Patient Rights & Responsibilities

Meritus Medical Center welcomes you! Our employees are ready to provide excellent care as prescribed or recommended by your team of physicians. To assist in this goal, it is important for you to know your rights as a patient, as well as your responsibilities. Access to this medical center is given without discrimination as to age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, ability to pay, type of illness, ethical or political belief, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

Haga clic aquí para ver los derechos del paciente en español.

PATIENT’S RIGHTS- You or your designee have the right to:

Respectful and Safe Care

1. Be given considerate, respectful and compassionate care.

2. Be given care in a safe environment, free from abuse and neglect (verbal, mental, physical, sexual).

3. Have a medical screening exam and be provided stabilizing treatments for emergency medical conditions and labor.

4. Be free from restraints and seclusion unless needed for safety.

5. Be told the names and jobs of the health care team involved in your care if staff safety is not an issue.

6. Have respect shown for your culture, personal values, beliefs and wishes.

7. Be given a list of protective and advocacy services when needed.

8. Receive information about your hospital and physician charges, ask for estimate of charges before care is provided as long as patient care is not impeded, examine your hospital bill and receive an explanation of it.

9. Have access to spiritual care.

10. Have conversations with our Ethics Services about issues related to your care.

11. Have a family member/designee and your doctor notified when you are admitted to the hospital.

Effective Communication and Participation in Your Care

12. Receive information in a way you can understand. If you are deaf or limited English proficiency (LEP) you will have access to interpreter free of charge.

13. Get information from your doctor/ provider regarding diagnosis, test results, prognosis, possible outcomes of care and unanticipated outcomes of care.

14. Be involved in your plan of care and discharge plan, or have your family/designee involved.

15. Have your pain assessed and managed.

16. Refuse care.

17. Have someone with you for emotional support during your stay unless that individual interferes with your or others’ rights, safety or health.

18. Have visitors or change your mind about visitors.

19. Appoint someone to make healthcare decisions for you if at some point you are unable to make decisions.

End of Life Decisions

20. Create or change an advanced directive (also known as a living will or durable power of attorney for health care).

21. Have your organ donations known and honored when possible.

Informed Consent

22. Give informed consent before any non-emergent care is provided including benefits and risks, alternatives to care and the benefits and risks of the alternatives to the care.

23. Agree or refuse to take part in medical research studies without it affecting your care.

24. Allow or refuse to allow pictures for purposes other than your care by staff or visitors.

Privacy and Confidentiality

25. Be provided a copy of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Notice of Privacy Practices.

26. Access to your medical record in accordance to the HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices.

27. Expect privacy and confidentiality in care discussions and treatment.

Complaints about Care

28. Complain and have your complaint reviewed without affecting your care. If you have a complaint about your care you may talk to your doctor, clinical nurse manager, or department manager.

29. You may also contact Patient Advocates Office at 301-790-8662 or 301-790-8499 or email advocates@meritushealth.com. The hospital has a process for resolving concerns about your care.

30. If your complaint is not resolved by the hospital to your satisfaction you may contact regulatory or state agencies which include:

Office of Health Care Quality
Maryland Department of Health
410-402-8000
Toll-free 1-877-402-8218
www.dhmh.state.md.us/ohcq
Maryland Physician Board of Quality
410-764-4777
www.mpb.state.md.us
The Joint Commission Office of Quality Monitoring
1-800-994-6610
complaint@jointcommission.org
www.jointcommission.org/generalpublic/complaint

PATIENT’S RESPONSIBILITIES- You have the responsibility to:

1. Provide information about your past illnesses, hospital stays, medications and other matters related to your health history.

2. Not take pictures, videos or recordings without permission of the hospital staff.

3. Cooperate and follow the care prescribed or recommended for you by your physician, nurses and other members of the health care team.

4. Let our staff know if you have any questions or there is anything you do not understand with your care.

5. Give us a copy of your advance directives or MOLST if you have them.

6. Participate in patient care decisions as the parent (patient younger than 18 years of age) and/or surrogate decision-maker of a patient

7. Be courteous to other patients and staff and follow hospital policy regarding patient and visitor behavior. We do not allow verbal harassment, abusive or intimidating language or any other threatening or disruptive behavior.

8. Be conscious of your noise level, manage the behavior of your visitors and respect the property of Meritus Medical Center.

9. Help keep our campus clean and abide by Meritus’ smoke-free and drug-free campus policies. Smoking, vaping, other controlled substances (other than prescribed medications) and alcohol are not permitted on the medical campus grounds, in any buildings or vehicles in the parking lots.

10. Leave your valuables at home. You are responsible for the safety of your belongings during your hospital stay.

11. Pay your bills or work with our staff to make a plan to meet your financial obligations.

Your Medical Record

You have the right to access information in your medical record and the right to request an amendment to your medical record. Medical records that contain behavioral health and addictions information must have approval by the behavioral health administration before release to the patient. To view or request a copy of 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 which can be reached at 301-790-8137. There is a processing fee if you request a copy of any portion of your medical record.

Patient Advocacy

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. If you or your family members have concerns about any aspect of your care, please contact the clinical manager on the unit or his/ her designee. Should our management staff not satisfy your concerns, please contact the patient advocate’s office at 301-790-8662 or 301-790-8499.

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 regulatory or state agencies listed.

Your Right to Make Health care Decisions

There may be times when you cannot make your wishes known to your doctor or other health care providers. If you were taken to a hospital in a coma, you would want the hospital's medical staff to know what your specific wishes are about your medical care.

This page describes what the federal law has to say about your rights to inform your health care providers and significant others about the medical care and treatment you want if you are physically or mentally unable to make those decisions yourself.

Because this is an important matter, we urge you to talk to your spouse, family, close friends, personal advisor(s), your doctor and your attorney before deciding whether you want an advance directive.

Advanced Directives FAQ

What are advanced directives?

Advance directives are documents that state your choices about medical treatment and/or name someone to make decisions about your medical treatment if you are unable to make these decisions or choices yourself. Through advance directives, you can make legally valid decisions about your future medical care.

Most states recognize three types of advance directives:

  • A living will
  • An appointment of health care agency
  • An oral directive

Do I have to have an advanced directive?

No. But if questions arise about medical treatment, advance directives may help to clarify these important issues.

Will I receive medical care if I do not have an advance directive?

Yes. There is a chance, however, that you will receive more treatment or procedures than you may want.

If you cannot speak for yourself and you do not have any advance directives, your health care provider will look to the following people, in the order listed, for decisions about your care.

  • Your guardian, if a court has appointed one.
  • Your spouse or domestic partner.
  • Your adult children.
  • Your parents.
  • Your adult brothers or sisters.

To whom should I talk about advance directives?

Before writing your instructions you should talk to those people closest to you. Discuss the instructions with your family, your doctor, and other appropriate people. These are the people who will be involved with your health care if you are unable to make your own decisions.

When do advance directives go into effect?

Directives go into effect when you can no longer make your own health care decisions. As long as you are able to give 'informed consent,' your health care providers will rely on you and not on your advance directives.

What is informed consent?

Informed consent means that you are able to understand the nature and probable consequences of medical treatments and are able to make evaluations of the risks and possible benefits of those treatments as compared with alternatives.

How will my health care providers know I have an advance directive?

Upon admission you will be asked if you have an advance directive. If you answer "yes," you will be asked to present it to the hospital to become part of your medical record while you are a patient. It is your responsibility to communicate the fact that you have these documents to your physician and significant others.

Download these helpful advance directive cards to keep in your wallet or purse. They will tell first responders and family members where to find a copy of your advance directive.

Can I change my mind after I write an advance directive?

Yes. You can cancel or change any advance directive that you have written by destroying the original document. Tell anyone concerned that you have cancelled the advance directive. To change your advance directive write and date a new one. Give copies of your revised document to all the appropriate parties, including your doctor.

Do I need a lawyer to help me make an advance directive?

There is no legal requirement to contact a lawyer, although a lawyer may be helpful to you. You may use this form to execute your advance directives.

What if I have questions regarding completion of my advance directive?

If you have questions or need assistance completing your Advanced Directives, please call 301-790-8271.

Click here for additional resources on Advance Directives.