Your Patient Rights

You have patient rights.

You have patient rights.

Have you had a surgery recently in a hospital or a clinic? Did you receive a paper that stated your rights as a patient before your surgery? Patient rights vary from state to state, so you may or may not receive information about your rights (or responsibilities) as a patient. For instance, if you live in Tennessee, you may receive notice that a facility will not honor DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders, but that they may honor a healthcare power of attorney.

While each state carries variations on a theme, for the most part, you might expect any facility across the nation to honor the patient rights listed below. Please note that these rights are general and that your healthcare facility may or may not abide by them all, or they may add some rights as well. The next article will deal with your responsibilities as a patient, which you are expected to honor. Your rights, no matter your age, race, gender, educational background or religious preference, include:

  • To be treated with respect, consideration and dignity;
  • To be treated in a safe environment that is free of physical or psychological threats;
  • To expect that any architectural barriers will be identified and modified or corrected;
  • To have the ability to access communication aids such as interpreters, sign language, etc. if needed;
  • To be provided with appropriate privacy and confidentiality concerning medical care;
  • To be free of restraint except when indicated to protect you or others from injury;
  • To have your questions, concerns or complaints addressed in good faith;
  • To expect continuity of care without being transferred or discharged to another facility or medical doctor without prior notice except in the case of a medical emergency and within the limits of legal regulations;
  • To be provided after-hour and emergency care;
  • To access necessary surgical and/or procedural interventions that are medically indicated;
  • To be able to obtain in information you need to provide informed concent before any treatment or procedure;
  • To be provided, to the known degree, complete and timely information regarding your diagnosis, evaluation, treatment and prognosis; however, when it is medically inadvisable to provide such information, the information is provided to a person designated by the patient or to a legally authorized person;
  • To make choices and decisions regarding your medical care to the extent permitted by law, including the right to refuse treatment;
  • To formulate advance directives and appoint a surrogate to make health care decisions on your behalf to the extent permitted by law, unless that provision is modified by the institution involved;
  • To have your disclosures and records treated confidentially and be given the opportunity to approve or refuse their release, except when release is required by law;
  • Receive, on request, and at a reasonable fee established by the facility involved, a copy of your medical record;
  • To know the services available at any facility;
  • To know the facility fees for services;
  • To request an itemized statement of all services provided to you through the facility, along with the right to be informed of the payment methodology utilized to formulate that statement;
  • To, at your own expense, have the ability to consult with another physician or specialist if those professionals are available;
  • To be informed of patient conduct and responsibilities rules for any given facility;
  • To refuse to participate in experimental research;
  • To know the identity, professional status, institutional affiliation and credentials of health care professionals providing your care and to be assured that these individuals have been appropriately credentialed according to policy and law;
  • To be informed of your right to change your provider if other qualified providers are available;
  • To be provided wiith appropriate information regarding the absence of malpractice insurance coverage, and;
  • To be informed about procedures for expressing suggestions, complaints and grievances, including any required by state and federal regulations.

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