Patient Rights

The patient shall be accorded impartial access to treatment or accommodations that are available or medically indicated regardless of race, creed, sex, national origin or sources of payment for care.

The patient has a right to a safe and secure environment. Staff caring for the patient will follow safety standards and, when applicable, will wear appropriate protective equipment such as gloves, gowns and masks.

The patient will be treated with dignity and respect.

The patient has the right to privacy and confidentiality.

  • The patient can refuse to talk with or see anyone not officially connected with the hospital, including visitors and persons officially connected with the hospital but not directly involved in his/her care.
  • The patient can expect that all health information will be handled and maintained in a confidential and secure manner.
  • When health information is shared, the patient has the right to receive a report on when and why the information was shared. However, the patient may request restrictions on certain uses or disclosures of health information.
  • The patient has the right to obtain a copy of the MedStar Health Notice of Privacy Practices, which describes how medical information may be used and disclosed and how to gain access to this information.
  • The patient has the right to file a complaint with MedStar Health or MedStar Harbor Hospital if he/she believes that his/her privacy rights have been violated.

The patient may wear appropriate personal clothing and religious or other symbolic items, as long as they do not interfere with diagnostic procedures or treatment.

The patient will be interviewed and examined in surroundings designed to assure reasonable visual and auditory privacy. This includes the right to have a person of one's own sex present during certain parts of a physical examination, treatment or procedure performed by a health professional of the opposite sex, and the right not to remain disrobed any longer than is required for accomplishing the medical purpose for which the person was asked to disrobe.

Discussions and consultations involving the patient's care will be conducted discreetly and those not directly involved in his/her care will be present only with the patient's permission. The patient has the right to choose how and when he/she will receive information about his/her health.

The medical record of the patient will be read by those directly involved in his/her care, and the patient must give written authorization for others to do so. The patient has the right to see and obtain a copy of all information in his/her health records (in accordance with hospital policy and applicable law). The patient also has the right to update his/her health record.

The patient may request a transfer to another room if another patient or visitor is disturbing him/her.

The physical environment of the patient will be safe, secure and free from all forms of abuse and harassment.

Any health care individual providing care to the patient will have his/her identity know to the patient by wearing an identification badge with his/her name and title.

Each patient will be informed by his/her physician in the physician's office when possible-or in an emergency situation prior to entering the operating room-that the hospital would like the patient's scheduled procedure/operation to be part of the clinical training program, i.e., that medical students may be in attendance. The patient's permission will then be requested for the same.

Participation in research will be voluntary. Patients who refuse to take part in research studies are entitled to the most effective care that the hospital can otherwise provide.

The patient will be kept informed regarding his/her diagnosis, treatment and, if known, his/her prognosis. If it is not medically advisable to give such information to the patient, the information will be made available to a legally authorized individual.

The patient will be afforded the means to communicate if the usual or routine modes are not feasible for the patient. This can include language and hearing impaired interpreters. (See section: Assistance to Patients and Guests with Disabilities.)

The patient will give informed consent regarding health care decisions. The patient, at his/her request and expense, has the right to consult with a specialist.

The patient has a right to refuse treatment to the extent permitted by law and to be informed of the medical consequences of refusal. If refusal prevents the provision of appropriate care in accordance with professional standards, the relationship with the patient may be terminated.

The patient has the right to information about and answers to his/her questions about pain and pain relief. He/she should have the feeling that the staff cares about his/her pain and that the best possible pain relief treatment is available to him/her. The patient should be afforded a quick response when he/she reports pain.

The patient has the right to have his/her pain assessed and addressed and participate in the management of his/her pain.

The patient may not be transferred to another facility or organization unless he/she has received a complete explanation of the need for the transfer and of the alternatives to such a transfer and unless the transfer is acceptable to the other facility or organization. The patient also must agree to the transfer.

The patient will be informed by the practitioner responsible for his/her care, or his/her delegate, of any continuing health care requirements following discharge from the hospital.

Regardless of the source of payment for his/her care, the patient has the right to request and receive an itemized and detailed explanation of his/her total bill for services rendered in the hospital. The patient has the right to timely notice prior to termination of his/her eligibility for reimbursement by any third-party payer for the cost of his/her care.

The patient will be informed of the hospital's rules and regulations applicable to his/her conduct as a patient by written and auditory means or other forms if applicable.

The patient is informed through written materials and rounds by the patient representative about the hospital's mechanism for the initiations, review and resolution of patient complaints or grievances. Grievances are filed with the Patient Representative (410-350-3487) or through the administrative offices (410-350-3201).

The patient or surrogate may request advice from the ethics committee regarding health care decisions, conflict resolutions, withholding resuscitation, foregoing or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment. To consult with the ethics committee, the patient or surrogate should speak with his/her nurse or call Medical Affairs (410-350-3488) during weekdays and contact the nursing supervisor on weekends.

The patient may formulate advance directives and have hospital and medical staff comply with these directives to the extent permitted by law and hospital policy.

The patient may designate a family member or representative of his/her family and have his/her own physician notified promptly of his/her admission to the hospital.

The patient has the right to be free from any form of restraints (physical or a drug being used as a restraint) that is not medically necessary or is used as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience or retaliation by staff. Restraints are used if needed to improve the patient's well being and less restrictive interventions have been determined to be ineffective.

The patient has the right to access protective services and can contact case management at 410-350-3330 for information.

The patient has a right to file a complaint with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (410-402-8016) if he/she has a complaint about patient abuse, neglect or misappropriation of patient's property while in the hospital. The patient does not have to file a complaint with the hospital prior to filing a complaint with the state agency.

The patient has a right to unrestricted access to communication. If there are restrictions based on care needs of the patient, the patient is included in the decision and the therapeutic response to such restrictions is documented.