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Washington County Health System
  Patient Bill of Rights


Our employees are ready to provide the best possible care as prescribed or recommended by your private physicians. To assist us in this goal, it is important for you to know your rights as a patient, as well as your responsibilities. Together, we can get you on your way to the fullest recovery possible. Access to treatment is provided regardless of race, national origin, religion, physical or mental handicap, sexual preference or source of payment.

You have the right:
1. To know by name the physician, nurses, and staff members responsible for your care.
2. To hear from your primary physician, in language you understand, your diagnosis, the treatment prescribed for you, the prognosis of your illness, and any instruction required for follow-up care.
3. To talk openly with your physician.
4. To know the reason you are given various tests and treatments and who the persons are who give them to you.
5. To know the general nature and inherent risk of any procedure or treatment prescribed for you.
6. To change your mind about any procedure for which you have given your consent.
7. To refuse to sign a consent form if you feel everything has not been explained to your satisfaction.
8. To cross out any part of the consent form that you do not want applied to your care.
9. To refuse treatment and to be informed of the medical consequences of this action.
10. To limit those persons who visit you.
11. To expect your personal privacy to be respected to the fullest extent consistent with the care prescribed for you.
12. To expect all communications and other records pertaining to your care, including the course of payment for treatment, to be kept confidential.
13. To request a consultation or second opinion from another physician.
14. To consult with the Ethics Committee (see below for more information) regarding treatment and care related issues which have not been resolved through discussion with the health care team, such as the continuation of life support measures.
15. To change physicians.
16. To change hospitals.
17. To examine your hospital bill, and to receive an explanation of it.
18. To refuse to participate in medical training programs and research projects.
19. To have family involvement in your care if you desire.
20. To voice any complaints or concerns without fear or intimidation. Complaints may be made to the Patient Advocate (See below) or any member of the health care team.
21. To know that the hospital is responsible for your care while a patient here, regardless of its relationship with physicians or other independent providers.
22. To know that your nurse has the right and responsibility to make inquiries and advocate on your behalf with higher authorities in the health system.
23. To be free from the inappropriate use of restraints and seclusion.

You, in return, have the responsibility:
1. To know and follow hospital rules and regulations.
2. To give cooperation and to follow the care prescribed or recommended for you by your physician, nurses, and other members of the health care team.
3. To notify your physician or nurse if you do not understand your diagnosis, treatment, or prognosis.
4. To let the nurse and your family know if you feel you are receiving too many outside visitors.
5. To respect the privacy of your roommate.
6. To accept your financial obligations associated with your care.
7. To advise your nurse, physician, or patient representative of any dissatisfaction you may have in regard to your care at the hospital and expect your concern to reviewed and addressed objectively without retribution.
8. To be considerate of the rights of other patients and hospital personnel and to assist in the control of noise and the number of visitors you receive.
9. To participate in patient care decisions as the parent and/or surrogate decision-maker of a patient.
10. To establish advance directives such as Living Wills or Appointment of Health Care Agents and to communicate them, or any changes, with your designated representative and health care team.

All Patients Have A Right To Pain Relief
As a patient, you can expect information about pain and pain relief measures; a staff committed to pain prevention and management; that your reports of pain will be believed; health professionals who respond quickly to reports of pain, and effective, state-of-the-art pain management. As a patient, we will expect that you will ask your doctor or nurse what to expect regarding pain and pain management; work with your doctor and nurse to make pain relief work; ask for pain relief when pain first begins; help the doctor and nurse measure your pain, tell the doctor or nurse about any pain that will not go away; and report to the doctor or nurse what pain relief methods have worked for you.

Patient Advocacy
If you or your family members have concerns about any aspect of your care, please contact the clinical manager or his/her designee. Should our management staff not satisfy your concerns, please contact the patient advocate’s office at 301-790-8262. The hospital has a process for resolving concerns about your care. Unless the issue is urgent you can expect to hear from someone within three business days. Should your complaint not be resolved by the hospital to your satisfaction you may contact the state agencies listed below.

Patient Advocacy Resources
Maryland Dept. of Mental Health and Hygiene 
Department of License & Certification
Maryland Hospital Association
Insurance Commissioner                                       

Maryland Attorney General
Health Advocate Program

Physician Board of Quality
Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations
Office of Quality Monitoring
One Renaissance Boulevard
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181

When necessary, the patient advocate can act as a liaison between you and your physicians in order to help you understand the aspects of your medical care.

Patient Advocate’s Office
251 East Antietam Street
Hagerstown, MD 21740
TDD: 1-800-735-2258

Your Record
You have the right to access information in your medical record and the right to request an amendment to your medical record. To view or copy information from your medical record, you must obtain and sign an “Authorization for Release of Medical Records” form. To amend your medical record a “Request for Amendment of Protected Health Information” form must be completed. Both forms are available in the medical records department.


© 2008
Washington County Health System
251 East Antietam Street
Hagerstown, MD 21740

TDD: 1-800-735-2258