By, Richard P. Hastings, Connecticut Attorney
Understanding the Patient’s Bill of Rights will enable you to take a pro-active role in your medical care, understand your rights as a patient and minimize the occurrence of medical errors resulting in hospital malpractice or doctor malpractice. The Patient’s Bill of Rights has three major goals:
1. To increase patient confidence in the health care system by:
* Ensuring a fair medical system that is responsive to patients’ needs;
* Providing patients with processes through which they can address their concerns;
* Encouraging patients to a take pro-active role in their medical care.
2. To emphasis the significance of the relationship between patient and medical provider; and
3. To promote a pro-active health care attitude by the patient by establishing rights and responsibilities of the patient and provider.
There are 8 key sections to the Patient’s Bill of Rights.
You have the right to receive accurate and easily understood information about health plans, health professionals, care facilities and consumer assistance programs. If you require aid to obtain or understand this information, you are entitled to appropriate services to assist you.
Choice of Providers and Plans
You have the right to a sufficient choice of medical providers to ensure that you have access to high-quality care at the time it is required.
Access to Emergency Services
You have the right to services in emergency situations in whatever location you are in. Health care plans should provide funding in those circumstances where a patient has acute symptoms that indicate the patient’s health may be jeopardized without immediate medical care. You should not need authorization from your plan before medical attention is provided.
Participation in Treatment Decisions
You have both the right and responsibility to participate in decisions regarding your care. If you are unable to exercise your rights and responsibilities, a duly authorized family member or other representative may undertake these on your behalf.
Respect and Nondiscrimination
You must not be discriminated against by providers on the basis on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, genetic information or method of payment. You have the right to considerate, respectful care from care providers.
Confidentiality of Health Information
You have the right to have your discussions with your health providers held in confidence. Your medical records must also be confidentially protected. You have the right to access your records and copy them, as well as request amendments to the records.
Complaints and Appeals
You have the right to an unbiased procedure for resolution of complaints regarding providers, facilities and plans. This procedure includes an internal review and independent external review.
You are expected to assume reasonable responsibilities to promote the success of your care. These responsibilities include healthy dietary and exercise habits, disclosing all relevant information to health providers, following providers’ advice, avoid knowingly spreading disease, being respectful to other patients and recognize the care facilities obligations for their care as well, being informed about your plan and reporting any wrongdoing to the appropriate authorities.
While this is a general overview of the Patient’s Bill of Rights, it provides you with a basic knowledge of your rights and responsibilities for the next time you require medical assistance. If you feel you are the victim of doctor malpractice or hospital malpractice you should contact a qualified medical malpractice attorney immediately for advice.