A Patient's Bill of Rights is a statement of the rights to which patients are entitled as recipients of medical care. Typically, a statement describes the positive rights which doctors and hospitals ought to provide patients. Some of these rights include- providing information, offering fair treatment, and granting them autonomy over medical decisions.
As a patient, you have certain rights. These rights are established by national organizations. Groups with their own patient rights are American Hospital Association, American Cancer Society, and National Association for Home Care and Hospice. They vary in content, but maintain some fundamental themes, such as the right to get a copy of your medical records, and the right to keep them private. Many states have additional laws protecting patients, and healthcare facilities often have a separate patient bill of rights.
An important patient right is informed consent. This means that if you need a treatment, your health care provider should give you the information you need to make a decision. You control the ultimate decision to allow treatment to your body.
Many hospitals have patient advocates who can help you if you have problems. You should always ask to see the Patient Bill of Rights and ensure you understand what is written. Your state's department of health may also be able to help.
There are 3 Patients’ Bill of Rights worth noting and discussing with your physician and hospital, the American Hospital Association, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, and Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry. These are listed below.
On June 22nd, 2010, President Barack Obama announced a 4th Patient's Bill of Rights. These are to take effect on 23rd September, 2010. These rights are geared towards healthcare coverage and some have an end date of 2014, when the insurance system is overhauled. All patient rights are below, or to view Healthcare Coverage Bill of Rights.
American Hospital Association
The American Hospital Association(AHA) issued the first patients’ bill of rights in 1973 which included 12 themes-- among them, the right to confidentiality, the right to refuse treatment and to refuse participation in research. Unfortunately, these rights were written in a language many patients could understand. It has since been updated and renamed the Patient Care Partnership. This document helps you to understand your expectations, rights and responsibilities. The AHA’s Patient Care Partnership is easy to read.
Under the Patient Care Partnership, you can expect High quality hospital care, and a Clean safe environment. You also have an expectation to Protect your Privacy in the hospital, Help with your billing and insurance filings, and fully Prepare you and your family for discharge and continued care.
The more important theme in this document is the Involvement in your care. In this section you discuss treatment options. You have the right to make informed decisions with your doctor. In so doing, you need to understand:
• The benefits and risks of each treatment.
• Whether your treatment is experimental or part of a research study.
• What you can reasonably expect from your treatment and any long-term effects it might have on your quality of life.
• What you and your family will need to do after you leave the hospital.
• The financial consequences of using uncovered services or out-of-network providers.
Throughout the Involvement in your Care, you need to share correct information regarding your health and insurance. Additionally, you share your healthcare goals and objectives. This helps to set realistic expectations after a procedure.
Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
In 1995 the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons instituted their Patient Bill of Rights.
All patients should be guaranteed the following freedoms:
To seek consultation with the physician(s) of their choice;
To contract with their physician(s) on mutually agreeable terms;
To be treated confidentially, with access to their records limited to those involved in their care or designated by the patient;
To use their own resources to purchase the care of their choice;
To refuse medical treatment even if it is recommended by their physician(s);
To be informed about their medical condition, the risks and benefits of treatment and appropriate alternatives;
To refuse third-party interference in their medical care, and to be confident that their actions in seeking or declining medical care will not result in third-party-imposed penalties for patients or physicians;
To receive full disclosure of their insurance plan in plain language, including:
- CONTRACTS: A copy of the contract between the physician and health care plan, and between the patient or employer and the plan;
- INCENTIVES: Whether participating physicians are offered financial incentives to reduce treatment or ration care;
COST: The full cost of the plan, including copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles;
COVERAGE: Benefits covered and excluded, including availability and location of 24-hour emergency care;
QUALIFICATIONS: A roster and qualifications of participating physicians;
APPROVAL PROCEDURES: Authorization procedures for services, whether doctors need approval of a committee or any other individual, and who decides what is medically necessary;
REFERRALS: Procedures for consulting a specialist, and who must authorize the referral;
APPEALS: Grievance procedures for claim or treatment denials;
GAG RULE: Whether physicians are subject to a gag