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HEALTHCARE FOR THE AGING
PATIENT'S BILL OF RIGHTS: AMERICAN HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION
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Patient's Bill of Rights, approved by the AHA House of Delegates February 6, 1973, before our political leaders revised it.

INTRODUCTION

THE AMERICAN HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION (AHA) BOARD OF TRUSTEES'
COMMITTEE ON HEALTH CARE FOR THE DISADVANTAGED, WHICH HAS BEEN A CONSISTENT ADVOCATE OF THE BEHALF OF CONSUMERS OF HEALTH CARE SERVICES, DEVELOPED THE STATEMENT ON A PATIENT'S BILL OF RIGHTS, WHICH WAS APPROVED BY THE AHA HOUSE OF DELEGATES FEBRUARY 6, 1973. THE STATEMENT WAS PUBLISHED IN SEVERAL FORMS, ONE OF WHICH WAS THE S74 LEAFLET IN THE ASSOCIATION'S S SERIES. THE S74 LEAFLET IS NOW SUPERSEDED BY THIS REPRINTING OF THE STATEMENT.

THE AMERICAN HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION PRESENTS A PATIENT'S BILL OF RIGHTS WITH THE EXPECTATION THAT OBSERVANCE OF THESE RIGHTS WILL CONTRIBUTE TO MORE EFFECTIVE PATIENT CARE AND GREATER SATISFACTION FOR THE PATIENT, HIS PHYSICIAN, AND THE HOSPITAL ORGANIZATION. FURTHER, THE ASSOCIATION PRESENTS THESE RIGHTS IN THE EXPECTATION THAT THEY WILL BE SUPPORTED BY THE HOSPITAL ON BEHALF OF ITS PATIENTS, AS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE HEALING PROCESS. IT IS RECOGNIZED THAT-- A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE PHYSICIAN AND THE PATIENT IS ESSENTIAL FOR THE PROVISION OF PROPER MEDICAL CARE-- THE TRADITIONAL PHYSICIAN/PATIENT RELATIONSHIP TAKES ON A NEW DIMENSION WHEN CARE IS RENDERED WITHIN AN ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE. LEGAL PRECEDENT HAS ESTABLISHED THAT THE INSTITUTION ITSELF ALSO HAS A RESPONSIBILITY TO THE PATIENT. IT IS IN RECOGNITION OF THESE FACTORS THAT THESE RIGHTS ARE AFFIRMED.

1. THE PATIENT HAS THE RIGHT TO CONSIDERATE AND RESPECTFUL
CARE.

2. THE PATIENT HAS THE RIGHT TO OBTAIN FROM HIS PHYSICIAN
COMPLETE CURRENT INFORMATION CONCERNING HIS DIAGNOSIS,
TREATMENT, AND PROGNOSIS IN TERMS THE PATIENT CAN BE
REASONABLY EXPECTED TO UNDERSTAND. WHEN IT IS NOT
MEDICALLY ADVISABLE TO GIVE SUCH INFORMATION TO THE
PATIENT, THE INFORMATION SHOULD BE MADE AVAILABLE TO
AN APPROPRIATE PERSON IN HIS BEHALF. HE HAS THE RIGHT
TO KNOW, BY NAME, THE PHYSICIAN RESPONSIBLE FOR
COORDINATING HIS CARE.

3. THE PATIENT HAS THE RIGHT TO RECEIVE FROM HIS PHYSICIAN
INFORMATION NECESSARY TO GIVE INFORMED CONSENT PRIOR TO
THE START OF ANY PROCEDURE AND/OR TREATMENT. EXCEPT IN
EMERGENCIES, SUCH INFORMATION FOR INFORMED CONSENT
SHOULD INCLUDE BUT NOT NECESSARILY BE LIMITED TO THE
SPECIFIC PROCEDURE AND/OR TREATMENT, 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
AND/OR TREATMENT

4. THE PATIENT HAS THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TREATMENT TO THE
EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW AND TO BE INFORMED OF THE
MEDICAL CONSEQUENCES OF HIS ACTION.

5. THE PATIENT HAS THE RIGHT TO EVERY CONSIDERATION OF HIS
PRIVACY CONCERNING HIS OWN MEDICAL CARE PROGRAM. CASE
DISCUSSION, CONSULTATION, EXAMINATION, AND TREATMENT
ARE CONFIDENTIAL AND SHOULD BE CONDUCTED DISCREETLY.
THOSE NOT DIRECTLY INVOLVED IN HIS CARE MUST HAVE THE
PERMISSION OF THE PATIENT TO BE PRESENT.

6. THE PATIENT HAS THE RIGHT TO EXPECT THAT ALL
COMMUNICATIONS AND RECORDS PERTAINING TO HIS CARE
SHOULD BE TREATED AS CONFIDENTIAL.

7. THE PATIENT HAS THE RIGHT TO EXPECT THAT WITHIN ITS
CAPACITY A HOSPITAL MUST MAKE REASONABLE RESPONSE TO
THE REQUEST OF A PATIENT FOR SERVICES. THE HOSPITAL
MUST PROVIDE EVALUATION, SERVICE, AND/OR REFERRAL AS
INDICATED BY THE URGENCY OF THE CASE. WHEN MEDICALLY
PERMISSIBLE, A PATIENT MAY BE TRANSFERRED TO ANOTHER
FACILITY ONLY AFTER HE HAS RECEIVED COMPLETE
INFORMATION AND EXPLANATION CONCERNING THE NEEDS FOR
AND ALTERNATIVES TO SUCH A TRANSFER. THE INSTITUTIION
TO WHICH THE PATIENT IS TO BE TRANSFERRED MUST FIRST
HAVE ACCEPTED THE PATIENT FOR TRANSFER.

8. THE PATIENT HAS THE RIGHT TO OBTAIN INFORMATION AS TO
ANY RELATIONSHIP OF HIS HOSPITAL TO OTHER HEALTH CARE
AND EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS INSOFAR AS HIS CARE IS
CONCERNED. THE PATIENT HAS THE RIGHT TO OBTAIN
INFORMATION AS TO THE EXISTENCE OF ANY PROFESSIONAL
RELATIONSHIPS AMONG INDIVIDUALS, BY NAME, WHO ARE
TREATING HIM.

9. THE PATIENT HAS THE RIGHT TO BE ADVISED IF THE HOSPITAL
PROPOSES TO ENGAGE IN OR PERFORM HUMAN
EXPERIMENTATION AFFECTING HIS CARE OR TREATMENT. THE
PATIENT HAS THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO PARTICIPATE IN SUCH
RESEARCH PROJECTS.

10. THE PATIENT HAS THE RIGHT TO EXPECT REASONABLE
CONTINUITY OF CARE. HE HAS THE RIGHT TO KNOW IN
ADVANCE WHAT APPOINTMENT TIMES AND PHYSICIANS ARE
AVAILABLE AND WHERE. THE PATIENT HAS THE RIGHT TO
EXPECT THAT THE HOSPITAL WILL PROVIDE A MECHANISM
WHEREBY HE IS INFORMED BY HIS PHYSICIAN OR A DELEGATE
OF THE PHYSICIAN OF THE PATIENT'S CONTINUING HEALTH
CARE REQUIREMENT FOLLOWING DISCHARGE.

11. THE PATIENT HAS THE RIGHT TO EXAMINE AND RECEIVE AN
EXPLANATION OF HIS BILL REGARDLESS OF SORCE OF PAYMENT.

12. THE PATIENT HAS THE RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT HOSPITAL RULES
AND REGULATIONS APPLY TO HIS CONDUCT AS A PATIENT. NO
CATALOG OF RIGHTS CAN GUARANTEE FOR THE PATIENT THE
KIND OF TREATMENT HE HAS A RIGHT TO EXPECT. A HOSPITAL
HAS MANY FUNCTIONS TO PERFORM, INCLUDING THE
PREVENTION AND TREATMENT OF DISEASE, THE EDUCATION OF
BOTH HEALTH PROFESSIONALS AND PATIENTS, AND THE
CONDUCT OF CLINICAL RESEARCH. ALL THESE ACTIVITIES
MUST BE CONDUCTED WITH AN OVERRIDING CONCERN FOR THE
PATIENT, AND, ABOVE ALL, THE RECOGNITION OF HIS DIGNITY
AS A HUMAN BEING. SUCCESS IN ACHIEVING THIS RECOGNITION
ASSURES SUCCESS IN THE DEFENSE OF THE RIGHT OF THE
PATIENT.

PATIENTS BILL OF RIGHTS AND POLITICS