RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF PATIENTS

Following is the statement of Rights and Responsibilities of Patients and Residents at Wythe County Community Hospital. This is not intended to be an all inclusive statement of patients' rights, but an outline only. Copies of this statement will be distributed to all patients upon admission for inpatient and outpatient hospital based care.

Patient Rights

Wythe County Community Hospital and the Extended Care Unit support the rights and responsibilities of all patients/residents receiving care or services at this facility. To the extent possible, Wythe County Community Hospital encourages family participation in the continuity of care and the exercise of patient/resident rights.

In the event that the patient or resident, for any reason such as age or mental condition, is unable to read and understand these rights, it is the policy of Wythe County Community Hospital and the Extended Care Unit that the staff be assigned the responsibility to protect the rights of the patient/resident. In the event of neonate, pediatric, elderly or incompetent patients/residents, the involvement and participation of family members is encouraged. In the absence of support persons, the chaplain and hospital social worker act as the patient's advocate.

Should a conflict arise regarding the issues of admission, treatment, or discharge, the final decision making authority remains with the patient or designated decision maker. Hospital personnel have the authority to facilitate an appropriate resolution of any conflicts. The mechanism utilized is the existing reporting structure in the hospital as well as other hospital and/or community resources. (i.e. Chiefs of Service, Social Services, Chaplains, Family Resource Center, Mental Health Services, etc.) In addition, it is the responsibility of all employees of Wythe County Community Hospital and the Extended Care Unit to recognize and respect the rights of all patients/residents.

Patients and residents of Wythe County Community Hospital and the Extended Care Unit have the right to voice grievances, complaints or to recommend changes in policies and services without restraint, interference, coercion or discrimination. This procedure will be explained to each patient/resident upon admission. Complaints from patients or families will be documented on a Complaint Form. The Complaint Form will be forwarded to the Director of Clinical Effectiveness who will then forward it to the appropriate department director for comment or action. All complaints will be reviewed by a senior administrative representative as appropriate or at least monthly.

No patient or resident will be discriminated against because of any handicap or impairment. Any patient/resident who feels that some discrimination has taken place will be afforded the remedies as outlined above.

Access to Care

Individuals will be accorded impartial access to treatment or accommodations that are available or medically indicated, regardless of race, creed, sex, age, national origin, religion, disability or source of payment for care.

Respect, Dignity and Pastoral Care

The patient or resident has the right to considerate, respectful care at all times and under all circumstances, with recognition of his/her personal dignity, beliefs and values. The patient or resident has a right to pastoral care and other spiritual services.

Privacy and Confidentiality

The patient or resident has the right, within the law, to personal and informational privacy, as manifested by the right to:
  • Refuse to talk with or see anyone not officially connected with the hospital or Extended Care Unit, including visitors, or persons officially connected with the hospital but who are not directly involved in his/her care.
  • Wear appropriate personal clothing and religious or other symbolic items, as long as they do not interfere with diagnostic procedures or treatment.
  • Be interviewed and examined in surroundings designed to assure reasonable audiovisual 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 patient was asked to disrobe.
  • Expect that any discussion or consultation involving his/her case will be conducted discreetly, and that individuals not directly involved in his/her care will not be present without his/her permission.
  • Have his/her medical record read only by individuals directly involved in his/her treatment or the monitoring of its quality, and by other individuals only on his/her written authorization or that of his/her legally authorized representative.
  • Expect that all communications and other records pertaining to his/her care, including the source of payment for treatment, to be treated as confidential.
  • Consent to recordings or filming when such recordings are used for purposes other than identification, diagnosis or treatment.
  • Request a transfer to another room if another patient or visitors in that room are unreasonably disturbing him.
  • Be placed in protective privacy when considered necessary for personal safety.

Personal Safety

The patient or resident has the right to expect reasonable safety insofar as the hospital practices and environment are concerned. The patient has the right to be free of mental, physical, sexual and verbal abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Identity

The patient or resident has the right to know the identity and professional status of individuals providing service to him and to know which physician or other practitioner is primarily responsible for his/her care. This includes the patient's or resident's right to know of the existence of any professional relationship among individuals who are treating him, as well as the relationship of the hospital or the Extended Care Unit to any other health care or educational institutions involved in his/her care. Participation by patients or residents in clinical training programs or in the gathering of data for research purposes should be voluntary.

Information

The patient or resident has the right to obtain from the practitioner responsible for coordinating his/her care or from the medical record complete and current information concerning his/her diagnosis (to the degree known), treatment, and any known prognosis. This information should be communicated in terms the patients or residents can reasonably be expected to understand. When it is not medically advisable to give such information to the patient or resident, the information should be made available to a legally authorized individual. The patient has the right to access, request amendment, and receive an accounting of disclosures regarding his or her healthcare.

Communication

The patient or resident has the right of access to people outside the hospital by means of visitors, and by verbal and written communication. When the patient or resident does not speak or understand the predominant language of the community, WCCH will make every attempt to provide an interpreter. As appropriate, handicapped patients will be provided telecommunication aids and services. When the hospital restricts a patient’s visits, mail, telephone calls or other forms of communication, the restrictions are explained and determined with patient/family involvement, and evaluated for their therapeutic effectiveness.

Consent

The patient or resident has the right to reasonably informed participation in decisions involving his/her health care. To the degree possible, this should be based on a clear, concise explanation of his/her condition and of all proposed technical procedures, including the possibilities of any risk of mortality or serious side effects, problems related to recuperation, and probability of success. The patient or resident should not be subjected to any procedure without his/her voluntary, competent, and understanding consent, or that of his/her legally authorized representative. Where medically significant alternatives for care or treatment exist, the patient or resident shall be so informed.

The patient or resident has the right to know who is responsible for authorizing and performing the procedures or treatment.

The patient or resident shall be informed if the hospital proposes to engage in or perform human experimentation or other research/educational projects affecting his/her care or treatment, and the patient or resident has the right to refuse to participate in any such activity.

Consultation

The patient or resident, at his/her own request and expense, has the right to consult with a specialist.

Ethics

The patient or resident has the right to participate in ethical issues that arise in the course of care, including conflict resolution, withholding resuscitative services, foregoing or withdrawal of life sustaining treatment, and organ donation and freedom from restraints and seclusion as a means of coercion, discipline, staff convenience, or retaliation.

Pain Management

The patient has the right to appropriate assessment and management of pain.

Advanced Directives

The patient or resident has the right to execute an advanced directive or designate a decision maker as specified in state law.

Refusal of Treatment

The patient or resident may refuse treatment to the extent permitted by law. When refusal of treatment by the patient or his/her legally authorized representative prevents the provision of appropriate care in accordance with ethical and professional standards, the relationship with the patient or resident may be terminated upon reasonable notice.

Transfer and Continuity of Care

A patient or resident may not be transferred to another facility unless he/she has received a complete explanation of the need for the transfer and the alternatives to such a transfer and unless the transfer is acceptable to the other facility. The patient or resident has the right to be informed by the responsible practitioner or his/her delegate of any continuing health care requirements following discharge from the hospital.

Protective Services/Complaints

Wythe County Community Hospital supports, and will facilitate, patient rights to access protective services (guardianship and advocacy services, conservator-ship, and child or adult protective services) by providing, as requested, information regarding the patients' right to file a complaint with appropriate agencies if there is a concern about patient abuse, neglect or about misappropriation of a patient's property in the facility and a list of names and telephone numbers of pertinent state client advocacy groups such as:
  • Virginia Quality Health Care Services and Consumer Protection, 1-800-955-1819
  • Virginia Health Professions Department, (804) 662-9900
  • Virginia Professional and Occupational Regulation Department, (804 367-8504
  • Virginia Department of Health (Roanoke Division), (540) 857-7600
  • Virginia Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, 1-800-552-3402
  • Virginia Health Line, (804) 786-1000
  • Virginia Complaints Against Health Care Practitioners, 1-800-533-1560
  • Virginia Child Abuse and Neglect, 1-800-552-7096 or (804) 786-8536
  • Virginia Department of Social Services (Roanoke Division), (540) 857-7920
  • Medicaid Assistance Services Department, (804) 786-7933 or 1-800-343-0634
  • US General Services Administration, 1-800-347-1997
  • CMS, (410) 786-3000
  • The Joint Commission, 1-800-994-6610

Hospital Charges

Regardless of the source of payment for his/her care, the patient or resident 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 or resident 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.

Hospital Rules and Regulations

The patient or resident should be informed of the hospital rules and regulations applicable to his/her conduct as a patient or resident. Patients and residents are entitled to information about the hospital's mechanism for the initiation, review, and resolution of patient complaints. The patient or resident and/or his/her guardian have the right to express concerns regarding issues relating to quality of care or services without adversely affecting his/her continued or future care from this hospital. Patients or residents may make complaints through verbal message, telephone call, letter, patient satisfaction survey to any employee of the organization. All complaints will be appropriately followed up and a response given if requested.

Reference:

Joint Commission Ethics, Rights and Responsibilities, RI.1.2 – RI.3.10