The Patient Bill of Rights

In Monday’s blog post we discussed the effect Google’s medical online storage service could have on your privacy. Today we will continue our discussion on health care issues by looking at the Patient Bill of Rights. Most people are unfamiliar with the rights they have. You may have heard the term bandied about and know that such a thing exists, but have you ever really read it?

The bulk of information the average American has about hospitals and health care comes from television shows such as E.R., Grey’s Anatomy, or Scrubs. And why should that be surprising? Let’s face it; unless you’re visiting your sister’s newborn baby, hospitals are either frightening or boring. It’s no wonder most people would rather view them from a safe distance.

Most people know, however, that it is in their best interest to be familiar with at least the most basic hospital and medical policies and red tape—and be prepared for them. Even if you aren’t an expert you do have rights, as stated in the Patient Bill of Rights, and it is your responsibility to know and stand up for them.

This is where we, as your attorney, can help you by working with you to create a current Advanced Health Care Directive, HIPAA Authorization, and Nomination of Conservator. These are all documents that are necessary to ensure that your wishes for your health care are carried out. Don’t wait until you’re in the hospital, by then it will likely be too late. We are all familiar with the story of Terry Schiavo, a tragedy that could have been prevented if she had simply executed the documents mentioned above.

Be aware of your rights as a patient, but more importantly, be responsible for them. No one else will, and in the end it’s your own health that is at stake.