Patient rights and responsibilities

Patient Rights and Responsibilities

As a patient, parent of a minor patient, or surrogate decision-maker it is important to know the rights given to patients, under federal and Georgia state law.


You have the right to:

  • Have a family member (or other representative of your choosing) and your own community doctor be notified promptly of your admission to the hospital.
  • Designate visitors of your choosing, if you have decision-making capacity, whether or not the visitor is related by blood or marriage. At a minimum, the hospital and/or clinic shall allow any persons living in your household and any support person defined in federal law to visit with you. The hospital and/or clinic will ensure that visitors enjoy full and equal visitation privileges consistent with your preferences unless:
    • No visitors are allowed.
    • The facility reasonably determines that the presence of a particular visitor would endanger the health or safety of a patient, a member of the health facility staff or other visitors to the health facility or would significantly disrupt the operations of the facility.
    • You have told the health facility staff that you no longer want a particular person to visit.

However, a health facility may establish reasonable restrictions upon visitation, including but not limited to restrictions upon the hours of visitation and number of visitors.

  • Appropriate assessment and management of your pain, information about pain, relief measures, and to participate in pain management decisions.
  • Request or reject the use of any or all modalities to relieve pain, including opiate medication. The doctor may refuse to prescribe the opiate medication, but if so, must inform you that there are doctors who specialize in the treatment of severe chronic intractable pain.
  • Exercise these rights without regard to sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, culture, language, age, disability, medical condition, marital status, diagnosis, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, educational background, economic status, or the source of payment for care.
  • Have access to treatment facilities that are available and medically indicated.
  • Have telephone and mail services, as reasonable, available, and appropriate within the clinical setting.
  • Receive spiritual care services.

Respect and dignity

You have the right to:

  • Receive kind and respectful care, be made comfortable, and have caregivers respect your cultural, psychosocial, spiritual, and personal values, beliefs and preferences.
  • Reasonable responses to any reasonable requests made for service.

Privacy and confidentiality

You have the right to:

  • Have personal privacy respected. Case discussion, consultation, examination, and treatment are confidential and should be conducted discreetly. You have the right to be told the reason for the presence of any individual, or to ask that a given individual, including visitors, leave prior to an examination and when treatment issues are being discussed.
  • Confidential treatment of all communications and records pertaining to your care and stay in the hospital and/or clinic. You will receive a separate “Notice of Privacy Practices” that explains your privacy rights in detail and how we may use and disclose your protected health information.

Medical information and consent

You have the right to:

  • Know the name of the doctor who has primary responsibility for coordinating your care, and the names and professional relationships of other doctors and caregivers who will see you.
  • Ask for and receive information about your health status, diagnosis, prognosis, course of treatment, prospects for recovery and outcomes of care (including unexpected outcomes) in terms you can understand in a manner that meets your needs . You have the right to effective communication and to take part in developing and implementing your plan of care. You have the right to participate in ethical questions that arise in the course of your care, including issues of conflict resolution, withholding resuscitative services, and forgoing or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment.
  • Make decisions regarding medical care and receive as much information about any proposed treatment or procedure as you may need in order to give informed consent or to refuse a course of treatment. Except in emergencies, this information shall include a description of the procedure or treatment, the potential benefits, medically significant risks involved, other courses of treatment or nontreatment and the risks involved in each, and the name of the person who will carry out the procedure or treatment.
  • Request, access, request amendment to, and receive an accounting of disclosures regarding past and current medical records within a reasonable timeframe, as permitted by law.
  • Be advised if your doctor or health care team propose a clinical study (research project or “protocol”) affecting your care or treatment. You have the right to receive an explanation of the nature and possible benefits and consequences of such research project before the research project is conducted. You also have the right to consent, withdraw consent, or refuse to participate in such research projects and to ask as many questions as you like about the research and your potential participation.

Provision of information

You have the right to:

  • Know which hospital and/or clinic rules and policies apply to your conduct while a patient.

Medical treatment decisions

You have the right to:

  • Formulate and tell us about your advance directives. This means designating a decision maker if you become incapable of understanding a proposed treatment or become unable to communicate your wishes regarding your care. Hospital staff, clinic staff and practitioners who provide care in the hospital and/or clinic shall comply with your directives. In case you are unable to make medical decisions on your own, your designated decision maker will have the rights that you have, as a patient.

Continuity of care

You have the right to:

  • Reasonable continuity of care and to know in advance the time and location of appointments as well as the identity of the persons providing the care.
  • Be informed by the doctor, or a delegate of the doctor, of continuing health care requirements following discharge from the hospital and/or clinic. You have the right to be involved in the development and implementation of your discharge plan. Upon your request, a friend or family member may be provided with this information also.

Refusal of treatment

You have the right to:

  • Request or refuse treatment, to the extent permitted by law. However, you do not have the right to demand inappropriate or medically unnecessary treatment or services. You have the right to leave the hospital and/or clinic, even against the advice of physicians, to the extent permitted by law.

Financial information

You have the right to:

  • Examine and receive an explanation of the hospital and/or clinic’s bill, regardless of the source of payment.

Personal safety

You have the right to:

  • Be free from restraints and seclusion used as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience, or retaliation by staff and that is not clinically necessary or necessary in an emergency situation to ensure your immediate physical safety, or the safety of others.
  • Receive care in a safe setting, free from mental, physical, sexual, or verbal abuse and neglect, exploitation, or harassment. You have the right to access protective and advocacy services, including notifying government agencies of neglect or abuse.

Complaints or concerns

You have the right to:

  • File a grievance and be informed of the process to review and address the grievance without fear of retaliation or retribution from your provider or the organization. If you want to file a grievance with this hospital or clinic, you may do so by writing or calling: 
    City of Hope Atlanta Patient Advocacy
    600 Celebrate Life Parkway
    Newnan, GA 30265
    Phone: (770) 400-6358.
  • The grievance committee will review each grievance and provide you with a written response within 30 days. The written response will contain the name of a person to contact at the hospital or clinic, the steps taken to investigate the grievance, the results of the grievance process and the date of completion of the grievance process. Concerns regarding quality of care or premature discharge will also be referred to the appropriate Utilization and Quality Control Peer Review Organization.
  • File a complaint with the Georgia Department of Community Health, regardless of whether you use the hospital’s grievance process:
    Online at:
    By phone: (800) 878-6442
  • Contact The Joint Commission if you have patient safety or quality concerns:
    Online at: 
    By mail:
    The Joint Commission
    Office of Quality and Patient Safety
    One Renaissance Boulevard
    Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
    By phone: 800-994-6610
  • File a grievance with the Georgia Composite Medical Board, concerning the physician, staff, office, and treatment received. You should send a written complaint to the board. You should be able to provide the physician or practice name, the address, and the specific nature of the complaint. Complaints or grievances may be reported to the Board at the following address or telephone number:
    Georgia Composite Medical Board
    Attn: Complaints Unit
    2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive SE
    11th Floor, East Tower
    Atlanta GA 30334

Patient responsibilities

  • You are responsible for providing complete and correct information about your medical history and current health condition. You are responsible for reporting changes in your health and/or condition. You are also responsible for reporting any concerns that you may have about the safety of your care.
  • It is important to follow the instructions of your doctor and care team. If you cannot follow your care instructions, you should discuss that with a member of your care team.
  • You are responsible for keeping your appointments and letting your provider know when you are not able to keep them.
  • You are responsible for financial costs relating to your care. These costs must be paid in a timely manner.
  • You are expected to follow hospital and/or clinic rules about care and conduct. Please respect the rights and property of hospital and/or clinic staff and other patients. You are also expected to follow hospital rules such as those regarding noise, smoking, and visitation.
  • You or your representative should tell the hospital and/or clinic if you have an advance health care directive. If you have one completed, please bring a copy to the Registration Office. At the time of admission, we will need to know the identity of the person who will make health decisions for you if you cannot (your “agent”), and the general nature of your preferences for your care. A member of your care team can help you prepare an advance health care directive if you have not done so. This is an important document for all patients, and we encourage you to speak to your care team for more information and help in this regard.
  • You are responsible for asking questions when you do not understand what you have been told about your medical care or what is expected of you. Asking questions will help your care team provide the safest possible care.
  • Request interpretation services when necessary.
  • You are responsible to accept accountability for refusing treatment or not following your healthcare provider’s instructions.
  • You are responsible for safeguarding all personal belongings brought with you to the hospital and/or clinic.

Contact City of Hope

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