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Patient Bill of Rights


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Updated: May 10, 2013


As a patient of Southcoast Hospitals Group, your rights include the right to:

  • Receive caring and respectful treatment that supports your values and beliefs. Pastoral counseling is available upon request.

  • Receive personalized treatment through an individualized plan of care that respects your values and beliefs and participate in developing and carrying out your plan of care.

  • Have a family member, friend or other individual present with you for emotional support during the course of your stay unless the individual's presence infringes upon other's rights, safety or is medically or therapeutically contraindicated.

  • Personal privacy in a manner that respects your dignity and comfort. Your privacy will be respected, for example, in the course of personal hygiene activities, during medical and nursing treatment and when requested, as appropriate.

  • Receive care in a non-discriminatory manner that does not take into account your race, creed, color, sex, handicap, national origin, or when relevant, your participation in Medicaid.

  • Receive appropriate care in a safe setting that is free from threats to your physical safety and from mental, physical, sexual and verbal abuse, neglect and exploitation. You will also receive help in contacting Protective Services Services, and/or Advocacy, as appropriate.

  • Confidentiality of your clinical record.

  • Obtain information in your clinical records within a reasonable amount of time. The hospital must not hinder your legitimate efforts to gain access to your own records. It also must try to meet your requests as quickly as its record keeping system permits.

  • Receive information about your health status, current diagnosis, treatment plan and prognosis, including any relevant risks, benefits and reasonable alternatives, in a way you can understand in order to make decisions and give consent. You also have the right to refuse treatment and be informed of the risks of your decision.

  • Receive information about the outcome of your care and treatment, including unanticipated outcomes.

  • Participate in the discharge planning process to the maximum extent possible, with the assistance of family members or other representatives as you request. You also have the right to receive a written discharge plan and to review any information the hospital has on out-of-hospital resources that may be relevant to your circumstances.

  • Receive complete and current information in a way you can understand, taking into account your need for an interpreter when not fluent in the English language or for alternative means of communication based on a vision, hearing or other impairment.

  • Make informed decisions regarding your care. Your representative also has this right, as allowed under state law.

  • Have a family member or representative of your choice and your own physician notified promptly of your admission to the hospital.

  • Know the name and professional specialty of any doctor or other person who participates in your care.

  • Be free from restraints and seclusion, of any form, that is not medically necessary or is used as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience or retaliation by staff.

  • Receive information about your rights as a patient and your responsibilities as a patient before care is provided or discontinued, whenever possible.

  • Be informed of research, investigational studies or clinical trials in order to decide if you want to participate in them. You have the right to refuse to participate in clinical studies, research or experiments and not have your refusal affect your access to care or treatment.

  • Refuse to be examined, observed or treated by students or any other hospital staff without endangering your access to other medical care.

  • Appropriate assessment and management of pain.

  • Prompt life-saving treatment in an emergency without discrimination on the basis of economic status or source of payment.

  • Receive an explanation if you must be transferred to another institution.

  • Receive an explanation of your bill, regardless of the payor, and receive information concerning financial assistance and free health care.

  • Receive timely notification if your insurance will not pay your bill and information about the grievance process if you disagree with your insurance company's decision.

  • When a patient for purposes of childbirth, have complete information, at the time of pre-admission, about the hospital's maternity practices.

  • Appoint a Health Care Proxy as a substitute decision maker for your health care should you become unable to make or communicate your own decisions.

  • Make and communicate Advance Directives and the right to receive help in creating Advance Directives.

  • Forego or withdraw life-sustaining treatment or withhold resuscitative services.

  • Request assistance from the Bioethics Committee if faced with an ethical concern or conflict.

  • Receive accurate written information on emergency contraception and have emergency contraception made available to you if you are a female rape victim of childbearing age.

  • Receive timely resolution of any grievances or complaints about your care at the hospital. You have the right to receivea written notice from the hospital providing an explanation of the resolution of your grievance or complaint.

To file a grievance or complaint about your care at Charlton, St. Luke's or Tobey, call or write:

    Southcoast Health System
    Performance Improvement
    363 Highland Avenue
    Fall River, MA 02720
    Southcoast Hotline: 1-877-264-7244 (toll free)
    Patient Privacy Hotline: 508-961-5040
    Send us an e-mail: Feedback form
    www.southcoast.org

    Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine
    200 Harvard Mill Sq., Suite 330
    Wakefield, MA 01880
    781-876-8200
    www.massmedboard.org

    Massachusetts Department of Public Health
    Division of Health Care Quality, Complaint Unit
    99 Chauncy Street
    Boston, MA 02111
    800-462-5540
    www.mass.gov/dph/dhcq/

    The Joint Commission
    Division of Accreditation Operations
    Office of Quality Monitoring
    One Renaissance Blvd.
    Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
    800-994-6610
    Fax: 630-792-5636
    E-mail: complaint@jointcommission.org
    www.jointcommission.org



Patient & Family Members Responsibilities

Patients and their families have certain responsibilities in relation to their treatment plan. While receiving care, you and your family members are expected to:

  • Provide accurate and complete information, to the best of your knowledge, about your present complaints, past illnesses, hospitalization, medications and other matters relating to your health. You must report perceived risks in your care and any changes in your condition to your physician. You can help the hospital understand your situation by providing feedback about service needs and expectations.

  • Ask your physician and other health care professionals any questions that will help you understand your care, treatment, service or what you are expected to do.

  • Report any safety concerns related to your care or about your physical environment.

  • Follow the care, treatment plan, and services and instructions recommended by your physician. You should expressany concerns about your ability to follow the proposed care plan or course of care, treatment and services to your physician or the other hospital staff. The hospital makes every effort to adapt the plan to the specific needs and limitations of patients. When such adaptations to the care, treatment and service plan are not recommended, patients and their families are informed of the consequencesof the care, treatment and service alternatives and not following the proposed course.

  • Inform your physician and hospital staff if you refuse treatment. You and your family are responsible for the outcomes if you do not follow the care, treatment and service plan.

  • Understand that you are responsible for keeping appointments and, when unable to do so for any reason, to notify the hospital.

  • Take only the medications prescribed by your physician during hospitalization. The hospital will properly dispose of any other medications or chemical substances that are not appropriately labeled or prescribed.

  • Provide the hospital with advance directives if you have them.

  • Provide current and accurate information about your insurance coverage.

  • Promptly meet any financial obligation agreed to with the hospital.

  • Follow hospital rules, regulations and policies, including smoking restrictions. Patients and their families must be considerate of the hospital's staff and property, as well as other patients and their property.

  • Participate in decisions regarding your medical care, including the planning and implementation of your treatment plan.

  • Support mutual consideration and respect by maintaining civil language and conduct in interactions with staff and licensed independent practitioners.

To provide a restful climate for our patients, all patients are asked to observe the following:

  • Please do not enter areas that are reserved for staff use.

  • Please do not visit other patients in their rooms or leave your assigned unit without checking with a member of your health care team in advance.

  • Ambulatory patients may visit one another in the visitor's lounge on the unit.

  • Please control the noise and number of visitors in your room.

Taking your responsibilities as a patient seriously and observing hospital policies is important to your well-being and that of others.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your rights and responsibilities as a patient, please speak to your care giver. You may either speak to them directly or ask to speak with a member of the supervisory staff.



Contacting Southcoast

Admissions Office:


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Southcoast Privacy Officer: 508-679-7006

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