Patient Bill of Rights

Patient Bill of Rights

As a patient, you have the right:

  • to considerate and respectful care at all times and under all circumstances with recognition of their personal dignity, values and beliefs, regardless of sex, race, religion, national origin, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation or ability to pay.
  • to have advance directives, such as a Living Will or Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and to have hospital staff and practitioners who provide care in the hospital comply with these directives.
  • to have an attending physician who is responsible for coordinating care and to participate in the development and implementation of the plan of care.
  • to be well-informed about illness, possible treatments, and likely outcome and to have the opportunity to discuss this information with the attending physician.
  • to know by name the attending physician primarily responsible for coordinating your care.
  • to receive from your physician information necessary to give informed consent prior to the start of any procedure or treatment, or both, except in emergencies.
  • to know where medically significant alternatives for care or treatment exist
  • to refuse treatment to the extent permitted by law. If treatment is refused, you have the right to be informed of the medical consequences of the refusal and the hospital will be relieved of any further responsibility for that refusal.
  • to access information contained in your medical records within a reasonable time frame and to have the information explained, except when contraindicated by law.
  • to every consideration of privacy concerning the medical care program and personal privacy.
  • to have, on request, another person present during certain parts of a physical examination, treatment or procedure performed by a health care professional; and the right not to remain disrobed any longer than is required for accomplishing the medical purpose.
  • to privacy during personal hygiene activities (e.g., toileting, bathing, dressing), during medical/nursing treatments and when requested as appropriate.
  • to expect that all communications and records pertaining to care will be treated as confidential.
  • to expect that within its capacity the hospital will respond reasonably to the request for services. If physically possible the right includes a transfer to another room or place if another person in that room or place is unreasonably disturbing you.
  • to know the identity and professional status of individuals providing service, and to know which physician or other practitioner is primarily for your care.
  • to be advised if the hospital proposes to engage in or perform human experimentation affecting your care or treatment.
  • to expect reasonable continuity of care.
  • to be informed by the attending physician of any continuing health care requirements following discharge.
  • to receive an itemized, detailed and understandable explanation of charges regardless of the source of payment and to be provided with information about financial assistance, billing, and collections practices.
  • to know the nurse staffing available to provide care in the hospital units.
  • to know what hospital rules and regulations apply to their conduct as a patient.
  • to have guardians, reciprocal beneficiaries, immediate family members, or designated person(s) stay with you 24 hours a day if you are terminally ill or a child.
  • to an interpreter if a language barrier or hearing impairment presents a continuing problem to your understanding of the care and treatment being provided.
  • to file a grievance. It may be filed verbally or in writing.
  • to have a family member or representative of your choice and your own physician notified promptly of admission to the hospital
  • to receive care in a safe setting and be free from all forms of abuse or harassment. You will be protected from all forms of abuse, neglect and harassment whether from staff, other patients, or visitors.
  • to be free from restraints of any form that are not clinically necessary or which are used as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience, or retaliation by staff.
  • to have pain managed effectively. You will be assessed for pain on admission and reassessed regularly thereafter.
  • to designate person(s) to allow for visitation and not be restrictive on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability and have visitation rights that are no more restrictive than those that immediate family members would enjoy.
  • to request assistance and have access to services such as ethics and palliative care consultations if you feel you need help in any way, including making difficult health care decisions.

As a patient, you are responsible:

  • to provide accurate and complete information related to your health and report unexpected changes in condition to the physician or nurse.
  • to ask questions if instructions are not clear.
  • to follow the treatment plan agreed to by the patient and the treatment team.
  • to show consideration to other patients and staff, and cooperate with hospital regulations which have been designed for the safety and well-being of all patients.
  • to fulfill financial obligations as promptly as possible, although care is not based on ability to pay.
  • to notify the staff if there are any restraining orders in effect from the court or if there is any threat to yourself and/or staff.
  • to ask the physician or nurse what to expect regarding pain and pain management; to ask for relief when pain first begins; to tell the physician or nurse if pain is not relieved; to tell the physician or nurse any worries about taking pain medication.
  • to keep your appointments or call as soon as possible to cancel.
  • to observe safety regulations, including the no tobacco policy.

To file a complaint:

Every staff member at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital is an advocate for your care, safety and satisfaction. Contact any one of our staff members about concerns that you have and they will do their best to resolve the matter immediately.

If your concerns cannot be resolved to your satisfaction or you have other feedback you would like to share, please contact:

BMH Director of Patient Experience
17 Belmont Avenue
Brattleboro, VT 05301

Patient Complaint Resolution Process

The Director of Patient Experience will review your concerns and make every effort to resolve them at that time. If your concern cannot be resolved in a timely manner, it may be considered a grievance. Our goal is to provide a written response to grievances within seven (7) days. Some investigations can take longer, depending on the nature of the grievance. The Director of Patient Experience will facilitate the investigation of the grievance and keep you informed of any delays. If the grievance is not resolved to your satisfaction, you may submit a timely appeal to:

Chief Medical Officer
17 Belmont Avenue
Brattleboro, VT o5301

The Chief Medical Officer’s decision will be final and a written notice of the decision will be sent in a timely manner. In addition, you can always contact the following external agencies for assistance:

Vermont Department of Health
Board of Medical Practice
PO Box 70 • 108 Cherry Street
Burlington, VT 05402
fax 802-657-4227
VT Division of Licensing and Protection
HC 2 South • 280 State Street
Waterbury, VT 05671
Email (preferred method):
Phone: 802-241-0334
Complaints: 888-700-5330
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20201
HHS Hotline: 877-696-6775
(Assistance for Medicare beneficiaries)
5201 West Kennedy Blvd., Suite 900
Tampa, FL 33609
Phone: 888-319-8452
TTY: 85711
Health Care Advocate
Vermont Legal Aid
HCA Hotline: 800-917-7787