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VCU Health impacts from the global technology outage are stabilized. We expect little to no further impacts to patient care services. Please contact your provider if you have questions about your care.

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Frequently Asked Questions from Patients about the collection of Race, Ethnicity and Language

Q: What do my race and ethnicity have to do with my health?
A: Our racial and ethnic backgrounds may mean we have different risks for some diseases. We can work to reduce these risks by giving everyone the health care that is best for them.

Q: Why am I asked these questions?
A: We’re collecting information on race, ethnicity and language from all our patients. This gives us a better idea of health risks you may have. It also helps us better meet your health needs.

Q: Who are you collecting this information from?
A: We are collecting this information from all patients that we see.

Q: What will my information be used for?
A: This information is used to give you and others like you better services and programs. For example, it lets us provide health information in languages spoken by our patients. We can also offer effective programs to improve your health.

Q: Can I change or update my answers later?
A: You can change any of the answers to the Race, Ethnicity and Language questions at any time in the “Personal Information” settings of your MyChart portal.

Q: Where is my information stored?
A: Your information is securely stored in our Electronic Health Record system. You can see it in your MyChart portal.

Q: What if I don't want to answer these questions?
A: You don’t have to answer any questions that you don’t want to.

Q: Who can I ask questions about this?
A: You can ask your scheduler or patient access representative.

Q: Who will see my information?
A: Only your care team and others who are authorized to see your medical record can view your information.

Q: What if I belong to more than one race?
A: The options are currently limited to selecting one race, but you can select “Other” for now.

Q: What if I don't know my race or ethnicity?
A: You can choose the option you are most comfortable with, “Other” or decline to answer.

Q: What is the difference between race and ethnicity?
A: The federal government defines “race” as the five broad continental racial categories – White/Caucasian, Black/African American, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian, and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. “Ethnicity” is defined as your ancestry, which is different from country of origin.

Q: Why is "Hispanic" not considered a race?
A: Hispanics and Latinos may have origins in one or more racial categories. Often, Hispanics and Latinos don’t see themselves reflected in the racial categories, so they respond “Other.”

Q: Can't you tell what race I am by looking at me?
A: It would not be appropriate to assume your race or ethnicity just by looking at you. That’s why we let every patient self-identify their race. If you’re uncomfortable, you don’t have to answer.

Q: Why are you asking my preferred language? I am speaking English.
A: Patients who speak multiple languages sometimes feel more comfortable speaking and understanding a language other than English. We want to give you health care information in your preferred language.