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Your Patient Rights

Understand Your Patient Rights and Responsibilities

As a patient, you are entitled to certain rights and a level of respect from everyone who provides your care at Saint Vincent Hospital. Our goal is to give you the care that is right for your condition, in a respectful manner, to help you get well as soon as possible.

Summary of Your Rights

The rights and responsibilities that follow are a summary of your rights under Massachusetts Law MGL Chapter 111, section 70E, called the Patient Bill of Rights, and standards of The Joint Commission. By exercising your rights and responsibilities you help us give you the best care while you are in the hospital.

These are your rights:

  • You have the right to be treated in a caring and respectful way and to have impartial access to treatment or accommodations that is available or medically indicated, regardless of race, religion, cultural/personal values, beliefs and preferences, ethnicity, language, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, socioeconomic status or ability to pay for services.
  • You have the right to know the names of the people who are taking care of you and how they will help you or provide care for you. This is also true if you are taken care of by students, resident doctors or other people in training.
  • You have the right to refuse to be observed, examined or treated without jeopardizing your access to care. This is also true if you are taken care of by students, resident doctors or other people in training.
  • You have the right to create an advance directive/health care proxy, which tells the hospital and doctor who you want to make decisions for you if you are ever unable to do so. Upon admission, if you already have an advanced directive, please provide the hospital with a copy, which will be placed in your medical record.
  • You have the right to revise your advance directive/health care proxy or your representative.
  • You have the right to be informed regarding the extent to which the hospital is able, willing and/or unwilling to honor advanced directives on medical treatments or procedures of any kind, which the hospital deems are not in accordance with its values and ethics.
  • You have the right to be make informed decisions regarding your medical care, including:
    • Being informed of your health status.
    • Being involved in care planning and treatment.
    • Being able to request or refuse treatment.
    • Being involved in the development and implementation of your discharge plan.
  • You have the right to participate in decisions about your care treatment or service.
  • You have the right to take part in or say no if you do not want to participate in research, investigation and clinical trials without jeopardizing your access to care.
  • You have the right to receive the ethics consultation service, which is available to assist you and your family in making ethical decisions.
  • You have the right to prompt, lifesaving treatment without discrimination due to economic status or source of payment.
  • You have the right, if suffering from any form of breast cancer, to complete information on all alternative treatments that are medically viable.
  • You have the right to confidentiality of all records and communications concerning your medical history and treatment to the extent provided by law.
  • You have the right to personal dignity, and, to the extent reasonably possible, to privacy during medical treatment and other care.
  • You have the right to a prompt response to all reasonable requests.
  • You have the right to give or withhold informed consent to the extent provided by law.
  • You have the right to receive information relative to financial assistance and free care and request an itemized bill reflecting charges from the physician and/or facility.
  • You have the right to obtain a copy of any rules or regulations of this hospital that may apply to your conduct as a patient.
  • You have the right, upon request, to inspect your medical records, request an amendment to, or receive an accounting of disclosures regarding personal health information, and for a reasonable fee, receive a copy of your record.
  • You have the right to receive a copy of your medical record free if you show that your request is to support a claim or appeal under any provisions of the Social Security Act in any federal or state financial needs-based benefit program.
  • You have the right to personal safety and a secure environment while you are at Saint Vincent Hospital.
  • You have the right to have your pain managed.
  • You have the right to effective communication and the right to receive information in a manner you understand.
  • You have the right to fairly and openly voice your concerns or complaints when the quality of the care or services that you have received does not meet your expectations. If you present a complaint, your care will not be affected in any way. Also, if you have a problem that you cannot solve with your doctor, your nurse, department manager or other caregiver, you may contact the Office of Patient Advocates at (508) 363-6308.
  • You have the right to a patient representative who is your designated decision maker, who is legally responsible for making medical decisions on your behalf.
  • You have the right to an individual of your choice present for emotional support during the course of your stay, unless the presence infringes on rights of others or is medically or therapeutically contraindicated.
  • You have the right to request notification of your family member or your representative of your hospital admission.
  • You have the right to accept or refuse medical or surgical treatment, including forgoing or withdrawing life sustaining treatment or withholding resuscitative services.
  • You have the right to request information regarding the hospital’s relationship to other health care facilities, if any.
  • You have the right to give or withhold informed consent to produce or use recordings, films, or other images of you for purposes other than your care.
  • You have the right to be free from neglect, exploitation, or any type of abuse or harassment.
  • You have the right to access protective and advocacy services.
  • You have the right to receive the visitors you designate, including, but not limited to, the following:
    • Spouse
    • Domestic partner (including same-sex domestic partner)
    • Another family member
    • Friend
  • All visitors designated by you (or a duly named support person) will enjoy visitation privileges that are no more or less restrictive than those rights that immediate family members possess.
  • You have the right to limit the visiting privileges of your visitors.
  • You have the right to withdraw or deny consent for visitation at any time.

Your Patient Responsibilities

While it is the commitment of Saint Vincent Hospital and our staff to honor and respect your rights as a patient, you also have responsibility to help make sure your care is a positive health experience.

Saint Vincent Hospital expects you to:

  • Be honest with us and provide complete and accurate information about your present illness, including previous hospitalizations and anything else you know about your health that would help us treat you. Also, let us know your expectations about hospitalization and treatment.
  • Ask questions of any member of your treatment team until you have a complete understanding of what they are saying to you. Also, please tell your doctor if you cannot follow the plan.
  • Comply with all the hospital’s rules and regulations as they relate to your care, safety and conduct as a patient. Be considerate of Saint Vincent Hospital staff and property as well as other patients and their property.
  • Appoint a health care proxy and complete an advanced directive, so that we can know what kind of care you wish to have should you become unable to tell us.
  • Give the hospital all the information they will need to promptly fulfill your financial obligations that you incur while in the hospital, to the extent of your ability to pay.
  • Be responsible for your own actions if you refuse treatment or do not follow the instructions of those providing care.  

Learn More

For a complete copy of the Patient Bill of Rights or to discuss these rights and responsibilities, please call the Office of Patient Advocates at (508) 363-6308, or ext. 26308.

If you need a translation of this document, please call Interpreter Services at (508) 363-8695, or ext. 28695.

Filing a Complaint

While we will do everything in our power to give you the best care possible, you are entitled to direct any problems or complaints related to violations of your rights above. You can report your claim to the following places:

Office of Patient Advocates at Saint Vincent Hospital
123 Summer Street
Worcester, MA 01608-1320
(508) 363-6308

The Joint Commission Division of Accreditation Operations
1 Renaissance Boulevard
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
(800) 994-6610

Department of Public Health Division of Health Care Quality
99 Chauncey Street, 2nd floor
Boston, MA 02111
(800) 462-5540

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine
200 Harvard Mill Square, Suite 300
Wakefield, MA 01880
(781) 876-8200 

The Department of Mental Health
25 Staniford Street
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 626-8000