Patient Bill of Rights
Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Patient
North Country Hospital, its Board of Trustees, and medical staff recognize and support the rights of patients. These rights include all those set forth in Title 18 V.S.A. (Vermont Statutes Annotated) Sec. 1852. Patients will be provided with a written statement of rights upon admission. Statements of patient rights and responsibilities are posted at all inpatient nursing units and are available upon request in Patient Registration.
Your Rights as a Patient
(1) The patient has the right to considerate and respectful care at all times and under all circumstances with recognition of his or her personal dignity;
(2) The patient shall have an attending physician who is responsible for coordinating a patient’s care;
(3) The patient has the right to obtain, from the physician coordinating his or her care, complete and current information concerning diagnosis, treatment, and any known prognosis in terms the patient can reasonably be expected to understand. If the patient consents or if the patient is incompetent or unable to understand, immediate family members, a reciprocal beneficiary or a guardian may also obtain this information. When it is not medically advisable to give such information to the patient, the information shall be made available to immediate family members, a reciprocal beneficiary or a guardian. The patient has the right to know by name the attending physician primarily responsible for coordinating his or her care;
(4) Except in emergencies, the patient has the right to receive from the patient’s physician information necessary to give informed consent prior to the start of any procedure or treatment, or both. Such information for informed consent should include but not necessarily be limited to the specific procedure or treatment, or both, the medically significant risks involved, and the probable duration of incapacitation. Where medically significant alternatives for care or treatment exist, or when the patient requests information concerning medical alternatives, the patient has the right to such information. The patient also has the right to know the name of the person responsible for the procedures or treatment, or both;
(5) The patient has the right to refuse treatment to the extent permitted by law. In the event the patient refuses treatment, the patient shall be informed of the medical consequences of the action and the hospital shall be relieved of any further responsibility for that refusal;
(6) The patient has the right to every consideration of privacy concerning the patient’s own medical care program. Case discussion, consultation, examination, and treatment are confidential and shall be conducted discreetly. Those not directly involved in the patient’s care must have the permission of the patient to be present. This right includes the right, upon request, to have a person of one’s own sex present during certain parts of a physical examination, treatment or procedure performed by a health care 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. The patient has the right to wear appropriate personal clothing and religious or other symbolic items so long as they do not interfere with diagnostic procedures or treatment;
(7) The patient has the right to expect that all communications and records pertaining to his or her care shall be treated as confidential. Only medical personnel, or individuals under the supervision of medical personnel, directly treating the patient, or those persons monitoring the quality of that treatment, or researching the effectiveness of that treatment, shall have access to the patient’s medical records. Others may have access to those records only with the patient’s written authorization;
(8) The patient has the right to expect that within its capacity a hospital shall respond reasonably to the request of a patient for services. The right shall include if physically possible a transfer to another room or place if another person in that room or place is disturbing the patient by smoking or other unreasonable actions. When medically permissible a patient may be transferred to another facility only after receiving complete information and explanation concerning the needs for and alternatives to such a transfer. The institution to which the patient is to be transferred must first have accepted the patient for transfer;
(9) The patient has the right to know the identity and professional status of individuals providing service to him or her, and to know which physician or other practitioner is primarily responsible for his or her care. This includes the patient’s right to know of the existence of any professional relationship among individuals who are treating him or her, as well as the relationship to any other health care or educational institutions involved in his or her care;
(10) The patient has the right to be advised if the hospital proposes to engage in or perform human experimentation affecting the patient’s care or treatment. Participation by patients in clinical training programs or in the gathering of data for research purposes shall be voluntary. The patient has the right to refuse to participate in such research projects.
(11) The patient has the right to expect reasonable continuity of care. The patient has the right to be informed by the attending physician of any continuing health care requirements following discharge;
(12) The patient has the right to receive an itemized, detailed, and understandable explanation of charges regardless of the source of payment;
(13) The patient has the right to know what hospital rules and regulations apply to his or her conduct as a patient;
(14) Whenever possible, guardians or parents have the right to stay with their children 24 hours per day. Whenever possible, agents, guardians, reciprocal beneficiaries or immediate family members have the right to stay with terminally ill patients 24 hours a day;
(15) A patient who does not speak or understand the predominant language of the community has a right to an interpreter if the language barrier presents a continuing problem to patient understanding of the care and treatment being provided. A patient who is hearing impaired has a right to an interpreter if the impairment presents a continuing problem to patient understanding of the care and treatments being provided;
(16) The patient has the right to receive professional assessment of pain and professional pain management;
(17) The patient has the right to be informed in writing of the availability of hospice services and the eligibility criteria for those services;
(18) The patient has the right to know maximum patient census and the full-time equivalent numbers of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and licensed nursing assistants who provide direct care for each shift on the unit where the patient is receiving care;
(19) The patient has the right to participation and means for making informed decisions regarding his/her plan of care;
(20) The patient has the right to have a family member or representative of his or her choice and his or her own physician notified promptly of his or her admission to the hospital.
(21) The patient has the right to provision of care in a safe setting;
(22) The patient has the right to freedom from all forms of abuse or harassment;
(23) The patient has the right to access to clinical records as quickly as record keeping systems permit.
Your Responsibilities as a Patient
1) To keep your appointments or phone the hospital if you cannot keep them.
2) To be considerate of other patients by respecting their privacy and limiting visitors.
3) To observe safety regulations, including the no-smoking policy.
4) To supply accurate information to appropriate personnel and report unexpected changes in your condition to your physician and members of the health care team.
5) To ask questions if medical instructions are not clear.
6) To follow the treatment plan recommended by your physician. This includes cooperation with other healthcare personnel who are implementing physician orders.
If during your stay here, you have a problem that is not dealt with to your satisfaction, after discussion with your attending physician or Director of Nursing, please feel free to contact our Quality Management Department at extension 295.
The Quality Management Program exists to resolve such problems and welcomes any thoughts, suggestions or criticisms concerning the total operation of this hospital. If you are unable to reach the Quality Management Department, your nurse will see that they are made aware of your concerns. If the situation requires immediate attention, a member of the hospital administration will come to your bedside. Investigation into your problem will begin immediately and we will work to resolve the issue as soon as possible. All communications and correspondence will receive prompt and personal attention.
You may also make a complaint about the hospital to Vermont state agencies. You can contact them whether or not you have complained to the hospital first.
The Division of Licensing and Protection of the Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living investigates hospital complaints under federal law, and also works with the Vermont Department of Health to investigate hospital complaints for the state.
Division of Licensing and Protection
HC 2 South
280 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671-2060
Main phone number: 802-241-0480
Main Fax: 802-241-0343
Survey & Certification Intake/Complaint:
If you prefer to contact the Board of Health or Health Department directly:
Board of Health and
VT Dept. of Health
PO Box 70
Burlington, VT 05402-0070
Tel. 802.657.4220, or 800.745.7371
If you have a complaint about a physician:
The Vermont Board of Medical Practice investigates complaints against physicians (MD), physician assistants (PA), podiatrists, and anesthesiologist assistants.
To file a complaint with the Board of Medical Practice:
Vermont Board of Medical Practice
Vermont Department of Health
PO Box 70
Burlington, VT 05402-0070
Tel. 802.657.4220 or 800.745.7371 (toll free in Vermont)
If you have a complaint about the hospital:
Contact our Director of Quality & Patient Safety, Thom Goodwin at
802-334-3295 (phone) – 802-334-4194 (fax)