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.
As a Patient, You Have the Right to:
- Considerate and respectful care at all times and under all circumstances with recognition of your personal dignity.
- Have an attending doctor who is responsible for coordinating your care.
- Obtain, from the doctor coordinating your care, complete and current information concerning diagnosis, treatment, and any known prognosis in terms that you can understand.
- If you consent or if you are incompetent or unable to understand, immediate family members, a reciprocal beneficiary, agent or guardian may also obtain this information. You have the right to know, by name, the attending doctor primarily responsible for coordinating your care.
- Receive information from your doctor that is necessary to give informed consent prior to the start of any procedure or treatment, or both, unless it is an emergency. Know if any medically significant alternatives for your care or treatment exist. You also have the right to know the name of the person responsible for the procedures, or treatment, or both.
- Refuse treatment to the extent permitted by law. In the event that you refuse treatment, you shall be informed of the medical consequences of that action and the hospital shall be relieved of any further responsibility of that refusal.
- Every consideration of privacy concerning your medical care. This right includes the right, upon request, to have a person of your own sex present during an exam, 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. You have the right to wear appropriate clothing and religious or other symbolic items so long as they do not interfere with diagnostic procedures or treatment.
- Expect that all communications and records pertaining to your care shall be treated as confidential unless you give permission or access is otherwise permitted by law.
Expect that, within its capacity, a hospital shall respond reasonably to your request for services. This right shall include, if physically possible, a transfer to another room or place if another person in that room or place is disturbing you by unreasonable actions. When medically permissible, you may be transferred to another facility only after receiving complete information and explanation concerning the need for and alternatives to such a transfer. The institution to which you are being transferred must first have accepted you for transfer.
- Know the name and professional status of individuals providing your care and to know which doctor or other provider is primarily responsible for your care. This includes the right to know of the existence of any professional relationship among individuals who are treating you, as well as the relationship to any other health care or educational institutions involved in your care.
- Know if any part of your care would involve research. Participation in clinical training programs or in the gathering of data for research purposes shall be voluntary. You have the right to refuse to participate in such research.
- Expect reasonable continuity of care. You have the right to be informed by the attending doctor of any continuing health care requirements following discharge.
- Receive an itemized, detailed, and understandable explanation of charges regardless of the source of payment.
- Know what hospital rules and regulations apply to your conduct as a patient.
- Whenever possible, guardians or parents have the right to stay with their children 24 hours per day. Whenever possible, agents, guardians, reciprocal beneficiaries or other immediate family members have the right to stay with a terminally ill patient 24 hours per day.
- Have an interpreter if a language barrier or hearing impairment presents a continuing problem to your understanding of the care and treatment being provided.
- Receive professional assessment of pain and professional pain management.
- Be informed in writing of the availability of hospice services and the eligibilty criteria for those services.
- Know the maximum number of patients and the number of nursing staff providing direct care for each shift for the unit where you are receiving care.
As a Patient, You Have the Responsibility to:
- Keep your appointments or phone the hospital if you cannot keep them.
- Be considerate of other patients by respecting their privacy and limiting
- Observe safety regulations, including the no-smoking policy.
- Ask questions if medical instructions are not clear.
- Follow the treatment plan recommended by your doctor. This includes cooperation with health care personnel who are implementing doctor’s orders. Assure that the financial obligations of your healthcare are fulfilled as promptly as possible.
Supply accurate information to appropriate personnel and report unexpected changes in your condition to your doctor.
Patient Relations Program
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.
If you have a complaint about the hospital:
Contact our Director of Quality & Patient Safety
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: 1-888-700-5330
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 (toll free in Vermont)
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)