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Patient Responsibilities and Bill of Rights

Statement of Patient Responsibilities as a Patient at Deborah Heart and Lung Center

As a patient of DHLC, you should assume responsibility for the following:

  • Providing Information: DHLC expects that you or your family/healthcare representative will provide accurate and complete information about present and past medical illnesses, hospitalizations, medications, “advance directives,” and other matters relating to your health history in order to receive effective medical treatment. You or family/healthcare representative must report perceived risks in their care and unexpected changes in your condition. You and your family/healthcare representative can help the hospital understand their environment by providing feedback about service needs and expectations.
  • Asking Questions: DHLC expects that you and your family/healthcare representative will ask questions if you/they do not understand the patient’s care, treatment, and service of what they are expected to do.
  • Following Instructions: You and your family/healthcare representative must follow the care, treatment, and service plan developed. You or your family/healthcare representative should express any concerns about your ability to follow the proposed care plan or course of care, treatment, and services. The hospital makes every effort to adapt the plan to the specific needs and limitations of the patients. When such adaptations to the care, treatment, and service plan are not recommended, patients and their families are informed of the consequences of the care, treatment, and service alternatives and not following the proposed course.
  • Accepting Consequences: Patients and their families are responsible for the outcomes if they do not follow the care, treatment and service plan.
  • Following Rules and Regulations: Patients and their families must follow these hospital rules and regulations:
    • DHLC expects you to be considerate of other patients and hospital personnel and to assist in the control of noise and visitors in your room, and to observe the smoking policy. You are also expected to be respectful of the property of other persons and the property of this hospital.
    • Authorized members of your family or designated/legal representative are expected to be available to DHLC personnel for review of your treatment in the event you are unable to properly communicate with your caregivers.
    • It is expected that you will not take drugs which have not been prescribed by your attending physicians and administered by hospital staff; and that you will not complicate or endanger the healing process by consuming alcoholic beverages or toxic substances during your hospital stay.
    • As a patient at this hospital, we ask that you:
      • Talk to your doctor or nurse about what to expect regarding pain and pain management.
      • Discuss pain relief options with your doctors and nurses to develop a pain management plan.
      • Ask for pain relief when pain first begins.
      • Help your doctor or nurse assess your pain.
      • Tell you doctor or nurse if your pain is not relieved.
      • Tell your doctor or nurse about any worries you have about taking pain medication.

Notice of Your Patient Bill of Rights as a Patient at Deborah Heart and Lung Center

Whether you are in this hospital for one week or one hour, you should be aware of your rights as a patient, and what you can and should expect from this hospital in regard to communication, costs, privacy, legal rights and other issues. Because we respect you as a human being and as an individual, we created this document to explain to you the “patient rights” to which you are entitled under Federal and State law and regulations, and Hospital policy.

Medical Care

  • To receive the care and health services that the hospital is required by law to provide under N.J.S.A. 26:1-1 et seq. and rules adopted by the Department of Health to implement this law.
  • To have your family member or representative notified of your admission to the hospital.
  • To be informed of the names and functions of all physicians and other health care professionals who are providing you with direct care. These people shall identify themselves by introduction or by wearing a name tag.
  • To choice of health care providers that is sufficient to assure access to high quality health care. To be informed which clinician will be performing any procedures you may have and the right to request to speak to that clinician prior to the procedure(s).
  • To access of emergency health services when and where the need arises.
  • To receive from your physician(s) in terms you understand, an explanation of your complete medical condition, recommended treatment, risk(s) of the treatment, expected results and reasonable medical alternatives. If this information would be detrimental to your health, or if you are not capable of understanding the information, the explanation shall be provided to your next of kin or guardian and documented in your medical record.
  • To give informed, written consent prior to the start of specified non-emergency procedures or treatments only after a physician has explained in terms that you understand – specific details about the recommended procedure or treatment, the risks involved, the possible duration of incapacitation, and any reasonable medical alternatives for care and treatment. The procedures requiring informed, written consent shall be specified in the hospital’s policies and procedures.  If you are incapable of giving informed, written consent, consent shall be sought from your next of kin or guardian or through an advance directive, to the extent authorized by law.  If you do not give written consent, a physician shall enter an explanation in your medical record.
  • To make informed decisions regarding the course of care and treatment. This includes resolving dilemmas about care decisions, formulating advance directives, and having hospital staff and practitioners who provide care in the hospital comply with these directives, when applicable, by withholding resuscitative services, forgoing or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment, and by providing care at the end of life.
  • To refuse medication and treatment to the extent permitted by law and to be informed of the medical consequences of this act.
  • To receive quick response to reports of pain, and to receive effective pain assessment, management and treatment in accordance with N.J.A.C.8:43E-6.
  • To be included in experimental research only when you give informed written consent to such participation, or when a guardian provides such consent if you are an incompetent patient in accordance with law and regulation. You may refuse to participate in experimental research, including the investigations of new drugs and medical devices; for the purposes of this policy, “human research” does not include the mere collecting of statistical data.
  • To contract directly with a New Jersey licensed registered professional nurse of your choosing for private professional nursing care during your hospitalization. A registered professional nurse so contracted shall adhere to hospital policies and procedures in regard to treatment protocols, and policies and procedures so long as these requirements are the same for private duty and regularly employed nurse. The hospital, upon your or your designee’s request, shall provide a list of local nonprofit professional nurse’s association registries that refer nurses for private professional nursing care.   The registered professional nurse shall not be considered an agent/employee of this hospital for purposes of any financial liabilities, including, but not limited to State or federal employee taxes, worker’s compensation payments or coverage for professional liability.

Communication and Information

  • To receive, as soon as possible, the services of a translator or interpreter to facilitate communication between you and the hospital’s health care personnel.
  • To be informed if the hospital has authorized other health care and educational institutions to participate in your treatment; you have the right to know the identity and function of these institutions, and may refuse to allow their participation in your treatment.
  • To be informed of the hospital’s policies and procedures regarding life-saving methods and the use or withdrawal of life-support mechanisms. Such policies and procedures shall be made available promptly in written format to you or to  your family or guardian upon request.
  • To be advised of the hospital rules and regulations regarding the conduct of patients and visitors, and to receive a copy of this Bill of Rights.

Medical Records

  • To have prompt access to the information contained in your medical record unless a physician prohibits such access as detrimental to your health, and explains the reason in your medical record. In that instance, your next of kin or guardian shall have a right to see your record. This right continues after your discharge from the hospital for as long as the hospital has a copy of your record.
  • To obtain a copy of your medical record at a reasonable fee, within 30 days of a written request to the hospital. If access by you is medically contraindicated (as documented by a physician in your medical record),your medical record shall be made available to your legally authorized representative or your physician.

Privacy and Confidentiality

  • To have physical privacy during medical treatment and personal hygiene functions, (i.e., bathing, toilet), unless you need the assistance for your own safety; your privacy shall also be respected during other health care procedures and when hospital personnel are having a discussion concerning you.
  • To confidential treatment of information regarding you. Information in your records shall not be released to anyone outside of the hospital without your approval, unless another health care facility to which you are transferred requires the information, or unless the release of the information is required and permitted by law, a third-party payment contract, a medical peer review, or the New Jersey State Department of Health. The hospital may release data about you for studies containing aggregated statistics when your identity is masked.

Discharge Planning/Appeals

  • To be informed by your attending physician and other providers of health care services about any continuing health care requirements after your discharge from the hospital. You shall also have the right to receive assistance from the physician and appropriate hospital staff in arranging for required follow-up care after discharge.
  • To receive sufficient time before discharge to have arrangement made for health care needs after hospitalization.
  • To be informed by the hospital about any discharge appeal process to which you are entitled by law.

Transfers

  • To be transferred to another facility only for one of the following reasons, with the reason recorded in your medical record:
  • This hospital is unable to provide the type or level of medical care appropriate to your needs. This hospital shall make an immediate effort to notify your primary care physician and next of kin, and document that the notifications were received; or
  • The transfer is your request, or by the request of your next of kin or guardian if you are mentally incapacitated or incompetent.
  • To receive from a physician an explanation of the reasons for your transfer to another facility, information about alternatives to the transfer, verification of acceptance from the receiving facility, and assurance that the movement associated with the transfer will not subject you to substantial, unnecessary risk of deterioration of your medical condition. This explanation of the transfer shall be given in advance to you and/or to your next of kin or guardian except in a life-threatening situation where immediate transfer is necessary.

Personal Needs

  • To be treated with courtesy, consideration, and respect for your dignity and individuality.
  • To have access to individual storage space in your room for your private use, or if you are unable to assume responsibility for your personal items, there shall be a system in place to safeguard your personal property until your next of kin is able to assume responsibility for these items.

Freedom from Abuse and Restraints

  • To freedom from restraints, unless they are authorized by a physician for a limited period of time to protect you or others from injury.
  • To freedom from physical and mental abuse.

Legal Rights

  • To treatment and medical services without discrimination as to national origin, race, age, religion, sex, sexual preference, handicap, diagnosis, ability to pay, or source of payment.
  • To retain and exercise to the fullest extent possible all the constitutional, civil, and legal rights to which you are entitled by law including the right to access protective and advocacy services.

Cost of Hospital Care

  • To receive a copy of the hospital payment rates, regardless of source of payment. Upon request, you or the responsible party shall be provided with an itemized bill and an explanation of charges if there are further questions. You or the responsible party has the right to appeal the charges. The hospital shall provide you or the responsible party with an explanation of procedures to follow in making such an appeal.
  • To be assisted in obtaining public assistance and the private health care benefits to which you may be entitled. This includes being advised that you are indigent or lack the ability to pay and that you may be eligible for coverage, and receiving the information and other assistance needed to qualify and file for benefits or reimbursement.

Questions and Complaints

To present your grievances to the Customer Services Coordinator at Deborah Heart and Lung Center. The Coordinator may be reached from inside the hospital by dialing #2969, or outside the hospital by calling (609) 735-2969. The hospital shall respond to questions or grievances within 48-72 hours.  You may also directly contact the NJ Department of Health complaint Hotline at 1-800-792-9770 or the Joint Commission at 1-630-792-5000.

Sources:  Federal COP; NJ Hospital Licensing Standards; Joint Commission RI.2.10-2.190
PAS  7/07.  Revision and Effective Date of this Notice: September 23, 2013.