Your Rights & Responsibilities

Doctors Community Hospital considers you a partner in your care. When you are well-informed, participate in treatment decisions, and communicate openly with your doctors and other health professionals, you help make your care as effective as possible.

Please click on one of the below options to learn more.


Patient Action Line

Patient Grievance

List of Responsiblities

Your Right to Decide - Advance Directives

SPEAK UP Taking Charge of Your Care

Patient Care Advisory Committee



We encourage respect for each individual's personal preferences and values. While you are a patient in the hospital, you have the right to: 

  1. Considerate and respectful care.
  2. Be well-informed about your illness, possible treatments and likely outcome, and discuss this information with your doctor.
  3. Know the names and roles of the people treating you.
  4. Consent to or refuse treatment, as permitted by law, throughout your hospital stay. This consent includes the right to refuse or have withheld life-sustaining treatment and resuscitative measures. If you refuse a recommended treatment, you will receive other needed and available care.
  5. Have an advance directive such as a living will or appointment of a healthcare agent. These documents express your choices about your future care or name someone to decide if you cannot speak for yourself. If you have a written advance directive, you should provide a copy to the hospital, your family and your doctor.
  6. Know how medical information about you may be used and disclosed. You also have the right to request access to this information. These rights are further detailed in the Notice of Privacy Practices, which is available to you upon request.
  7. Expect that the hospital will give you necessary health services to the best of its ability. Treatment, referral or transfer may be recommended. If transfer is recommended or requested, you will be informed of risks, benefits and alternatives. You will not be transferred until the other institution agrees to accept you.
  8. Know if this hospital has relationships with outside parties that may influence your treatment and care. These relationships may be with educational institutions, healthcare providers or insurers.
  9. Consent or decline to take part in research affecting your care. If you choose not to take part, you will receive the most effective care the hospital otherwise provides.
  10. Be told of realistic care alternatives when hospital care is no longer appropriate.
  11. Know about hospital rules that affect you and your treatment as well as about charges and payment methods. You have the right to know about hospital resources, such as the Patient Care Advisory Committee that can help you resolve problems and questions about your hospital stay and care.
  12. Have your pain assessed and receive appropriate pain relief measures.

Patient Grievance

Patients have the right to file complaints and expect timely responses. If you have a complaint, please speak directly with the nurse, doctor and/or manager at the time of your concern so we can assist in providing you with an immediate resolution. Also, you can file a complaint by calling the Patient Action Line at 301-552-0899 or by writing a letter to: Doctors Community Hospital, Risk Management Department, 8118 Good Luck Road, Lanham, MD 20706. Every effort will be made to resolve your concern within seven days. We appreciate the opportunity to resolve your concerns and learn about opportunities to improve our services.

Your Right to Decide – Advance Directives

Maryland law recognizes three ways of making healthcare decisions in advance, including decisions about treatments needed to sustain life. These three ways are:

  • Written instructions authorizing the provision, withholding or withdrawal of health care.
  • Written appointment of an agent to make healthcare decisions for you.
  • Verbal statement to a physician documented in your medical record leaving instructions or appointing an agent.
It is important that you discuss your wishes regarding your health care with your doctor and your family. If you have already executed these directives, be sure your doctor has a copy and give a copy to your nurse to be placed in your medical record. You may revoke these directives at any time. Should a situation arise where the hospital is unable or unwilling to honor your advance directives, this will be discussed with you.

If you would like to have more information about these directives, please consult your nurse. Please be advised that although it is not necessary to have a lawyer to complete these documents, it is advisable that you consult a lawyer should you have any legal concerns or questions.

Patient Care Advisory Committee

Advances in medical technology may now create difficult decisions about what can and should be done in patient treatment. These decisions should be made in conjunction with you, your family and the responsible physician. When disagreements or concerns occur, consultation with members of the Patient Care Advisory Committee is often helpful. A consultation may be initiated by you, a physician, a nurse, a social worker, immediate family member, guardian or a health professional directly involved in your care. The Patient Care Advisory Committee may be convened by contacting your nurse or the administrative nursing supervisor. This committee is only an advisory service for you, your family or the your healthcare providers.

Patient Action Line

We are committed to providing the highest quality of care, safety and service for our patients. If you wish to comment on your experience with us, please call any member of our executive management team at 301-552-8085 or 301-552-8102. You may also use our Patient Action Line at 301-552-0899 or dial 5555 from your hospital bedside telephone as well as email us at

If you have unresolved care or safety concerns, contact the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Office of Healthcare Quality toll free at 877-402-8218 or The Joint Commission’s Office of Quality Reporting at 800-994-6610.

List of Responsibilities

As a patient, you have the responsibility to:

  • Provide complete information about your health, including past illnesses, hospital stays, use of medicine and other matters relating to your health.
  • Ask questions when you do not understand any information or instructions. If you believe you cannot follow through with your treatment, you are responsible for telling your doctor.
  • Be considerate of the needs of other patients, staff and the hospital.
  • Provide information for insurance and work with the hospital to arrange payment when needed.
  • Recognize the effect of lifestyle on personal health.
  • Follow hospital rules and regulations affecting your care and conduct.
  • Be respectful of the property of others and of the hospital.

SPEAK UP Taking Charge of Your Care

Your health is your business! We encourage you to SPEAK UP and become an involved member of your healthcare team. The SPEAK UP campaign outlined below gives you helpful tips about how you can become an active and involved participant in your care.

Speak up if you have questions or concerns. If you don’t understand, ask again. It’s your body, and you have a right to know.

  • Speak up; your health is too important to worry about being embarrassed if you don’t understand something that your doctor or nurse has told you.
  • Don’t hesitate to tell the healthcare professional if you think he or she has confused you with another patient or if you think you are about to receive the wrong medication.
Pay attention to the care you are receiving. Make sure you’re getting the right treatments and medications by the right healthcare professionals. Don’t assume anything.

  • Tell your nurse or doctor if something doesn’t seem quite right.
  • Expect healthcare workers to introduce themselves.
  • Make sure your nurse or doctor confirms your identity before he or she administers any medication or treatment.
Educate yourself about your diagnosis, the medical tests you are undergoing and your treatment plan.

  • Ask your doctor about his/her specialized training and experience.
  • Gather information about your condition. Good sources include your doctor, your library, respected websites and support groups.
  • Write down important facts your doctor tells you so you can look for additional information later.
  • Read medical forms and make sure you understand them before you sign.
Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate.

  • Your advocate can ask questions you may not think of while under stress.
  • Your advocate can also help remember answers to questions you have asked, and speak up for you if you cannot.
  • Make sure this person understands your preferences for care and your wishes concerning resuscitation and life support.
  • Review consents for treatment with your advocate and make sure you both understand exactly what you are agreeing to.
Know what medications you take and why you take them. Medication errors are the most common healthcare mistakes.

  • Ask about the purpose of the medication and ask for written information about it, including its side effects.
  • If you do not recognize a medication, verify that it is for you. Ask about oral medications before swallowing, and read contents of intravenous (IV) fluids.
  • Whenever you are going to receive a new medication, tell your doctors and nurses about allergies you have or negative reactions you have had to medications in the past.
Use a hospital that has undergone a rigorous on-site evaluation against established, state-of-the-art quality and safety standards, such as that provided by The Joint Commission.

  • Ask about the healthcare organization’s experience in treating your type of illness. How frequently do they perform the procedure you need and what specialized care do they provide in helping patients get well?
  • If you have more than one hospital or other facility to choose from, ask your doctor which one offers the best care for your condition.
  • Before you leave the hospital or other facility, ask about follow-up care and make sure that you understand all of the instructions.
  • Go to Quality Check at to find out whether your hospital or other healthcare organizations are accredited.
Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of the healthcare team.

  • You and your doctor should agree on exactly what will be done during each step of your care.
  • Understand that more tests or medications may not always be better. Ask your doctor what a new test or medication is likely to achieve.
  • Don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion.
  • Know who will be taking care of you, how long the treatment will last and how you should feel.