As a patient of this hospital or as a family member of guardian of a patient, we want you to know the rights you have under federal and Georgia state law as soon as possible in your hospital stay. We are committed to honoring your rights and want you to know that by taking an active role in your health care, you can help your hospital caregivers meet your needs as a patient or family member.
Patient Rights and Responsibilities
As a patient I or my legally authorized representative, have the right to:
- Receive care without discrimination due to my race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age newborn status, handicap or source of payment.
- Have my family and physician notified promptly of my admission and have my family participate in my care decisions.
- Know the name of the physician or other practitioner who has primary responsibility for my care, and know the identity and professional status of the people caring for me.
- Receive from my physician, in terms I can understand, current information about my diagnosis, treatment and prognosis.
- Receive from my physician, except in emergencies, information that allows me to give informed consent before beginning any procedure or treatment.
- Participate in the planning of my medical treatment and to decline to participate in experimental research.
- Receive care for symptoms that will respond to treatment, even if they are not related to my primary healthcare condition.
- Receive evaluation and management of pain.
- Receive considerate and respectful care in a safe and private environment free of neglect, harassment and abuse.
- Be free from restraints of any form that are not medically necessary or are used as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience or retaliation by staff.
- Be free from seclusion and restraints of any form that are not necessary for emergency behavior management or are imposed as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience or retaliation by staff.
- Receive evaluation and provision of protective services.
- Designate who is permitted to visit me during my hospitalization.
- Receive care and treatment that respects my values, beliefs and life philosophy.
- Address ethical questions that arise in my healthcare.
- Receive emotional and spiritual support for my family and me.
- Complete an advance directive outlining my wishes regarding my healthcare should I become unable to express my wishes. This may include my wishes regarding organ and tissue donation.
- Refuse treatment to the extent permitted by and be informed of the medical consequences of my actions.
- Be informed of the need for, alternative to and acceptance by another facility when transfer to that facility is planned.
- Have all communication and records pertaining to my healthcare kept confidential.
- Have access to my medical record within a reasonable timeframe.
- Examine and receive an explanation of my bill regardless of the source of payment and receive information regarding financial assistance.
- Receive information regarding the relationship of Hamilton Health Care System to other healthcare or educational institutions involved in my care.
- Receive information in a way that you understand. This includes interpretation and translation, free of charge, in the language you prefer for talking about your health care. This also includes providing you with needed help if you have vision, speech, hearing or cognitive impairments.
- File a grievance and be informed of the process to review and address the grievance without fear of retaliation or retribution from my provider or the organization.
As a patient I, or my legally authorized representative, have the responsibility to:
- Participate to the fullest extent possible in my care and treatment.
- Provide complete information about my healthcare condition and medical history, report my care and health risks as I perceive them, and ask questions when I do not understand what I’ve been told about my care.
- Notify my care provider or physician about changes in my condition.
- Notify my care provider or physician of symptoms or healthcare problems, even if they are not related to my primary healthcare condition.
- Report my pain and participate in the development of a pain management plan with my care provider or physician.
- Inform my care provider or physicians if I do not understand instructions or if I will be unable to follow them.
- Accept consequences of my actions if I choose not to participate in the recommended treatment plan.
- Observe safety regulations.
- Be considerate of patients, families and staff; help control noise and disturbances; and follow the smoking policies of the organization.
- Not threaten or harm other patients, guests or staff.
- Not destroy the property of patients, guests, staff or facilities.
- Fulfill the financial obligations of my healthcare as promptly as possible.
Complaint Management Process
We invite you to share your concerns regarding treatment, patient safety and quality of care. You may voice concerns to:
- Any staff member;
- Your care provider or physician;
- Director of Health Information Management at 706.272.6040;
- Privacy Officer at 706.272.6383
You may also notify the Director of Health Information Management in writing at:
Hamilton Medical Center
Attention: Health Information Management Department
PO Box 1168
Dalton, GA 30722
You also have the right to file a complaint with the state agency, regardless of whether or not you choose to first use the Hamilton Medical Center grievance process. The state survey agency address and phone number are:
Office of Regulatory Services
Two Peachtree St. N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30303-3142
Grievances will be investigated by the Vice President of Guest Services and you will be provided a response within 7 days of receipt of your grievance. If the grievance is complicated and requires extensive investigation which extends past 7 days, you will receive a “status call” explaining the delay and an expected date of resolution. A written response will be sent within 30 days.