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Patient Bill of Rights

As a patient at a Virtua hospital you have the following rights under state law and regulations:

MEDICAL CARE: To receive the care and health services that the hospital is required by law to provide. To receive an understandable explanation from your physician of your complete medical condition, recommended treatment, expected results, risks involved, and reasonable medical alternatives. If your physician believes that some of this information would be detrimental to your health or beyond your ability to understand, the explanation must be given to your next of kin or guardian. To give informed written consent prior to the start of specified non-emergency medical procedures or treatments. Your physician should explain to you - in words you understand - specific details about the recommended procedure or treatment, any risks involved, time required for recovery, and any reasonable medical alternatives. To refuse medication and treatment after possible consequences of this decision have been explained clearly to you, unless the situation is life-threatening or the procedure is required by law. To be included in experimental research only if you give informed, written consent. You have the right to refuse to participate. In addition, you have the right to have your pain assessed and adequately managed.

COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION: To be informed of the names and functions of all health care professionals providing you with personal care. To receive, as soon as possible, the services of a translator or interpreter if you need one to help you communicate with the hospital's health care personnel. To be informed of the names and functions of any outside health care and educational institutions involved in your treatment. You may refuse to allow their participation. To receive, upon request, the hospital's written policies and procedures regarding life-saving methods and the use or withdrawal of life support mechanisms. To be advised in writing of the hospital's rules regarding the conduct of patients and visitors. To receive a summary of your patient rights that includes the name and phone number of the hospital staff member to whom you can ask questions or complain about any possible violation of your rights.

MEDICAL RECORDS: To have prompt access to the information in your medical record. If your physician feels that this is detrimental to your health, your next of kin or guardian has a right to see your record. To obtain a copy of your medical record, at a reasonable fee, within 30 days after a written request to the hospital.

COST OF HOSPITAL CARE: To receive a copy of the hospital payment rates. If you request an itemized bill, the hospital must provide one, and explain any questions you may have. You have a right to appeal any charges. To be informed by the hospital if part or all of your bill will not be covered by insurance. The hospital is required to help you obtain any public assistance and private health care benefits to which you may be entitled.

DISCHARGE PLANNING: To receive information and assistance from your attending physician and other health care providers if you need to arrange for continuing health care after your discharge from the hospital. To receive sufficient time before discharge to arrange for continuing health care needs. To be informed by the hospital about any appeal process to which you are entitled by law if you disagree with the hospital's discharge plans.

TRANSFERS: To be transferred to another facility only when you or your family has made the request, or in instances where the transferring hospital is unable to provide you with the care you need. To receive an advance explanation from a physician of the reasons for your transfer and possible alternatives.

PERSONAL NEEDS: To be treated with courtesy, consideration, and respect for your dignity and individuality. To have access to storage space in your room for private use. The hospital must also have a system to safeguard your personal property.

FREEDOM FROM ABUSE AND RESTRAINTS: To freedom from physical and mental abuse. To freedom from restraints, unless they are authorized by a physician for a limited period of time to protect the safety of you or others.

PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY: To have physical privacy during medical treatment and personal hygiene functions, unless you need assistance. To confidential treatment of information about you. Information in your records will not be released to anyone outside the hospital without your approval, unless it is required by law.

LEGAL RIGHTS: To treatment and medical services without discrimination based on age, religion, national origin, sex, sexual preferences, handicap, diagnosis, ability to pay, or source of payment. To exercise all your constitutional, civil and legal rights.

PRIVATE NURSING: To contact directly with a New Jersey licensed registered professional nurse of your choosing for private professional nursing care during your hospitalization. A list of private duty agencies is available in the nursing office.

QUESTIONS AND COMPLAINTS: To present questions or grievances to a designated hospital staff member and to receive a response in a reasonable period of time. The hospital must provide you with the address and telephone number of the New Jersey Department of Health agency that handles questions and complaints. You may directly contact the New Jersey Department of Health Complaint Hotline at (800) 792-9770.

You may also call the Joint Commission at (800) 994-6610 from 8:30 am to 5 pm (Central time), Monday through Friday. Or write to them at Joint Commission, One Renaissance Boulevard, Oakbrook Terrace, IL, 60181.

This list of Patient Rights is an abbreviated summary of the current New Jersey law and regulations governing the rights of hospital patients. For more complete information, consult New Jersey Department of Health regulations at N.J.A.C.8:43G-4 or Public Law 1989-Chapter 170, available through your hospital.

Virtua Health Patient Responsibilities

To provide quality medical care and treatment requires each patient's cooperation. You, as the patient, are responsible:

  • To provide accurate and complete information regarding present illness, past medical history, and other matters relating to your health.
  • To report any changes in your condition to the physician.
  • To make known whether you satisfactorily understand your health problems and/or any possible treatment that may be administered.
  • To follow the treatment plan recommended by the physician and to assist nurses and other medical personnel in following instructions.
  • For your actions and the results if you refuse treatment or do not follow instructions.
  • To fulfill the financial obligations of your health care promptly.
  • To follow the hospital's rules and regulations affecting your care, conduct and safety. For being considerate of the rights of other patients and hospital personnel; for controlling the noise and conduct of your visitors; for the security of your personal belongings and the property of others.