Patients’ Rights are fundamental and protected by state law.
Please note that each hospital’s list of patient rights may be different from one another. The American Hospital Association (AHA) has a general Patient’s Bill of Rights. Still, each state may have one specific to your state. Below is the public AHA document but get online and get a copy of your state statute.
Some State Patient’s Bill of Rights allows for complaints to the Attorney General if you feel your loved one is being abused or harmed by the facility’s actions. Some also provide the ability to file a court action to compel the medical facility to respect your rights under state law. KNOW YOUR STATE LAW in this area, so you can easily articulate your rights and remedies under the law. Also, to recognize when the medical facility is infringing on your loved one’s rights. If your state does not have a separate Patient Bill of Rights, get to know the AHA document below.
Additionally, get on the website for the medical facility where your loved one is and read through the facility’s standard operating procedures and what they publish regarding patient rights. Don’t be afraid to use your own facility’s words and marketing against them.
It is highly encouraged to download the PDF as it goes into more detailed explanation of each right a patient has when entering a hospital for care. Please do your research and study your rights and your local hospital rules BEFORE you go to the hospital for any reason.
AHA Patient’s Bill of Rights
Your Guide to Advocacy
These rights can be exercised on the patient’s behalf by a designated surrogate or proxy decision-maker if the patient lacks decision-making capacity, is legally incompetent, or is a minor.
THE PATIENT HAS THE RIGHT TO:
- considerate and respectful care.
- and is encouraged to obtain from physicians and other direct caregivers relevant, current, and understandable information concerning diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis.
- the opportunity to discuss and request information related to the specific procedures and/or treatments, the risks involved, the possible length of recuperation, and the medically reasonable alternatives and their accompanying risks and benefits. Except in emergencies when the patient lacks decision-making capacity and the need for treatment is urgent.
- know the identity of physicians, nurses, and others involved in their care, as well as any students, residents, or other trainees.
- know the immediate and long-term financial implications of treatment choices, insofar as they are known.
- make decisions about the plan of care prior to and during treatment, refuse a recommended treatment or plan of care to the extent permitted by law and hospital policy, and be informed of the medical consequences of this action. In case of such refusal, the patient is entitled to other appropriate care and services that the hospital provides or the transfer to another hospital. The hospital should notify patients of any policy that might affect patient choice within the institution.
- have an advance directive (AD) (such as a living will, health care proxy, or durable power of attorney for health care) concerning treatment
- every consideration of privacy.
- expect that all communications and records pertaining to his/her care will be treated as confidential by the hospital
- review the records pertaining to his/her medical care and to have the information explained or interpreted as necessary, except when restricted by law.
- expect that, within its capacity and policies, a hospital will make reasonable response to the request of a patient for appropriate and medically indicated care and services
- ask and be informed of the existence of business relationships among the hospital, educational institutions, other health care providers, or payers that may influence the patient’s treatment and care.
- consent to or decline to participate in proposed research studies or human experimentation affecting care and treatment.
- expect reasonable continuity of care when appropriate and to be informed by physicians and other caregivers of available and realistic patient care options when hospital care is no longer appropriate.
- be informed of hospital policies and practices that relate to patient care, treatment, and responsibilities.
- be informed of available resources for resolving disputes, grievances, and conflicts, such as ethics committees, patient representatives, or other mechanisms available in the institution.
- be informed of the hospital’s charges for services and available payment methods.
An example of state and hospital specific Patient Bill of Rights can be found below:
MA General Laws – Patients’ and Residents’ Rights
Beth Israel Lahey Health – Patient Rights