As a patient at Kennedy, you have the following patient rights under state law and regulations. This list is an abbreviated summary of the current New Jersey law and regulations governing the rights of hospital patients.
The right to receive the care and health services that the hospital is required by law to provide.
- The right to participate in the development and implementation of your treatment/care (inpatient, outpatient, pain management, and discharge) plan.
- The right to receive an understandable explanation from your physician of your complete medical condition, recommended treatment, expected results, risks involved, and reasonable medical alternatives. If your physician believes that some of this information would be detrimental to your health or beyond your ability to understand, the explanation must be given to your next of kin or guardian, unless prohibited in accordance with federal law.
- The right to give informed, written consent prior to the start of specified, non-emergency medical procedures or treatments. Your physician should explain to you—in words you understand—specific details about the recommended procedure or treatment, expected results, any risks involved, time required for recovery, and any reasonable medical alternatives.
- If you are incapable of giving informed, written consent, consent shall be sought from the your next of kin or guardian or through an advance directive, to the extent authorized by law. If you do not give written consent, your physician shall enter an explanation in your medical record.
- The right to refuse medication and treatment to the extent permitted by law and to be informed of the medical consequences of this act.
- The right to be included in experimental research only if you give informed, written consent. You have the right to refuse to participate.
- The right to receive pain relief. The right to an appropriate assessment and management of your pain. You have a right to be educated about pain, pain relief measures, and to be included in setting goals for relieving identified pain.
Communication and Information
- The right to formulate advance directives and to have hospital staff and practitioners who provide care in the hospital comply with these directives.
- The right to have a family member, physician, or representative of your choice notified upon your admission to the hospital.
- The right to be informed of the names and functions of all physicians and other healthcare professionals providing you with personal care.
- The right to know the reason for any proposed change in the professional staff responsible for your care.
- The right to receive language interpreting and translation services at no charge to you.
- The right to be informed of the names and functions of any outside healthcare and educational institutions involved in your treatment. You may refuse to allow their participation.
- The right to receive, upon request, the hospital’s written policies and procedures regarding life-saving methods and the use or withdrawal of life support mechanisms.
- The right, subject to your consent, to receive visitors who you designate; and the right to withdraw or deny such consent at any time. The hospital’s rules regarding conduct of patients and visitors will be provided in writing upon request.
- The right to receive a summary of your patient rights that include the name and phone number of the hospital professional to whom you can ask questions or voice concerns about any possible violation of your rights.
- The right to have prompt access to the information in your medical record. If your physician feels that this access is detrimental to your health, your next of kin or guardian has a right to see your record, subject to limitations imposed by federal law.
- The right to obtain a copy of your medical record, at a reasonable fee, within 30 days after a written request to the hospital.
Cost of Hospital Care
- The right to receive a copy of the hospital payment rates. If you request an itemized bill, the hospital must provide one, and answer any questions you may have. You have a right to appeal any charges.
- The right to be informed by the hospital if part or all of your bill will not be covered by insurance. The hospital is required to help you obtain any public assistance and private healthcare benefits to which you may be entitled.
- The right to receive information and assistance from your attending physician and other healthcare providers if you need to arrange for continuing healthcare after your discharge from the hospital.
- The right to have sufficient time before discharge to arrange for continuing healthcare needs.
- The right to be informed by the hospital about any appeal process to which you are entitled by law if you disagree with the hospital’s discharge plans.
- The right to be transferred to another facility only when you or your guardian has made the request, or in instances where the transferring hospital is unable to provide you with the care you need.
- The right to receive an advanced explanation from a physician of the reasons for your transfer and possible alternatives.
- The right to receive care in a safe and comfortable setting.
- The right to be treated with courtesy, consideration, and respect for your dignity and individuality.
- The right to have access to storage space in your room for private use. The hospital must also have a system to safeguard your personal property.
- The right to contract directly, at your expense, with a NJ licensed registered professional nurse to provide nursing care during your hospitalization. The hospital, upon request, shall provide a list of local non-profit nursing agency registries to patients requesting private nursing care during their hospitalization.
Freedom from Abuse and Restraints
- The right to be free from neglect and exploitation as well as physical, verbal, and mental abuse or harassment.
- The right to freedom from restraints of any form, unless they are authorized by a physician for a limited period of time to protect the safety of you and others.
Privacy and Confidentiality
- The right to have both personal and physical privacy during medical treatment and personal hygiene functions, unless you need assistance.
- The right to be assured of confidentiality about your hospitalization. Your medical and financial records shall not be released to anyone outside the hospital without your approval, unless you are transferred to another facility that requires the information, or the release of such information is required or permitted by law.
- To receive treatment and medical services without discrimination based on age, religion, creed, race, skin color, national origin, ancestry, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, sex, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, handicap or disability, genetic information, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, military service, AIDS or HIV related illnesses, diagnosis, ability to pay or source of payment.
- To retain and exercise your constitutional, civil, and legal rights.
Questions and Complaints
- The right to present questions or grievances to a designated hospital staff member and to receive a response in a reasonable period of time. The hospital must provide you with contact information for the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services Unit that handles questions and complaints. You may directly contact the NJ Department of Health complaint hotline at 1-800-792-9770. You may also contact The Joint Commission at 1-800-994-6610. Medicare beneficiaries who have a complaint or grievance concerning quality of care, disagree with a coverage or decision, or wish to appeal a premature discharge, may also call Health Quality Strategies, Inc. at 1-800-624-4557.
A Message to Our Patients
The effectiveness of your care and your satisfaction during the course of your treatment at Kennedy depends, in part, upon you. Your fulfillment of the following responsibilities will make your hospital stay more pleasant and your treatment more effective.
- Show consideration for the rights of other patients and hospital personnel and assist in the control of noise and the number of visitors. Also, show respect for the property of other people and the hospital.
- Provide information about past illness, hospitalization, medications, and other matters related to your health history in order to help your healthcare team to effectively treat your condition.
- Ensure that the hospital has a copy of your Living Will/ Advance Directive, if you have one.
- Assist the physicians, nurses and other medical personnel by following their instructions and medical orders to facilitate your care and the efforts of hospital personnel. If you anticipate problems in following prescribed treatments, inform your caregivers.
- Be aware of the hospital’s obligation to be reasonably efficient and equitable in providing care to other patients and the community. The hospital’s rules and regulations are designed to help the hospital meet this obligation.
- Understand that you assume the financial responsibility of paying for all services rendered, either through third party payers (your insurance company) or being personally responsible for payment of any services not covered by your insurance policies.
- Do not take drugs which have not been prescribed by your attending physician and administered by hospital staff. Do not complicate or endanger the healing process by consuming alcoholic beverages or toxic substances during your hospital stay.
- Authorized members of your family are expected to be available to hospital personnel for review of your treatment in the event that you are unable to properly communicate with the physicians or nurses.
- You are responsible for the care and safekeeping of your belongings. This includes eyeglasses, dentures, jewelry, money, personal electronics, clothing, etc. The hospital will not reimburse you for such items.
- Your health depends on much more than healthcare service. You are responsible for recognizing the impact of your lifestyle on your personal health.
- Patient Responsibilities for Pain Management include the following:
- Help healthcare providers measure your pain using the pain scale and/or other descriptive words.
- Discuss with your physician, nurse or other healthcare providers any pain that won’t go away.
- Ask healthcare providers what to expect regarding any pain you might have. Speak with your physician, nurse or other healthcare provider about your options for pain relief. Work with your healthcare team to create a pain control plan that meets your treatment goals.
- Take or ask for the pain relief drugs or other comfort measures when needed.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding patient’s rights, please contact Guest Services: