Patient's Bill of Rights
According to rules and regulations established by the Pennsylvania
Department of Health, published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin,
Saturday, September 20, 1980, the following guidelines have been
designated as minimal provisions for the Patient's Bill of Rights.
Every hospital throughout the state is mandated to establish a
Patient's Bill of Rights, which includes at minimum, the following
statements (provisions) of rights:
- A patient has the right to respectful care given by competent personnel.
- A patient has the right, upon request, to be given the name of his
attending physician, the names of all other physicians directly
participating in his care, and the names and functions of other health
care persons having direct contact with the patient.
- A patient has the right to every consideration of his privacy
concerning his own medical care program. Case discussion,
consultation, examination and treatment are considered confidential
and should be conducted discreetly.
- A patient has the right to have all records pertaining to his
medical care treated as confidential except as otherwise provided by
law or third party contractual arrangements.
- A patient has the right to know what hospital rules and
regulations apply to his conduct as a patient.
- The patient has the right to expect emergency procedures to be
implemented without unnecessary delay.
- The patient has the right to good quality care and high
professional standards that are continually maintained and reviewed.
- The patient has the right to full information in layman's terms,
concerning his diagnosis, treatment and prognosis, including
information about alternative treatments and possible complications.
When it is not medically advisable to give such information to the
patient, the information shall be given on his behalf to the patient's
next of kin or other appropriate person.
- Except for emergencies, the physician must obtain the necessary
consent prior to the start of any procedure or treatment, or both.
Informed consent is defined in Section 103 of the Health Care Services
Malpractice Act (40 P.S. 1301.103).
- A patient, or in the event the patient is unable to give informed
consent, a legally responsible party, has the right to be advised when
a physician is considering the patient as a part of a medical care
research program or donor program, and the patient, or legally
responsible party, must give informed consent prior to actual
participation in such a program. A patient, or legally responsible
party, may, at any time, refuse to continue in any such program to
which he has previously given informed consent.
- A patient has the right to refuse any drugs, treatment, or
procedure offered by the hospital, to the extent permitted by law, and
a physician shall inform the patient of the medical consequences of
the patient's refusal of any drugs, treatment or procedure.
- A patient has the right to assistance in obtaining consultation
with another physician at the patient's request and own expense.
- A patient has the right to medical and nursing services without
discrimination based upon race, color, religion, sex, sexual
preference, national origin, or source of payment.
- The patient who does not speak English should have access, where
possible, to an interpreter.
- The hospital shall provide the patient or patient designee, upon
request, access to all information contained in his medical records,
unless access is specifically restricted by the attending physician
for medical reasons.
- The patient has the right to expect good management techniques to
be implemented within the hospital considering effective use of the
time of the patient and to avoid the personal discomfort of the
- When medically permissible, a patient may be transferred to
another facility only after he or his next of kin or other legally
responsible representative has received complete information and an
explanation concerning the needs for and alternatives to such a
transfer. The institution to which the patient is to be transferred
must first have accepted the patient for transfer.
- The patient has the right to examine and receive a detailed
explanation of his bill.
- The patient has a right to full information and counseling on the
availability of known financial resources for his health care.
- A patient has the right to expect that the health care facility
will provide a mechanism whereby he is informed upon discharge of his
continuing health care requirements following discharge and the means
for meeting them.
- A patient cannot be denied the right of access to an individual or
agency who is authorized to act on his behalf to assert or protect the
rights set out in this section.
- A patient has the right to be informed of his rights at the
earliest possible moment in the course of his hospitalization.
All hospitals are also responsible for developing procedures to inform
their patients of this Bill of Rights. Bills of Rights must either be
prominently displayed, with additional copies available upon request,
or a copy must be provided to the patient or other responsible party
upon admission, or as soon after admission as is feasible.
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