not contain SARSCoV2 and cannot give you COVID-19.
Is this vaccine effective in preventing COVID-19?A:
Yes, according to the latest trial information, the Pfzer-BioNtech vaccine is 95 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 infection. The vaccine requires two injections 21 days apart to give you protection.
Do I have to get the second (booster) vaccine?A:
Yes, in order to provide you with immunity (protection), the Pfizer vaccine requires a second injection 21 days after the first dose. The manufacturer recommends that you adhere as close to the 21 day period as possible +/- 2 days.
How long does the vaccine last?A:
The exact duration is unknown at this time; however, information suggests the vaccine is effective for at least 3 months.
If I get the vaccine, do I still have to wear a mask?A:
Yes, even if you take the COVID-19 vaccine, you should follow masking guidelines and maintain social distancing.
Is the shot painful?A:
You may experience redness and/or muscle pain at the site of injection.
What are the most common side effects? What are the serious side effects?A:
Pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever are the most common side effects and should resolve in 2-3 days. Most people will experience more of these side effects following the administration of the second injection. It is important that recipients prepare and expect for potential side effects when receiving the vaccine.
Rarely, severe allergic reaction may occur within minutes up to an hour of receiving the vaccine. Signs of severe allergic reaction include difficulty breathing, swelling of the face and throat, increased heart rate, rash and dizziness. There may be other serious and unexpected side effects as this vaccine is still being studied in clinical trials.
What do I do if I am experiencing adverse side effects after taking the vaccine?A:
If you are experiencing severe or life threatening side effects, please seek emergency care or call 911. Otherwise, please seek medical care. You will also receive information at the time of vaccination regarding how to report side effects, including utilizing the CDC’s V-safe app, as well as how to use the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System.
Is the vaccine safe for pregnant women or women planning to become pregnant?A:
Pregnant women and women planning pregnancy in the next two months may choose to get the vaccine; however, they should discuss the vaccine with their healthcare provider first in order to ensure they are well-informed about the potential risks and benefits.
Is the vaccine safe for nursing mothers?A:
Yes, lactating mothers can receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Who should not get the vaccine?A:
You should not get the vaccine if you have had severe allergic reaction to an ingredient in the vaccine or if you had a serious allergic reaction to a previous dose.
How do I know if I’m allergic to anything in the vaccine?A:
Vaccine ingredients can be found in the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).
Can I get the vaccine if I am immunocompromised?A:
Immunocompromised persons can choose to receive the vaccine; however, they should discuss the risks and benefits with their healthcare provider first.
Am I still eligible to receive the vaccine if I tested positive for COVID-19 in the past?A:
People should get the COVID-19 vaccine regardless of prior symptomatic or asymptomatic COVID-19 infection. If you are currently diagnosed with COVID-19, you should wait until you have recovered from illness and can discontinue isolation (at least 10 days from symptom onset and 24 hours without fever).
Can I take the COVID-19 vaccine if I am currently sick or have COVID symptoms?A:
No, you will need to be free of sick symptoms, including fever, in order to be vaccinated. Temperatures will be checked at the time of vaccination and anyone with a fever will not be vaccinated.
Can I infect others with COVID-19 if I have been vaccinated?A:
This is unknown. Therefore, at this point we only know it protects the person getting the vaccine from getting disease symptoms. We do not know if this vaccine stops virus transmission. You should still follow universal masking and practice social distancing even with vaccination at this time.
Can I get the COVID vaccine if I recently received another vaccine, or am planning to receive another vaccine within 14 days?A:
The COVID-19 vaccine should not be administered at the same time as any other vaccine. A minimal interval of 14 days before or after administration with any other vaccine, including flu shots, should occur prior to COVID-19 vaccine administration.
Do I need an appointment to get the vaccine?A:
Yes, vaccination is by appointment only at USA Health.
What do I need to bring to my appointment? What do I need to wear?A:
Please bring your photo ID and cell phone to your appointment if possible. You will receive instructions on how to utilize the CDC’s V-Safe App, a health checker app that utilizes text messages to check-in with recipients following vaccination.
Please wear something so that your upper arm may be accessed easily.
Will I need to sign a consent?A:
Yes, you will be given a consent at your appointment.
How long does the vaccine appointment take?A:
Your appointment will likely take 20-30 minutes due to the recommended 15 minute observation period after the vaccine is administered. Please allocate enough time in your schedule when making your appointment. If you have a history of anaphylactic allergies, please be prepared to stay for an extended observation period (at least 30 minutes).
Will I receive documentation that I received the vaccine?A:
Yes, you will be given a Vaccination Card that contains the date of your vaccine, manufacturer and lot number. You should keep this card for future reference.
How do I make the appointment for the second (booster) injection?A:
You will receive an automatic 21 day follow up appointment for your second injection at the time of your appointment. If you need to change the date of that appointment, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep in mind, the manufacturer recommends adhering as close to the 21 day follow up as possible for the second injection.
Should I notify my healthcare providers if I elect to take the vaccine?A:
Yes, it is always a good idea to inform your healthcare provider regarding vaccines you have received.
When or how will I know if the vaccine is working?A:
You will not know it is working or feel any different; however, in about 1-2 weeks after your vaccine you should start producing antibodies to protect you against COVID-19. Don’t forget you will need a second shot in 21 days to receive the fullest protection possible.
Where can I look to read more about the Pfzer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine?A:
You are encouraged to read the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). You may also visit the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Website.
How will using your patient portals benefit my healthcare?A:
Using our patient portals will help you manage your healthcare records and easily communicate with your providers. Features include:
- Exchanging messages with your doctors and nurses
- Viewing your current medications and requesting refills
- Viewing and managing your upcoming appointments
- Quickly accessing your test results — including laboratory, pathology and radiology reports — anywhere and anytime
- Securely reviewing your entire health history
Which patient portal should I use?A:
USA Health has two patient portals, MyUSAHealth and the Athena Portal. The location where you receive treatment determines which portal you use. If you receive care at multiple locations, you may have records in both portals. You can see the full list of which locations use each portal at Patient Portals & Medical Records.
Is my medical information secure?A:
We take great care to ensure your health information is kept private and secure. Your account information is controlled through secure activation codes, usernames and passwords.
Should I use your patient portals for emergency care?A:
No, if you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911.
If I send a secure message to my provider, how soon will I hear back?A:
You should receive a response within 2 business days. Often times, providers or their nurses will reply the same day.
Can I schedule an appointment through your patient portals?A:
You can use the patient portals to view and manage previously scheduled appointments, but you cannot use them to schedule new appointments at this time. Please call your provider's office to schedule an appointment.
What if I didn’t receive my invitation email?A:
Please check your spam or junk mail folders in your email account.
How do I find my Medical Record Number (MRN)?A:
Your MRN can be found on your invoice/statement or your discharge documentation.
What if I see incorrect information in my medical records?A:
If you see incorrect information in your medical records on the patient portals, please complete the Patient Request for an Amendment of Protected Health Information [PDF]. Please email the completed form with a copy of your photo ID to HIPAA@health.southalabama.edu. If you have any questions, please call 1-251-445-9192.