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Medical Law

Stay Informed: What Are Patient Rights in Healthcare?

When receiving healthcare you need to make yourself aware of the rights you have as a patient. Many organizations have adopted a Patient Bill of Rights which outlines the type of care you can expect from a particular facility. In 1996 the federal government passed the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) law which protects patient rights throughout the nation.

Patient Rights in Healthcare

According to the HIPAA patient rights, you have the right to know that your healthcare information is being kept confidential by those who have it. Generally, a healthcare provider is not permitted to disclose or discuss any health-related information without the patient’s permission. There are some legal exceptions to this rule.

Patient Rights in Hospital Care

Many hospitals and medical facilities or organizations have come up with their own list of patient rights above and beyond those regulated by HIPAA. Below is a non-exhaustive list of rights that many hospital organizations have adopted.

  • You have the right to be treated with respect
  • You have the right to be treated with dignity and confidentiality
  • You have the right to understand your diagnosis and treatment plan
    • Your medical provider should explain things in language you understand
  • You have the right to discuss various treatment plans and procedures
    • This right may not be available to you in the case of an emergency
  • You have the right to know who is caring for you and their level of training
  • You have the right to know how much your treatment may cost
  • You have the right to have an advanced directive such as a living will
  • You have the right to make decisions before and during your care, including the right to refuse care
  • You have the right to be informed of the policies and practices of your healthcare facility
  • You have the right to request other care or change doctors if you feel it becomes necessary

What Do I Do If These Rights Are Violated?

When these rights are violated the standard of care suffers. Patients don’t feel well cared for, and they stop trusting their healthcare providers. This is a huge problem.

If you feel your rights have been violated you can start by contacting a patient advocate at the facility itself to see if the problem can be resolved. You can also file a complaint with the US Department of Health and Human Services.

If you feel that the violation includes a bigger issue, you can contact legal advice to help you determine the extent of the problem. For more information about patient rights and the medical standard of care, contact Reed & Reed. They will listen to your situation and can explain your options.

Don’t accept patient rights violations. Get the care that is your right.

Stay Informed

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