section is adapted from the www.consumer.gov/qualityhealth website.
Patients have both rights and responsibilities when it comes to their health and
the health care services they receive. On March 26, 1997, President Bill Clinton
appointed an Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health
Care Industry. The Commission issued its final report, Quality First: Better Health
Care for All Americans, in March 1998.
As part of its work, the Commission issued a Consumer Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.
This document was intended
to serve as a blueprint for how systems and procedures
that aim to protect consumers and ensure quality of care could be improved.
the Consumer Bill of Rights and Responsibilities expressed three goals:
- To strengthen consumer confidence by assuring that the health care system is fair
to consumer’s needs, provides consumers with credible and effective
mechanisms to address their concerns, and encourages consumer to take an active
role in improving and assuring their health.
- To reaffirm the importance of a strong relationship between patients and their health
- To reaffirm the critical role consumers play in safeguarding their health by establishing
rights and responsibilities for all participants in improving their health.
Many health plans, including all of the plans sponsored by the Federal government,
have adopted these general principles. The Consumer Bill of Rights and Responsibilities
also lists specific rights and responsibilities that Federal health plans and others
have also adopted.
Patients’ Bill of Rights
I. Information Disclosure
You have the right to receive accurate and easily understood information
about your health plan, health care professionals, and health care facilities. If
you speak another language, have a physical or mental disability, or just don’t
understand something, assistance will be provided so you can make informed health
II. Choice of Providers and Plans
You have the right to a choice of health care providers that is sufficient
to provide you with access to appropriate high-quality health care.
III. Access to Emergency Services
If you have severe pain, an injury, or sudden illness that convinces
you that your health is in serious jeopardy, you have the right to receive screening
and stabilization emergency services whenever and wherever needed, without prior
authorization or financial penalty.
IV. Participation in Treatment Decisions
You have the right to know all your treatment options and to participate
in decisions about your care. Parents, guardians, family members, or other individuals
that you designate can represent you if you cannot make your own decisions.
You have a right to considerate, respectful and nondiscriminatory
care from your doctors, health plan representatives, and other health care providers.
VI. Confidentiality of Health Information
You have the right to talk in confidence with health care providers
and to have your health care information protected. You also have the right to review
and copy your own medical record and request that your physician amend your record
if it is not accurate, relevant, or complete.
VII. Complaints and Appeals
the right to a fair, fast, and objective review of any complaint
you have against
your health plan, doctors, hospitals or other health care personnel. This includes
complaints about waiting times, operating hours, the conduct of health care personnel,
and the adequacy of health care facilities.