Patient Rights and Responsibilities

Patient Rights and Responsibilities

It is the policy of MedStar Georgetown University Hospital to provide patients with information regarding their rights and responsibilities while receiving care at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

Your Patient Rights

As a patient, you or your legally responsible party, have the right to care without discrimination due to age, AIDS or HIV status, ancestry, color, culture, disability, education, gender identity, income, language, marital status, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, or who will pay your bill. As our patient, you have the right to safe, respectful and dignified care at all times. You will receive services and care that are medically suggested and within the hospital’s services, its stated mission and required law
and regulation.


You have the right to:
• Have a family member, another person that you choose or your doctor notified when you are admitted to the hospital.
• Receive information in a way that you understand. This includes interpretation and translation in the language you prefer for talking about your health care. This also includes providing you with needed help if you have vision, speech, hearing, or cognitive impairments.
• Be informed, in a language you understand, of your right to be free from discrimination against you. This also applies to your representative and/or your support person.
• Access to protective and advocacy services.
• Designate a support person, if needed, to act on your behalf to assert and protect your patient rights.

Informed Decisions:

You have the right to:
• Receive information about your current health, care, outcomes, recovery, ongoing healthcare needs, and future health status in terms that you understand.
• Be informed about proposed care options, such as the risks and benefits, other care options, what could happen without care, and the outcome(s) of any medical care provided, including any outcomes that were not expected. You may need to sign your name before the start of any procedure and/or care. “Informed consent” is not required in the case of an emergency.
• Be involved in all aspects of your care and to take part in decisions about your care.
• Make choices about your care based on your own spiritual and personal values.
• Request care. This right does not mean you can demand care or services that are not periodically needed.
• Refuse any care, therapy, drug, or procedure against the medical advice of a doctor. There may be times that care must be provided based on the law.
• Expect the hospital to get your permission before taking photos, recording or filming you, if the purpose is for something other than patient identification, care, diagnosis, or therapy.
• Decide to take part or not take part in research or clinical trials for your condition, or donor programs that may be suggested by your doctor. Your participation in such care is voluntary, and written permission must be obtained from you or your legal representative before you participate. A decision to not take part in research or clinical trials will not affect your right to receive care.


You have the right to:
• Decide if you want visitors or not while you are here. The hospital may need to limit visitors to better care for you or other patients.
• Designate those persons who can visit you during your stay. These individuals do not need to be legally related to you.
• Designate a support person who may determine who can visit you if you become incapacitated.

Advance Directives:

You have the right to:
• Create advance directives, which are legal papers that allow you to decide now what you want to happen if you are no longer healthy enough to make decisions about your care.
• You have the right to have hospital staff comply with these directives.
• Ask about and discuss the ethics of your care, including resolving any conflicts that might arise, such as deciding against, withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining care.

Care Planning:

You have the right to:
• Receive a medical screening exam to determine treatment.
• Participate in the care that you receive in the hospital.
• Receive instructions on follow-up care and participate in decisions about your plan of care after you are out of the hospital.
• Receive a prompt and safe transfer to the care of others when this hospital is not able to meet your request or need for care or service. You have the right to know why a transfer to another healthcare facility might be required, as well as learning about other options for care. The hospital cannot transfer you to another hospital unless that hospital has agreed to accept you.

Care Delivery:

You have the right to:
• Expect emergency procedures to be implemented without unnecessary delay.
• Receive care in a safe setting free from any form of abuse, harassment and neglect.
• Receive kind, respectful, safe, quality care delivered by skilled staff.
• Know the names of doctors and nurses providing care to you and the names and roles of other healthcare workers and staff who are caring for you.
• Request a consultation by another healthcare provider.
• Receive proper assessment and management of pain, including the right to request or reject any or all options to relieve pain.
• Receive care free from restraints or seclusion unless necessary to provide medical, surgical or behavioral health care.
• Receive efficient and quality care with high professional standards.

Privacy And Confidentiality:

You have the right to:
• Limit who knows about you being in the hospital.
• Be interviewed, examined and discuss your care in places designed to protect your privacy.
• Be advised why certain people are present and to ask others to leave during sensitive talks or procedures.
• Expect all communications and records related to care, including who is paying for your care, to be treated as private.
• Receive written notice that explains how your personal health information will be used and shared with other healthcare professionals involved in your care.
• Request an amendment to, and obtain information on, disclosures of your health information, in accordance with law and regulation.
• Review and request copies of your medical record unless restricted for medical or legal reasons.

Hospital Bills:

You have the right to:
• Review, obtain, request, and receive a detailed explanation of your hospital charges and bills.
• Receive information and counseling on ways to help pay for the hospital bill.
• Request information about any business or financial arrangements that may impact your care.

Complaints, Concerns and Questions:

You have the right to:
• Tell hospital staff about your concerns or complaints regarding your care. This will not affect your future care.
• Seek assistance, by contacting Patient Advocacy at 202-444-3040, if you encounter discrimination. This also applies to your representative and/or your support person. You also have the right to contact the Office of Civil Rights at 800-368-1019 or 800-537-7697 TDD.
• Seek review of quality of care concerns, coverage decisions and concerns about your discharge.
• Expect a timely response to your complaint or grievance from the hospital. Complaints or grievances may be made in writing, by phone or in person. The hospital has a duty to respond to these complaints or grievances in a manner that you can understand. To share your concerns with the hospital, please contact the hospital’s Patient Advocacy staff at 202-444-3040.
• If your complaint or concern is not satisfactorily addressed, you have the right to contact:

The Joint Commission (TJC):
Fax: 630-792-5636
Mail: Office of Quality and Patient Safety, The Joint Commission, One Renaissance Blvd.
Oakbrook Terrace, Il 60181
The District of Columbia Department of Health
Phone: 877-672-2174
Fax: 202-442-4817
Mail: D.C. Department of Health, 899 North Capitol St., NE, Washington, DC 20002

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital does not take disciplinary or punitive action against employees, physicians, patients, or other individuals when they report safety or quality concerns to The Joint Commission or the District of Columbia Department of Health.

Your Patient Responsibilities

As a patient, family member or guardian, you have the right to know all hospital rules and what we expect of you during your hospital stay.

Provide Information:

As a patient, family member or guardian, we ask that you:
• Provide accurate and complete information about current healthcare problems, past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications, and other matters relating to your health.
• Report any condition that puts you at risk (for example, allergies or hearing problems).
• Report unexpected changes in your condition to the healthcare providers taking care of you.
• Provide a copy of your advance directive, living will, durable power of attorney for health care, and any organ/tissue donation permissions to the healthcare professionals taking care of you.

Respect And Consideration:

As a patient, family member or guardian, we ask that you:
• Recognize and respect the rights of other patients, families and staff. Threats, violence or harassment of other patients and hospital staff will not be tolerated.
• Comply with the hospital’s no smoking policy.
• Refrain from conducting any illegal activity.


As a patient, family member or guardian, we ask that you:
• Promote your own safety by becoming an active, involved and informed member of your healthcare team.
• Ask questions if you are concerned about your health or safety.
• Make sure your doctor knows the site or side of the body that will be operated on before a procedure.
• Remind staff to check your identification before medications are given, blood or blood products are administered, blood samples are taken, or before any procedure.
• Remind caregivers to wash their hands before taking care of you.
• Be informed about which medications you are taking and why you are taking them.
• Ask all hospital staff to identify themselves.


As a patient:
• You are responsible for paying for the health care that you received as promptly as possible.


As a patient:
• You are expected to follow the care plans suggested by the healthcare professionals caring for you while in the hospital. You should work with your healthcare professionals to develop a plan that you will be able to follow while in the hospital and after you leave the hospital.