Patients Bill of Rights

Bay Medical Sacred Heart supports the Patient Bill of Rights as adopted by the American Hospital Association and as outlined in the Joint Commission Standards. The Patient’s Bill of Rights is presented as follows:

The patient has the right to considerate and respectful care.

The patient has the right to and is encouraged to obtain from physicians and other direct caregivers relevant, current and understandable information concerning diagnosis, treatment and prognosis.Except in emergencies when the patient lacks decision-making capacity and the need for treatment is urgent, the patient is entitled to 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 alternative and the accompanying risks and benefits.
Patients have the right to know the identity of physicians, nurses and others involved in their care, as well as when those involved are students, residents or other trainees. The patient also has the right to know the immediate and long-term financial implications of treatment choices, insofar as they are known.

The patient has the right to make decisions about the plan of care prior to and during the course of treatment and to refuse recommended treatment or plan of care to the extent permitted by law and hospital policy and to 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 to transfer to another hospital. The hospital should notify patients of any policy that might affect patient choice within the institution.

The patient has the right to have an advance directive (such as a living will, healthcare proxy, or durable power of attorney for healthcare) concerning treatment or designating a surrogate decision maker, with the exception that the hospital will honor the intent of that directive to the extent permitted by law and hospital policy.Healthcare institutions must advise patients of their rights under state law and hospital policy to make informed medical choices, ask if the patient has an advance directive, and include that information in patient records. The patient has the right to timely information about hospital policy that could limit its ability to implement fully a legally valid advance directive.

The patient has the right to every consideration of privacy. Case discussion, consultation, examination, and treatment should be conducted so as to protect each patient’s privacy.

The patient has the right to expect that all communications and records pertaining to his/her care will be treated as confidential by the hospital, except in cases such as suspected abuse and public health hazards when reporting is permitted or required by law. The patient has the right to expect that the hospital will emphasize the confidentiality of this information when it releases it to any other parties entitled to review information in these records.

The patient has the right to review the records pertaining to his/her medical care and to have the information explained or interpreted as necessary, except when restricted by law.

The patient has the right to 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. The hospital must provide evaluation service and/or referral as indicated by the urgency of the case. When medically appropriate and legally permissible, or when a patient has so requested, a patient may be transferred to another facility. The institution to which the patient is to be transferred must first have accepted the patient for transfer. The patient must also have the benefit of complete information and explanation concerning the need for, risks, benefits, and alternatives to such a transfer.

The patient has the right to ask and be informed of the existence of business relationships among the hospital, educational institutions, other healthcare providers, or payers that may influence the patient’s treatment and care.

The patient has the right to consent to or decline to participate in proposed research studies or human experimentation affecting care and treatment or requiring direct patient involvement, and to have those studies fully explained prior to consent. A patient who declines to participate in research or experimentation is entitled to the most effective care that the hospital can otherwise provide.

The patient has the right to 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.

The patient has the right to be informed of hospital policies and practices that relate to patient care, treatment and responsibilities. The patient has the right to be informed of available resources for resolving disputes, grievances and conflicts, such as ethics committees, patient representatives or other mechanisms available in the institution. The patient has the right to be informed of the hospital’s charges for services and available payment methods.The collaborative nature of healthcare requires that patients, or their families/surrogates, participate in their care.

The effectiveness of care and patient satisfaction with the course of treatment depends, in part, on the patient fulfilling certain responsibilities. Patients are responsible for providing information about past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications and other matters related to health status. To participate effectively in decision making, patients must be encouraged to take responsibility for requesting additional information or clarification about their health status or treatment when they do not fully understand information and instructions. Patients are also responsible for ensuring that the healthcare institution has a copy of their written advance directive if they have one. Patients are also responsible for informing their physician and other caregivers if they anticipate problems in following prescribed treatment.

Patients should also be aware of the hospital’s obligation to be reasonably efficient and equitable in providing care to other patients and the community. The hospital’s rules and regulations are designed to help the hospital meet this obligation. Patients and their families are responsible for making reasonable accommodations to the needs of the hospital, other patients, medical staff and hospital employees. Patients are responsible for providing necessary information for insurance claims and for working with the hospital to make payment arrangements, when necessary.

A person’s health depends on much more than healthcare services. Patients are responsible for recognizing the impact of their lifestyle on their personal health.

In addition to the above stated rights, patients have the right to appropriate assessment and management of pain. Pain can be a common part of the patient experience; unrelieved pain has adverse physical and psychological effects. The patient’s right to pain management is respected and supported. The healthcare organization plans, supports, and coordinates activities and resources to assure the pain of all patients is recognized and addressed appropriately. This includes:

  • Initial assessment and regular reassessment of pain;
  • Education of all relevant providers in pain assessment and management;
  • Education of patients, and families when appropriate, regarding their roles in managing pain as well as the potential limitations and side effects of pain treatments; and
  • After taking into account personal, cultural, spiritual, and/or ethnic beliefs, communicating to patients and families that pain management is an important part of care.

All patients have the right to be free from physical or mental abuse and corporal punishment. All patients have the right to be free from restraint or seclusion, or any form imposed as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience, or retaliation by staff. Restraint or seclusion may only be imposed to ensure the immediate physical safety of the patient, a staff member or others and must be discontinued at the earliest possible time.

Patients have the right to have a family member or representative of his or her choice and his or her own physician notified promptly of his or her admission to the hospital.