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Patient Bill of Rights and Responsibilities

VCU Medical Center is committed to improving the quality of and access to patient care in Central Virginia and throughout the Commonwealth by providing superior, compassionate and innovative patient care to improve the health of all members of the communities we serve. We do this by partnering with patients and families along with their support networks to promote open communication, safety and participation in treatment planning. This bill of rights serves as notice to you of VCU Medical Center’s responsibilities. Likewise, patient responsibilities are included to promote an understanding of expectations of patients for the benefit of caregivers and fellow patients.

Patient Rights

You have the right to receive considerate, respectful and compassionate care in a safe setting regardless of your age, gender, race, national origin, religion, language, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, disabilities or source of payment.

You have the right to receive care in a dignity-preserving, safe environment, free from all forms of abuse, neglect, harassment or mistreatment.

You have the right to a complete and understandable explanation of your illness, treatment, pain, alternatives and expected outcomes from treatment, including unexpected outcomes.

You have the right to communication that you can understand. Information given will be appropriate to your age, understanding and language. The hospital will provide sign language and foreign language interpretive services as needed at no cost. If you have speech, hearing, vision or other impairments, you will receive additional aids to meet your needs.

You have the right to receive visitors, who you designate, including but not limited to, a spouse, a domestic partner, another family member, or a friend. Patient visitation is only restricted by hospital personnel when the visitor’s presence infringes on others’ rights, safety, or is medically or therapeutically contraindicated for you. You may also change or withdraw your consent to visitation privileges at any time during your inpatient stay.

You have the right to access, request amendment to, and obtain information on disclosers of your health information. Additionally, you can expect that your health record is maintained confidentially to the extent permitted by law. You have the right to obtain a copy of your health record by contacting the Health Information Management at (804) 828-0980.

You have the right to make decisions about your care, including the right to refuse care, the right to leave the facility, and the right to be informed in writing of potential health risks related to care refusal or departure. You do not have the right to demand treatment or services deemed medically unnecessary or inappropriate.

You have the right to identify a surrogate decision maker should you become unable to make decisions related to your health care.

You have the right to give or withhold informed consent. The informed consent process will include a discussion about potential benefits, risks and side effects of your planned treatment as well as the likelihood that you will achieve your goals and any problems that might occur during your recovery.

You have the right to give or withhold consent for recordings, photographs, films or other images of you to be produced or used for internal or external purposes other than identification, diagnosis or treatment.

You have the right to participate or refuse to participate in medical research studies. You may withdraw from a study at any time without impacting your access to care.

You have the right to have your pain assessed and to be involved in decisions regarding treatment of your pain.

You have the right to know the names and roles of the members of your health care team.

You have the right to be free of restraints that are not medically necessary or are used inappropriately.

You have the right to be free from abuse through access to advocacy and protective service agencies. The hospital will provide a list of protective and advocacy resources.

You have the right to spiritual care and religious support services consistent with personal beliefs. You may ask your nurse to contact the Pastoral Care Department.

You have the right to full consideration of your privacy and confidentiality in care discussions, examinations and treatments.

You have the right to create an advance directive (a living will, health care durable power of attorney) and appoint someone to make health care decisions for you if you are unable. The hospital will honor your wishes regarding organ donation. If you do not have an advance directive, we can provide you with information and help you complete one.

You have the right to have a family member or person of your choice and your own physician notified of your admission to the hospital.

You also have the right to voice a complaint and recommend changes freely without fear of being subjected to coercion, discrimination, reprisal or unreasonable interruption of care. If you have a problem or complaint, you may share it with your doctors, nurses or nurse managers.

You and your family and/or support network also have the right to voice a complaint with the following organizations:

  • Patient Centered Services: (804) 628-0400, pr@mcvh-vcu.edu
  • Compliance Helpline: 1-800-620-1438
  • Virginia Department of Health Office of Licensure and Certification: 1-800-955-1819
  • Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services: 804-786-3921
  • The Joint Commission Office of Quality Monitoring: 1-800-994-6610, complaint@jointcommission.com

Patient Responsibilities

You are responsible for providing complete and accurate information about your health, medical history and personal data, including address, telephone number, date of birth, Social Security number, insurance and employer.

You are responsible for providing the hospital or physician with a copy of your advance directives if you have one.

You are responsible for asking questions of your care provider(s) when you do not understand medical explanations or treatment plans. If you are unable or unwilling to follow the plan of care, you are responsible for informing your care provider who will explain the potential medical risks of not doing so. You are responsible for the outcomes of not following your plan of care.

You are responsible for providing complete and accurate information about your health and medical history including present condition, medications, past surgeries and hospitalizations.

You are responsible for following your plan of care, including purchasing supplies, medications and other items required for self-care at home.

You are responsible for leaving your personal valuables at home and only bringing necessary items to the hospital.

You are responsible for extending courtesy and respect to all VCU Medical Center staff, fellow patients and visitors. You are responsible for following all VCU Medical Center rules and safety regulations.

You are responsible for meeting your financial obligation to VCU Medical Center, including providing accurate medical insurance information or complete and accurate information for financial screening.