Your Rights & Responsibilities

At Doctors Community Health System and our affiliates, you are an important partner throughout the delivery of your care. When you are well-informed, participate in treatment decisions, and communicate openly with 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.

General

Patient Action Line

Patient Grievance

List of Responsiblities

Your Right to Decide - Advance Directives

 

SPEAK UP Taking Charge of Your Care

 

General

We also believe that you have the right to expect and receive appropriate assessments, management and treatment of pain. In fact, our delivery of care include you having the right to: 

  • Receive considerate, respectful and compassionate care
  • Be provided care in a safe environment free from all forms of abuse and neglect, including verbal, mental, physical and sexual abuse
  • Have a medical screening exam and be provided stabilizing treatment for emergency medical conditions and labor
  • Be free from restraints and seclusion unless needed for safety
  • Be told the names and jobs of the healthcare team members involved in your care
  • Have respect shown for your personal values, beliefs and wishes
  • Be treated without discrimination based on race, color, national origin, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation gender identity or expression, physical or mental disability, religion language or ability to pay
  • Be provided a list of protective and advocacy services when needed
  • Receive information about your hospital and physician charges and ask for an estimate of hospital charges before care is provided and as long as you care is not impeded
  • Receive information in a manner that is understandable by you
  • Receive information from your doctor or other healthcare practitioners about your diagnosis, prognosis, test results, possible outcomes of care and unanticipated outcomes of care
  • Access your medical records in accordance with HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices
  • Be involved in your plan of care
  • Be screened, assessed and treated for pain
  • Refuse care
  • In accordance with hospital visitation policies, have an individual of your choice remain with you for emotional support during your hospital stay
  • Appoint an individual of your choice to make healthcare decisions for you, if you are unable to do so
  • Make or change an advance directive
  • Give informed consent before any non-emergency care is provided, including the benefits and risks of care, alternatives to the care, and the benefits and risks of the alternatives to the care
  • Agree or refuse to take part in medical research studies, without the agreement or refusal affecting your care
  • Allow or refuse to allow pictures of you for purposes other than your care
  • Expect privacy and confidentiality in care discussions and treatments
  • Be provided a copy of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Notice of Privacy Practices
  • File a complaint about care and have the complaint reviewed without the complaint affecting your care

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 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. 
 

  • 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 an agent appointment.

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 attorney should you have any legal concerns or questions.

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. You may also use our Patient Action Line at 301-552-0899, 5555 from your hospital bedside telephone or  wecare@DCHweb.org.

If you have safety or quality concerns, you have the right to contact the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's 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 medicines 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, courteous and respectful to all hospital employees, patients and visitors
  • Provide information for insurance and work with us hospital to arrange payment when needed
  • Recognize the effect of lifestyle on personal health
  • Follow our rules and regulations affecting your care and conduct
  • Be respectful of the property of others and 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 or treatment.

Pay attention to the care you are receiving. Make sure you’re getting the right treatments and medications from 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 you are prescribed 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 medications before they are administered to you.
  • Tell your doctors and nurses about any allergies you have or negative reactions you have had to medications in the past.

Use a hospital that has undergone a rigorous onsite 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 jointcommission.org 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.