Skip to main content

Patient Bill of Rights

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 31, 2022.

What is the patient bill of rights and responsibilities?

The patient bill of rights and responsibilities is a guide to make sure every patient gets good quality health care. It contains rules for you or your healthcare provider that should be followed when you are getting health care and treatment. It also tells you how healthcare providers may relate and care for you as their patient. Read the information carefully and ask your healthcare provider any questions that you may have.

What are my rights?

Your rights are things you may do and get as a patient towards the goal of good quality health care. Your rights as a patient are as follows:

  • Know important health information: You have the right to know and fully understand information about your health care plan and healthcare providers. You will be told about plan rules, and conditions covered by your plan. You will be told about your healthcare provider, how long the provider has been working, and what his or her specialty area is. If you speak another language or do not understand something, tell healthcare providers, and they will help you.
  • Choose health care plans: You have the right to choose health care plans and healthcare providers that are best for you. You may also choose which health care plan best covers tests and treatments for a condition. You may also ask the cost of the health care plan and how you may pay.
  • Get emergency treatment: You have the right to get emergency health care when and where you need it. You may seek and get help if you have an injury or disease that puts you in danger. You may also seek and get help if you have any condition that you think may get worse if care is not given quickly.
  • Be treated with respect and not be discriminated against: You have the right to be treated with respect by all healthcare providers. You must not be treated in a different way because of your skin color, race, or other things.
  • Make health care choices:
    • You have the right to understand everything about your health, condition, and the treatments available. This includes knowing about tests and treatments, and what may happen if you are treated or not. Your healthcare provider will explain each treatment and it's risks, benefits, and cost. Your provider will answer questions you may have, and you may then freely choose the treatment that you think is best. You may also choose to refuse treatment. If you are physically unable to make choices, your healthcare provider may ask your family for help.
    • Your healthcare provider may tell you about advance directives, which are directions that you give your family in case something happens to you. This may include information about what treatments you would like to have done to you. You may want to decide on advanced directives together with your family. To make these decisions, you may need to ask your healthcare provider for more information about your condition and treatments.
  • Make complaints: You have the right to a fair, fast, and careful review of complaints you have. Complaints may be against your healthcare providers or health care facilities and their staff.
  • Privacy of health information: You have the right to talk to your healthcare provider privately and have your health care information kept secret. Anything you talk about will just be between you, your healthcare provider, and anyone you may want to listen. No information will be given to other people except in certain cases, such as when there is danger to your safety or the safety of others. In this case, information can be given to select people, such as the police. You have the right to see and get a copy of your own medical records. You can also tell healthcare providers if you think your records are wrong.

What are my responsibilities?

You and your healthcare provider share the goal of managing your health and wellbeing. The following are ways that you can help reach this goal:

  • Have healthy habits such as exercising, not smoking, and eating a healthy diet. Teach your family about healthy habits and work with them to take care of their health. Take care not to spread disease to others.
  • Follow the treatment plan given by your healthcare provider. Ask your healthcare provider questions about your condition, treatment, or care.
  • Remember that medicines may have unwanted side effects and that there may be risks with procedures and treatments.
  • Carefully read and understand your health care plan. Know the rules about getting tests and treatments for certain conditions. This will help save time when you see healthcare providers. Pay for your health care correctly and in a timely manner.
  • Show respect for other patients and healthcare providers. Understand and care about other people that are ill. Follow your healthcare provider's advice. Follow the rules when you enter a health care building. Report unusual activities to people who can help.

Further information

  • Partnership for Caring, Inc.
    America's Voices for the Dying
    Partnership for Caring, Inc.
    1620 Eye Street NW, Suite 202
    Washington , DC 20007
    Phone: 1- 800 - 989-9455
    Web Address:

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2022 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.