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 following section, Consumer Bill of Rights, was developed by the federal government. This has been used as a foundation for 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 easily understood information about your health plan, health care professionals, and health care facilities. If you speak another language, have a physical or mental disability, or just don't understand something, assistance will be provided so you can make informed health care decisions.
II. Choice of Providers and Plans
You have the right to a choice of health care providers that is sufficient to provide you with access to appropriate high-quality health care.
III. Access to Emergency Services
If you have severe pain, an injury, or sudden illness that convinces you that your health is in serious jeopardy, you have the right to receive screening and stabilization emergency services whenever and wherever needed, without prior authorization or financial penalty.
IV. Participation in Treatment Decisions
You have the right to know all your treatment options and to participate in decisions about your care. Parents, guardians, family members, or other individuals that you designate can represent you if you cannot make your own decisions.
V. Respect and Nondiscrimination
You have the right to considerate, respectful and nondiscriminatory care from your doctors, health plan representatives, and other health care providers.
VI. Confidentiality of Health Information
You have the right to talk in confidence 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 request that your physician amend your record if it is not accurate, relevant, or complete.
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, operating hours, the conduct of health care personnel, and the adequacy of health care facilities.
In addition to outlining consumer rights for health care, the Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry also outlined guidelines for the responsibilities that the consumer has with regard to their own healthcare. The responsibilities outlined are ways that the consumer can work together with the health care provider to achieve 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 11, 2011.
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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