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Rights & Responsibilities

Your Rights & Responsibilities as a Patient of Mercy Health

Mercy Health is committed to upholding your dignity and your rights as a patient in our health care system. The following statement is intended to inform you of your basic rights as a patient. 

Respectful, safe care: You have the right to:

  • Be treated with courtesy, dignity and respect at all times.
  • Have your beliefs, values, cultural and ethnic needs taken into consideration.
  • Be free from use of physical or chemical restraint and/or seclusion as a means of coercion, convenience or retaliation.
  • Have personal clothing, possessions, religious and symbolic items in your room as space allows-unless this infringes upon another patient's rights or medical recommendations.
  • Have valuables kept safe through Saint Mary's security procedures.
  • Receive timely responses to reasonable requests that you make for service.

Medical decisions: You have the right to:

  • Have medical treatment options communicated in a language you can understand and in a way that allows you to give informed consent and participate in your medical care.
  • Discuss appropriate medical treatment options with your physician(s) and other care givers prior to and during the course of treatment; to agree to recommended treatment or to refuse treatment, even life-sustaining treatment; to be informed of the consequences of decisions regarding treatment or refusal of treatment.
  • Be treated in the least restrictive environment possible and in a way that ensures your human dignity and safety.
  • Have an advance directive (Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and/or Living Will); you can expect that the intent of your wishes will be followed to the extent permitted by law and Saint Mary's policies.
  • Have your family, guardian or other legally recognized responsible person make medical decisions on your behalf, should you become unable to do so; to have these persons receive information necessary for giving informed consent for donation of organs and tissues.
  • Have the right to request brand name medications instead of generic medications.
  • Know the professional status of those caring for you; to be informed of any changes in the persons caring for you.
  • Know that your special needs will be addressed, including access to a foreign language interpreter, sign language interpreter, and/or telecommunications devices for the deaf.
  • Reasonable continuity of care as medically appropriate; to be informed of appropriate patient care transfer options when the hospital setting is no longer medically necessary.
  • Leave the facility against your physician's advice, to the extent permitted by law.
  • Be informed of the existence of business relationships among the hospital, educational institutions, other health care providers and/or payors which directly relate to your medical care.

Privacy/confidentiality: You have the right to:

  • Privacy when discussing personal medical information and during examinations.
  • Have a person of your own sex present during physical examinations and treatment procedures.
  • Privacy during personal hygiene, except when assistance is needed for your personal safety and well-being.
  • Remain clothed appropriately during a medical procedure.
  • Expect confidential treatment of communication regarding your care and your medical records.
  • Review medical records, to the extent permitted by law; to have information explained and interpreted as necessary, unless restricted by law.
  • Have a family member or representative of your choice and your own physician notified promptly of your admission to the hospital.

Pain management: You have the right to:

  • Have your pain prevented and adequately managed and controlled.
  • Know what medications, treatment or anesthesia will be given during surgery; to understand the risks and benefits and side effects of any medication given.
  • Know what alternative treatments may be available.
  • Have your expressions of pain believed and responded to as quickly as possible.

Communication with visitors: You have the right to:

  • Have your preferences honored regarding visitors, including hospital staff not directly involved in your care.
  • Have your preferences honored, when at all possible, by allowing a support person of your choosing to be present for emotional support.

Complaints about your care: You have the right to:

  • Information about Saint Mary's procedures to address problems about the care you are receiving.
  • Have your complaints addressed in a timely and respectful manner.

Participation in research studies: You have the right to:

  • Have sufficient information so that you can make an informed choice about participation in a proposed research trial.
  • Be fully informed about the risks and benefits of such participation.
  • Refuse to participate without it negatively impacting the medical care to which you are entitled.
  • Contact Saint Mary's Institutional Review Board about concerns you may have regarding participation in the study (contact person and number listed in the informed consent document).

Billing information: You have the right to:

  • Know the cost of the medical services provided by Saint Mary's.
  • Know any financial limitations which may be placed upon provision of care
  • Receive assistance if there is difficulty in paying your bill.
  • Receive an itemized list and explanation of your hospital or outpatient procedure's bill.
  • Receive helpful, courteous service from the billing department.
  • If you have questions concerning these rights, contact your physician or nurse for assistance.
    • Billing questions call: 616-685-3500
    • Complaint management call: 616-685-5444

Ethics Committee assistance: You have the right to:

  • Participate in the consideration of ethical issues which arise during your care; to be informed of available resources, including a review by the Ethics Committee.
  • Contact the Ethics Committee– ask your physician, nurse or other caregiver for assistance.

Your responsibilities

  • To provide to the best of your ability, accurate and complete information about your health, including past illnesses, hospital stays, use of medicines you are taking (including any herbal supplements or other nonprescription drugs).
  • To ask questions when you do not understand treatment information or instructions.
  • To inform your physician(s) and other caregivers when you do not feel capable of following treatment or care instructions.
  • To be considerate and respectful of the rights of other patients and the staff; to ask your visitors to do the same.
  • To provide accurate and adequate information to the hospital to arrange for payment of services, when needed.