In March 1998, the Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry issued its final report, which included the Consumer Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. The Commission was appointed by President Bill Clinton, and co-chaired by Donna Shalala, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
The purpose of the Bill of Rights is:
The Consumer Bill of Rights was developed by the federal government. This has been used by many health plans, including the federal-government-sponsored health plans.
Consumer Bill of Rights
I. Information Disclosure
You have the right to receive accurate and information you can understand about your health, treatments, health plan, health care providers, and health care facilities. If you speak another language, have a physical or mental disability, or just don't understand something, you will be helped so you can make informed health care decisions.
II. Choice of Providers and Plans
You have the right to choose your health care provider, within your health plan.
III. Access to Emergency Services
If you have severe pain, an injury, or sudden illness and you are concerned that you could be seriously ill, hurt, or could die, you have the right to get emergency services whenever and wherever needed, to be seen by a doctor and get services, even if you don’t ask your health plan first, and you will not be charged a penalty.
IV. Participation in Treatment Decisions
You have the right to know all your treatment options, even if they are not covered by your health plan, and make decisions about your care. Parents, guardians, family members, or others that you choose can represent you if you cannot make your own decisions.
V. Respect and Nondiscrimination
You have the right to considerate, respectful care, and not be discriminated against, by your doctors, other health care providers, or health plan representatives.
VI. Confidentiality of Health Information
You have the right to talk in private with health care providers and to have your health care information protected. You also have the right to review and copy your own medical record and ask your doctor to make corrections your record if it is not accurate, complete, or has information that does not relate to your health care.
VII. Complaints and Appeals
You have the right to a fair, fast and objective review of any complaint you have against your health plan, doctors, hospitals or other health care personnel. This includes complaints about waiting times, hours available, health care facilities, and the conduct of health care personnel.
In addition to listing consumer rights for health care, the Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry also listed the responsibilities of consumers. These are ways the consumer can work together with health care providers to get the best quality health outcome.
For more information visit the Office for Civil Rights - HIPAA website - www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa
Health care consumer's rights; Rights of the health care consumer
President's Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry. Patients’ Rights and Responsibilities. Accessed August 10, 2012.
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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