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Patients Rights

Definition - What does Patients Rights mean?

State and federal laws govern certain aspects of the health care system including patient's rights. Some states have also created extra statutes which can protect a patient's rights with respect to fair, appropriate, and safe medical care. Other states, such as Michigan, have gone as far as to create a Patient's Bill of Rights which outlines the specific rights of patients in Michigan.

What are my rights as a patient?

State laws vary, but federal laws will give all patients certain rights. For instance, under HIPAA all patients have a right to privacy, which means a person's medical records cannot be shared with a third party without prior authorization from the patient. Patients also have the right to receive medical care without discrimination based on race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual preference, or source of payment.

Patients also have the right to appropriate medical care, the right to refuse medical treatment, the right to voice their grievances to the healthcare facility, and the right to receive information about the health facility's or agency's policies. Patients also have the right to request financial information about their medical care, and it should be given to the patient when requested. Patients also have the right to receive appropriate pain management for their medical treatment.

Patient rights violations what can I do?

So what do you do if your rights have been violated? If your personal medical information has been shared with an unauthorized party this could be a federal patient rights violation under the HIPAA Privacy Rule. These violations can be reported to the Office for Civil Rights which is responsible for protecting the privacy of individually identifiable health information.

Other patient rights violations, assuming they are egregious and lead to injury or damages, may allow you to file a medical malpractice claim and seek compensation for your loss. Talk to a lawyer if you have questions about your rights following a patient right's violation.

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