There is currently no federal patient bill of rights applicable to all U.S. citizens, although the President and Congress have considered various proposed bills for several years.
However, a Patient Bill of Rights has evolved that is currently embraced by most hospitals and other medical facilities in this country. Provisions may vary slightly, but in most cases, include the following.
1. The patient has the right to considerate and respectful care.
2. The patient has the right to obtain from his/her physician complete current information concerning his/her diagnosis, treatment and prognosis in terms the patient can be reasonably expected to understand.
3. The patient has the right to receive from his/her physician information necessary to give informed consent prior to the start of any procedure and/or treatment.
4. The patient has the right to refuse treatment to the extent permitted by law, and to be informed of the medical consequences of his/her action.
5. The patient has the right to every consideration of his privacy concerning his/her own medical care program.
6. The patient has the right to expect that all communications and records pertaining to his/her care should be treated as confidential.
7. The patient has the right to expect that within its capacity a hospital must make reasonable response to the request of a patient.
8. The patient has the right to obtain information as to any relationship of his/her hospital to other health care and educational institutions insofar as his/her care is concerned.
9. The patient has the right to be advised if the hospital proposes to engage in or perform human experimentation affecting his/her care or treatment.
10. The patient has the right to expect reasonable continuity of care.
11. The patient has the right to examine and receive an explanation of his/her bill regardless of source of payment.
12. The patient has the right to know what hospital rules and regulations apply to his/her conduct as a patient.
These rights also apply to the patient's representative when the patient cannot represent his/her self.