Patient Bill of Rights

 

From the point you enter a health care facility, you should be aware of certain rights and responsibilities you have. It doesnít matter whether you have come to the facility as an outpatient for testing, you are visiting the emergency room, or being admitted to an inpatient stay; there are specific expectations you should have concerning your treatment from the physicians and other health care providers you encounter. Additionally, you should be aware of the fact that you also have responsibilities that, when fulfilled, enable health care professionals to provide you the best possible treatment.

All health care facilities, as a condition of the law and their accreditation, maintain a Patient Bill of Rights. This document, to which you are entitled a copy, will normally be prominently posted at your point of entry into the facility, usually at the point of registration. That point might be the admitting office, outpatient registration, or emergency registration. This document describes the basic outline of rights you as a patient have with respect to your relationship with the organization, as well as those behaviors and information the organization expects of you. In many ways it spells out the terms of a contract between you and those who will provide your care.

Each organizationís bill of rights is specific to the organization, but all contain very similar terms which include statements that describe the following rights and responsibilities:

Patient rights

  • Considerate and respectful care
  • Current and understandable information concerning patient care
  • Information about treatments and procedures and their risks, benefits and alternatives, as well as an outline of your plan of care
  • The identity of those providing care
  • Right to provide advanced directives consistent with state law
  • Right to privacy, confidentiality in your health information and medical records, as well as privacy during your treatment
  • You have a right to review your records and have them explained to you and interpreted by health care professionals.
  • You have the right to request transfer to another facility which will be evaluated by the provider taking into consideration the medical appropriateness, urgency of your condition, and capabilities of the other institution.
  • Information concerning business relationships between your providers and other health care providers, educational institutions, or businesses
  • You have the right to decline participation in any experimental research yet receive the most effective care that the provider can otherwise provide.
  • Information and assistance with continuity of care when inpatient hospital care or continuing care with a certain provider is no longer appropriate
  • Information concerning hospital or provider policies and practices relating to their operation that are provided for efficient operation, resolution of complaints and disputes, as well as information related to all charges for services.

Patient responsibilities

  • Patients and their families and surrogates must cooperate and participate in their care.
  • Patients should be open and honest regarding their condition, past illnesses, medications, and other matters that affect their health status.
  • Provide any documentation for providers that relate to your advanced directives such as living wills or health care powers of attorney.
  • Respect the hospitalís obligation to provide efficient and equitable care to other patients.
  • Provide accurate and up to date health insurance information or other information as may be necessary to process payment arrangements.
  • Accept personal responsibility for oneís health and follow-up treatment including adhering to the instructions of providers related to medications and personal life style.

You can read more about your rights as a patient and access a variety of resources describing your rights and federal law concerning patient rights at:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/patientrights.html



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