Patient Privacy, Rights & Responsibilities
Everyone has a role in making healthcare safe — including you! We urge you to remain active, involved and informed while you are with us. Research shows that patients who take part in their own care are more likely to have better outcomes.
Notice of Health Information Practices
Each time you visit a hospital, physician, or other healthcare provider, a record of your visit is made. Typically, this record contains your symptoms, examination and test results, diagnoses, treatment, and a plan for future care or treatment. How this information, often referred to as your health or medical record, may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information is explained in our Notice of Health Information Practices (en Español).
As a patient, you have the right to “Informed Consent.” This means that your physician will explain the advantages and risks of procedures, tests or treatments. You have the right to refuse any treatment. If the reason for some part of your care is unclear to you, please ask your physician or nurse to explain it to you.
Know Your Patient Rights & Get Involved!
You, the patient, and/or when appropriate, family, have the following additional rights and responsibilities:
You Have the Right...
- To receive a copy of patient rights upon admission.
- To have a family member or representative of his/her choice and his/her own physician notified promptly of his/her admission to the hospital.
- To appoint a surrogate decision-maker in the event the patient is unable to make decisions about care, treatment or services, or choose to delegate decision making to another.
- To designate a family member or support person of the patient’s choice to serve as a source of emotional support.
- To have the patient’s personal culture, values, beliefs and preferences respected.
- To expect the patient’s personal privacy to be respected to the fullest extent consistent with the care prescribed and applicable law.
- To be involved in the decision making with the patient’s physician, talking in language he/she may reasonably be expected to understand, about diagnosis, treatment prescribed, prognosis and any instructions required for follow-up care. Persons not directly involved in the patient’s care must have the patient’s permission to be present.
a. INFORMATIONAL NOTE: Information will be provided to the patient which will include: the name of medications, type of Blood/Blood Products and name of tests and procedures
- To create Advance Directives (Living Will/Durable Power of Attorney) and appoint a surrogate to make health care decisions on the patient’s behalf to the extent permitted by law.
- To have access to interpretative services, when necessary and appropriate, to prevent language barriers from hampering the patient’s care; for the hearing or visually impaired, to have access to appropriate audiovisual aids.
- To have requests courteously received and properly considered as quickly as circumstances permit.
- To know the name of the physician, nurses, and team members responsible for the patient’s care.
- To be informed of the reason for various tests/treatments and the roles of team members providing the care.
- To be involved in the informed consent process that includes a discussion about potential benefits, risks, and/or side effects of a proposed treatment/care/services, the likelihood of achieving the goal and/or potential problems that might occur during recuperation.
- To change his/her mind about any procedure for which the patient has given consent or to refuse treatment and to be informed of the medical consequences of this action.
- To be informed about the outcomes of care, including unanticipated outcomes.
- To complete information as to the reason for a transfer to another institution if necessary (including the alternatives to such a transfer) and the knowledge that the other institution has accepted him/her for transfer.
- To access pastoral care or other spiritual services.
- To request through the attending physician a second opinion by another physician; to change physicians; or to change facilities.
- To participate in ethical discussions that arises in the course of care delivery including issues of conflict resolution, withholding resuscitative services, foregoing or withdrawal of life sustaining treatment and participation in investigational studies or clinical trials.
- To receive care and treatment in a safe environment.
- To have pain managed in a compassionate manner.
- To access protective services to include guardianship, advocacy services, state/local licensure agencies, and protective interventions.
- To have impartial access to the medical resources of the hospital indicated for his/her care without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, age, sex, handicap, or source of payment.
- To refuse to participate in medical training programs and research projects.
- On request, made within 30 days of either discharge or payment, to receive a bill that is itemized and describes briefly but clearly each item and the amount charged.
- To expect all communications and records pertaining to his/her care, including the source of payment for treatment, to be kept confidential, to the extent required by law.
If the patient’s concern(s) are not resolved by the hospital to your satisfaction, we encourage him/her to contact:
- The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
- By phone: 1-877-463-3464
- By mail: 201 W. Preston St., Baltimore MD 21201
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at 1-877-267-2323 (www.cms.hhs.gov)
- The Joint Commission (TJC) at 1-800-994-6610 (www.jointcommission.com).
You, In Turn, Have the Responsibility...
- To provide, to the best of his/her knowledge, accurate and complete information about present complaints, medications, past illnesses, hospitalizations and other matters relating to his/her health care.
- To provide information about Advance Directives; giving directions about his/her future medical health care should he/she become incapable of participating in such discussions.
- To ask questions about his/her treatment, diagnosis or prognosis and tell his/her physician about a change in his/her condition or problems that arise.
- To be considerate of the rights of other patients and medical personnel, to assist in the control of noise, and to follow the AHC non-smoking, visitor, and other rules.
- To be cooperative and considerate during the treatment and care prescribed.
- To respect the privacy of other patients.
- To accept his/her financial obligations associated with his/her care.
- To advise his/her nurse/physician and/or Patient Representative of any dissatisfaction he/she may have in regard to his/her care at the hospital.
Get Involved In Your Care
Everyone has a role in making health care safe — physicians, nurses and all members of your health care team. Health care organizations across the country are working to make health care safety a priority. You, as the patient, can also play a vital role in making your care safe by becoming an active, involved and informed member of your health care team. This information provides simple advice on how you can make your care a positive experience.
- Speak up if you have questions or concerns, and if you don't understand, ask again. You have a right to know.
- Speak up if you don't understand something that your health care professional tells you.
- Ask about safety. If you're having surgery, for example, ask the doctor to mark the area that is to be operated upon, so that there's no confusion in the operating room.
- Speak up concerning pain relief and pain management. Discuss pain relief options with your health care team.
- Speak up if you think you are about to receive the wrong medication or if you think you have been confused with another patient.
- Speak up if you have concerns related to fall prevention, use of restraints and the benefits and risks associated with bedrail use.
- Pay attention to the care you are receiving. Make sure you are getting the right treatments and medications.
- Speak up if something does not seem quite right.
- Expect health care workers to introduce themselves. Look for health care workers' identification badges.
- Expect your health care professional to confirm your identity by checking your wristband and asking your name.
- Note that caregivers have washed their hands or used special non-water-based hand-cleansing solutions. Hand washing is the most important way to prevent the spread of infections. Speak up - do not be afraid to gently remind a healthcare professional to do this.
- Educate yourself about your diagnosis, the medical tests you are undergoing and your treatment plan.
- Read all medical forms and make sure you understand information before you sign any forms.
- Speak up if you do not understand a subject. Ask for additional explanation.
- Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate.
- Know what medications you take and why you take them.
- Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of the health care team.
You are responsible for being considerate of the rights of other patients and hospital personnel. Please avoid loud conversations and other behaviors that may be irritating to others. Please be conscious of how other people would like to be treated. You are responsible for providing the hospital with the following: accurate and complete information about your health status; insurance information; and copies of any Advance Medical Directives you want the hospital to follow. You should also promptly inform the patient representative of any dissatisfaction regarding the hospital's care.
As a patient at this hospital, you can expect information about pain and pain relief measures, a concerned staff committed to your pain prevention and management, and health professionals who respond quickly to reports of pain. Your reports of pain will be believed and you will receive state-of-the-art pain management.
If you are legally incapacitated, these rights and responsibilities may be exercised by your surrogate decision-maker in accordance with applicable law.
The “Speak Up” program is sponsored by the Joint Commission (TJC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). For more information, contact The Joint Commission.
"Do Not Publish" Status
You have the right to choose not to have your name on the patient list at the information desk or switchboard. Please let our Patient Access Representative in Admitting know that you would like “Do Not Publish” status if this is your wish.
You should know however, that the hospital will be unable to direct call, visitors or deliveries to you if this level of privacy is your choice.
Advance Medical Directives
It is your right to make informed decisions regarding your care and treatment. With an “Advance Medical Directive,” appointment of a health care agent and health care instructions provide protection if you ever become mentally or physically unable to choose or communicate your wishes because of an accident or illness. If you have Advance Directives, please bring an original copy to the hospital to be placed on your medical chart. If you need a copy of the form to fill out your Advance Directives, the Admitting Office, Patient and Guest Services or the nursing unit can provide you with a form. With these forms as part of your medical record, someone you trust can make the medical choices that affect your life, your family knows clearly what your wishes are, and your physician has guidelines for your care. A copy of your Advance Medical Directive must be presented at each admission.
"Do Not Resuscitate" Order
A special order can be placed on your chart if you and your family decide you do not want hospital personnel to use lifesaving techniques in the event your heart or breathing stops. Your doctor can discuss this with you. If you choose this option, you will still receive all the regular patient care from your nurse and physicians, with particular attention given to you and your family's need for emotional support and your need for pain management.
Organ & Tissue Donation
In the event of death, organ and tissue donation is an opportunity to extend a gift of life to someone. The state of Maryland requires the health care provider to inform your family of the opportunity to donate organs and tissues for transplantation. Specially trained staff will provide all the information needed to assist you and your family in making a decision which you can feel comfortable.