What Are Patient Rights
As a patient, you have rights that ensure you’re safe and properly informed in almost any medical situation. Federal and state laws guarantee your medical protection. But what really guarantees your rights and safety as a patient is The American Hospital Association’s Patient’s Bill of Rights.
Knowing The American Hospital Association’s Patient’s Bill of Rights can help you avoid personal violations. This bill ensures all patients are properly informed and treated regardless of culture, language, age, ability, or sex.
Today, we’ll go over some important things you need to know about legally protecting all your patient rights, including:
- Patient rights and responsibilities
- Informed consent
- Patient’s Bill of Rights
- Patient rights advocates
Patient Rights And Responsibilities
As a patient, you also have responsibilities to your healthcare providers. You have a duty to any doctor, nurse, or facilitator to:
- Give full, correct information.
- Be active with your treatment, care, and discharge plan.
- Plan transitions from home or other facilities.
- Treat healthcare facilitators with respect.
- Inform your healthcare team on concerns and changes.
- Respect hospital property and policies.
- Cancel or reschedule appointments in a timely manner.
- Inform your healthcare team of safety concerns, changes, or questions.
This allows for a more effective course of treatment. Likewise, anyone on your healthcare team, including any doctor and nurse must also uphold their own responsibilities to you and respect your rights as a patient.
Also Read: How Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Work
Informed consent is when a healthcare provider properly educates you on anything to do with your healthcare. This means anyone on your healthcare team must ensure you understand any risks, benefits, and alternatives to all procedures and medications.
This allows you to make an educated decision on your healthcare and gives you more power. Informed consent isn’t just an ethical choice, it’s the law. Your healthcare team is legally obligated to ensure you understand all procedures and treatments.
Your healthcare team must document or note all discussions of consent, and go over:
- The nature or reason for the procedure.
- All risks and benefits to the procedure.
- Any reasonable alternatives available, as well as the risks to the alternatives.
Your doctor or nurse will then note your understanding of everything you’ve discussed. This will also include whether or not you’re able to fully make an informed decision.
The only exceptions to acquiring informed consent from a patient include:
- The patient is incapacitated or mentally unable to make informed decisions.
- The patient is a minor, or needs another independent decision-maker.
- A life-threatening emergency prevents the healthcare team from obtaining consent.
A decision-maker who can make medical decisions is also referred to as the power of attorney. The power of attorney can make any medical, financial, or legal decisions if you’re unable to.
Patient Rights To Medical Records
Only you, a power of attorney, or someone on your healthcare team has the right to access your medical records. You have the right to access any and all your medical information regardless of whether or not you’ve paid off a medical bill.
Your healthcare team can send copies of your medical records to your insurance company or another third party with your permission. This should only be done to inform your insurance company if needed treatments and to process payments. The Privacy Rule dictates that neither your healthcare team nor the insurance company can share your medical information with other plans or providers.
Patients Bill Of Rights
Any hospital within the American Hospital Association must follow these guidelines. All patients, including anyone who speaks on behalf of a patient, are entitled to these rights. Some mandatory things you can expect from any hospital include:
- High-quality care.
- A clean, safe environment.
- Private, involved care.
- Discharge assistance.
- Billing and claims assistance.
All businesses and associates involved with your healthcare must follow the Patient’s Bill of Rights, as well as all HIPPA guidelines. The following parties who must also abide by the Patient’s Bill of Rights include:
- Health plans, including HMOs and government-run plans.
- Most healthcare providers and healthcare clearinghouses.
- Healthcare billing and administration companies.
- Lawyers, accountants, and IT specialists.
Also Read: Filing For Bankruptcy on Medical Bills
Patient Rights Advocates
Patient advocates are representatives for patients. They can help ask questions that the patient may feel uncomfortable to ask, and can even explain anything to the patient they might not understand. Many hospitals have patient advocates who can help you whenever you need them.
Your patient rights advocate is there to speak up for you, and to look out for your best interests. In other words, they’re the person on your healthcare team who will always be on your side. They know all your patient rights and should call out any violations.
Hiring A Patient Rights Lawyer
Sometimes, your patient rights advocate just isn’t enough. You feel truly violated by your hospital and need outside help. Medical malpractice lawyers don’t have the influence of the hospital. At the end of the end, patient rights advocates’ still work for the hospital, and may not be able to speak out on everything.
A medical malpractice lawyer can help you if your rights were violated. If you need help taking legal action against the hospital, call My Case Helper. We can help you find a medical malpractice lawyer who can help you get compensation for your injuries.
Also Read: 12 Questions To Ask A Personal Injury Lawyer