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Patient Rights

Access to Care

Individuals shall be accorded impartial access to treatment or accommodations that are available and medically indicated regardless of race, color, creed, sex, national origin, religion, or source of payment. Appropriate care will be provided without regard to whether or not patients have completed advance directives.
Information on the extent to which the hospital is able, unable or unwilling to honor wishes is given upon admission if the patient has an advance directive.

Respect and Dignity

Patients have a right to considerate, respectful care under all circumstances with recognition of the patient’s personal dignity. Such respect includes consideration of the patient’s religious, social, cultural and personal values, beliefs and preferences. The hospital allows patients to keep and use personal clothing and
possessions unless it infringes on others rights, is medically or therapeutically contraindicated.

Privacy and Confidentiality

Patients shall be given every consideration of privacy both in their treatment and care and in the communication of their medical and financial information. This includes reasonable physical privacy during examinations, interviews and care, and access to information only for those directly involved in the patient’s care.
The environment will support the positive self image of patients including sufficient storage space to meet their personal needs.

Safety and Security

Patients have the right to protection from mental, physical, sexual and verbal abuse and exploitation from staff, students, volunteers, other patients, visitors or family members. The hospital has a safe available to secure personal items. UHC is not responsible for personal items unless specifically given to a UHC staff
member to be locked in the hospital safe. Patients/families are encouraged to have personal belongings taken home.


Patients have the right to know the identity and professional status of individuals providing services to know which physician or practitioner is primarily responsible for their care.

Information and Communications

Telephone & Mail Service – Patients have access to telephone and mail services throughout their stay.

Treatment Information – Patients have a right to receive from their attending physician complete and current information concerning diagnosis, treatment, and current prognosis in terms the patient can reasonably be expected to understand. This includes the right to an interpreter or other appropriate means of communication when language or physical handicap would hinder communication. This also includes the right to review your medical record with your physician and to have the information explained, except when restricted by law. Patients, and when appropriate their families, are informed about the outcomes of care, treatment and services, including unanticipated outcomes. Patients have the responsibility to ask questions or acknowledge when he/she does not understand the treatment course or care decision.

Organ & Tissue Donation – Patients have the right to information, education and participation in organ and tissue donation. A list of patient advocacy groups is available on request.

Consent and Participation in Care

Patients have a right to reasonable informed participation in decisions involving their care, including decisions regarding the initiation and the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment. This participation should be based on a clear, concise explanation of the patient’s condition, the risks and benefits of the treatment, and the alternatives to treatment. Procedures should only be performed with the voluntary and competent consent of the patient or the patient’s legally designated representative. If the patient is not capable of making such decisions their health care providers will honor their wishes as expressed in any advanced directive such as the living will or medical power of attorney to the extent permitted by law and hospital policy. UHC involves the patient’s family in care, treatment and service decisions to the extent permitted by the patient or legal representative.

Management of Pain

Patients have a right to adequate pain management, including the right to information about pain relief options from their physicians and nurses. The patient has a right to participate with their physician in the process of measuring their pain.

Refusal of Treatment

Patients have a right to refuse care, treatment and services within the limitations of the law, without jeopardizing other care and services provided by UHC. Patients are responsible for their actions and condition when exercising such rights. When such refusal compromises professional standards of care the physician or practitioner, upon reasonable notice, may terminate the relationship. When the patient is not legally responsible, their healthcare providers will honor their wishes as expressed in an advance directive and with the surrogate decision maker as allowed by law to refuse care, treatment and services on the patient’s behalf.


Physician – Patients have the right to request the consultation of another physician when desired.

Pastoral/Other Spiritual – UHC accommodates the right to pastoral and other spiritual services for patients.


Patients have a right to be informed of any human experimentation, research, or educational project involving their care and treatment. The patient may refuse to participate in any of these activities without compromise to their ongoing care needs.

Continuity and Transfer

Patients have the right to be informed of the need for and the alternatives to transfer to any other facility, including the right to request a transfer to another facility. Patients also should expect to be informed by their physician or other practitioners of any continuing healthcare requirements following discharge from the hospital.


Regardless of the source of payment, patients have a right to request and receive an itemized explanation of the bill for services rendered in the hospital. Patients also have a responsibility for prompt attention to their hospital bill or other hospital related financial commitments.

Hospital Rules and Regulations

Patients and their visitors have the right to be informed of rules related to their care and conduct, and they have an obligation to abide by such rules that are in place to support quality care for patients and a safe environment for all individuals in the hospital.

Provision of Information

Patients have the responsibility to provide, to the best of their knowledge, accurate and complete information regarding present symptoms, past illnesses, medications and other matters related to their care. The patient is also expected to communicate any changes in his/her condition to the responsible practitioner including risks, information on service needs and expectations. You or your family should report to your nurse any symptoms or concerns about your care. The hospital encourages the patient and/or family to seek assistance if believed the patient condition is changing or worsens. A rapid response team is available as a resource for you and your nurse to assist in assessing symptoms and early interventions to help avoid life threatening events. Patients have a right to access, request amendment to and receive an accounting of disclosures
regarding his/her own health information as permitted under applicable law including advance directives.

Compliance with Instructions

Patients are responsible for following the treatment plan recommended by the practitioner directing their care, including instructions of nurses and allied health personnel as they carry out the practitioner’s
nstructions and enforce applicable hospital policies.


Patients and their visitors are responsible for being considerate of the rights of other patients and hospital associates, including the control of noise, smoking and number of visitors. Patients and hospital staff and licensed independent practitioners have the responsibility to support mutual consideration and respect by maintaining civil language and conduct in interactions with one another.


Patients generally have the right to receive or restrict visitors, whether a spouse, another family member, a domestic partner (including same-sex domestic partner), a friend, or clergy member. This right is subject to clinically or administratively necessary limitations that may be reasonably placed on such rights. UHC will not restrict visitation privileges on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability. UHC wants all visitors to enjoy full and equal visitation privileges consistent with patient preferences and legitimate regulation.

Primary supporting visitors will generally be able to visit anytime duirng the patient's hospital stay based upon the patient's wishes or, if applicable, the direction of the patient's support person. These primary supporting visitors are those who are determined by our staff to be needed and who are particularly willing and encouraged to be involved in the patient's care as well as to provide assistance and comfort to the patient. They are encouraged to notify staff when they have concerns about the patient's condition or any changes in the patient's condition. They may be informed that a Rapid Response Team is available as an additional resource to assist in assessing for significant changes in symptoms and to provide early intervention to help avoid life-threatening events. Examples of how such a primary supporting visitor can benefit the patient include calming a confused patient or notifying staff when a patient is attempting to disrupt a treatment or therapy.

When Problems Arise

Patients have a right to be informed of the mechanisms available for communicating, becoming involved in and resolving concerns, problems and suggestions related to their care. Patients have a right to pursue the resolution of problems without reprisal or an adverse affect on their care.

Asking Questions

Patients are responsible for asking questions when they do not understand what they have been told about their care or what they are expected to do. This also includes expressing concern over the ability to follow the plan of care.

Accepting Consequences

The patient and family are responsible for the outcomes if they do not follow the care, service or treatment plan.

Ethical Decisions and Issues

In the course of your treatment you and your family may be faced with making important treatment choices. We respect your right to make such decisions based on the available medical information as well as on your personal beliefs and values. In order to make informed and appropriate decisions we suggest you consider these issues:

  • Do you have the information you need to make the decision?
  • Have you designated someone to make decisions about your care in case you are unable to do so (advanced directives)?
  • Have you expressed to your physician and family your wishes about prolonging care should you    become terminally ill?
  • Do you need further clarification of the issues involved or help in thinking through your decision?

Assistance is Available

If you have not completed an advanced directive (a Living Will or Medical Power of
Attorney) and wish to do so, please ask your nurse for assistance. The hospital will honor advance directives, in accordance with law and regulations and the hospital’s capabilities.

A hospital chaplain is available to discuss the religious and ethical issues of your decision. The hospital
chaplain will also contact your own minister, priest or religious representative at your request.

UHC’s Ethics Committee is also available to assist you, your family and your physicians in thinking through these issues. The Ethics Committee is comprised of various health care professionals such as physicians, nurses, chaplains, social workers and psychologists and is consulted in those situations involving particularly difficult ethical decisions. To involve the Ethics Committee discuss your desire with your physician or nurse.

Resolving Problems

The staff at UHC recognizes that problems may arise in the course of your treatment. It is our goal to resolve problems as quickly and satisfactorily as possible. Also, we invite both your positive and negative feedback as it assists us in improving the care we provide. The patient can freely voice, report problems and complaints and recommend changes without coercion, discrimination, reprisal, unreasonable interruption of care, treatment or services. If you have a problem, suggestion or need to discuss your care with someone you may:

  • Ask to speak to the manager of the department involved.
  • If a problem or complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction by the staff on hand you may file a patient grievance by calling the Risk Manager at extension 1604 and you are entitled to receive a written response to that grievance.
  • Call the hospital switchboard operator after normal hours and on weekends.
  • File a complaint with West Virginia Office of Health Facilities Licensure and Certification, 408 Leon Sullivan Way, Charleston, W.Va. 25301, (304) 558-0050; KEPRO, 5201 W. Kennedy Blvd, Suite 900, Tampa Fl 33609 (800) 455-8708; Office of Quality and Patient Safety, The Joint Commission, One Renaissance Boulevard, Oakbrook, IL 60181, (800) 994-6610. 

For information on how to contact the above agencies, call the Risk Manager at extension 1604.

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