Patient Rights & Responsibilities

Being a good patient does not mean being a silent one. If you have questions, problems, safety concerns or unmet needs, please let us know. If you would like further clarification of the "Patient Rights and Responsibilities" as they pertain to you, or would like more information regarding our complaint and/or grievance process please contact the applicable facility as listed below. 

Geisinger Medical Center
Action Line: 570-271-8881
If dialing from within Geisinger Medical Center, call 18881.

Geisinger-Bloomsburg Hospital
Patient Advocate: 570-387-2182

Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center
(including The Pearsall Heart Hospital) Action Line: 570-808-7636

Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre
Action Line: 570-808-7636

Geisinger Clinic, doing business as Geisinger Medical Groups: call the site where you receive care and ask for the operations manager.

Geisinger Outpatient Surgery Centers have a unique set of Patient Rights & Responsibilities.

Download copy here

Contact us

Pennsylvania Department of Health
Division of Acute and Ambulatory Care
625 Forster Street
Health and Welfare Building
Room 532
Harrisburg, PA 17120-0701
Phone: 800-254-5164
Phone: 717-783-8980
Fax: 717-705-6663

or

If you feel that your concern was not resolved through the hospital's complaint and/or grievance process, you, or a representative of your choice, may contact the Office of Quality Monitoring of the Joint Commission by either calling 800-994-6610, sending an e-mail to patientsafetyreport@jointcommission.org or visiting www.jointcommission.org.

Patient Rights

  1. A patient has the right to respectful care given by competent personnel.
  2. A patient has the right, upon request, to be given the name of his attending physician, the names of all other physicians directly participating in his care, and the names and functions of other health care persons having direct contact with the patient.
  3. A patient has the right to every consideration of his privacy concerning his own medical care program. Case discussion, consultation, examination and treatment are considered confidential and shall be conducted discreetly.
  4. A patient has the right to have all records pertaining to his medical care treated as confidential except as otherwise provided by law or third-party contractual arrangements.
  5. A patient has the right to know what hospital rules and regulations apply to his conduct as a patient.
  6. The patient has the right to expect emergency procedures to be implemented without unnecessary delay.
  7. The patient has the right to good quality care and high professional standards that are continually maintained and reviewed.
  8. A patient has the right to change providers if other qualified providers are available.
  9. The patient has the right to full information in layman's terms, concerning his diagnosis, treatment and prognosis, including information about alternative treatments and possible complications. When it is not medically advisable to give such information to the patient, the information shall be given on his behalf to the patient's next of kin or other appropriate person.
  10. Except for emergencies, the physician must obtain the necessary informed consent prior to the start of any procedure or treatment, or both. Informed consent is defined in section 103 of the Health Care Services Malpractice Act (40 P. S. ยง 1301.103).
  11. A patient or, in the event the patient is unable to give informed consent, a legally responsible party, has the right to be advised when a physician is considering the patient as a part of a medical care research program or donor program, and the patient, or legally responsible party, must give informed consent prior to actual participation in such a program. A patient, or legally responsible party, may, at any time, refuse to continue in any such program to which he has previously given informed consent.
  12. A patient has the right to refuse drugs, treatment, or procedure offered by the hospital, to the extent permitted by law, and a physician shall inform the patient of the medical consequences of the patient's refusal of drugs, treatment, or procedure.
  13. A patient has the right to assistance in obtaining consultation with another physician at the patient's request and own expense.
  14. As a patient, you or your legally responsible party, have the right to receive care without discrimination due to age, sex, race, color, religion, sexual orientation, income, education, national origin, ancestry, marital status, culture, language, disability, gender identity or who will pay your bill.
  15. The patient has the right to be communicated to in their preferred language. The patient who does not speak English should have access to an interpreter.
  16. The hospital shall provide the patient, or patient designee, upon request, access to all information contained in his medical records, unless access is specifically restricted by the attending physician for medical reasons.
  17. The patient has the right to expect good management techniques to be implemented within the hospital considering effective use of the time of the patient and avoid the personal discomfort of the patient.
  18. When medically permissible, a patient may be transferred to another facility only after he or his next of kin or other legally responsible representative has received complete information and an explanation concerning the needs for and alternatives to such a transfer. The institution to which the patient is to be transferred must first have accepted the patient for transfer.
  19. The patient has the right to examine and receive a detailed explanation of his bill.
  20. The patient has a right to full information and counseling on the availability of known financial resources for his health care.
  21. A patient has the right to expect that the health care facility will provide a mechanism whereby he is informed upon discharge of his continuing health care requirements following discharge and the means for meeting them.
  22. A patient cannot be denied the right of access to an individual or agency who is authorized to act on his behalf to assert or protect the rights set out in this section.
  23. A patient has the right to be informed of his rights at the earliest possible moment in the course of his hospitalization.
  24. A patient has the right to participate in the development and implementation of his or her plan of care.
  25. A patient or his or her representative (as allowed under Pennsylvania law) has the right to make informed decisions regarding his or her care. The patient's rights include being informed of his or her health status, being involved in care planning and treatment, and being able to request or refuse treatment, in accord with applicable law and regulation. This right must not be construed as a mechanism to demand the provision of treatment or services deemed medically unnecessary or inappropriate.
  26. A patient or his or her representative (as allowed under Pennsylvania law) has the right to information on infection control practices; including hand washing, respiratory (cough) hygiene and contact (isolation) safety measures.
  27. A patient has the right to formulate advance directives and, if transferred to a hospital, to request that the hospital staff and practitioners who provide care in the hospital comply with these directives in accord with federal regulation.
  28. The patient has the right to make decisions about care, treatment, and services received at the end of life.
  29. A patient has the right to have a family member or representative of his or her choice and his or her own physicians notified promptly of his or her admission to the hospital.
  30. A patient has the right to receive care in a safe setting.
  31. A patient has the right to access information contained in his or her clinical records within a reasonable time frame, in accord with applicable law or regulation.
  32. A patient has the right to be free from restraints of any forms for acute medical and surgical care that are not medically necessary or are used as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience or retaliation by staff.
  33. A patient has the right to be informed of unanticipated outcomes during his or her care.
  34. A patient has the right to be free from seclusion and restraints of any form for behavioral management imposed as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience or retaliation by staff.
  35. A patient has the right to prompt resolution of complaints and/or grievances from either the patient and his or her family.
  36. A patient has the right to an environment that preserves dignity and contributes to a positive self-image.
  37. A patient has the right to be free from mental, physical, sexual and verbal abuse, neglect and exploitation or harassment.
  38. A patient has the right to access protective and advocacy services.
  39. A patient has the right to effective communication, from health care personnel, in a manner that meets his or her oral and written communication needs.
  40. A patient has the right to appropriate assessment and management of pain.
  41. A patient has a right to have his or her cultural, psychosocial, spiritual and personal values, beliefs and preferences respected.
  42. A patient has the right to access, request amendment to, and receive an accounting of disclosures regarding his or her own protected health information as permitted under applicable law.
  43. A patient has the right, without recrimination, to voice complaints regarding his or her care, to have those complaints reviewed, and, when possible, resolved.
  44. A patient has the right to give or withhold informed consent to produce or use recordings, films or other images of the patient for purposes other than his care.
  45. A patient's medical record is used only for the purposes of treatment, payment and health care operations except as otherwise required or permitted by applicable law, rule or regulation. A patient is entitled to access information in the medical record, following applicable facility procedures, unless such access to the medical record is restricted by the doctor for medical reasons or is prohibited by law. Patient records will only be used or disclosed as referenced in our Notice of Privacy Practices.
  46. The privacy of a patient's protected health information will be maintained as required by law. A patient has the right to receive the applicable Notice of Privacy Practice brochure indicating privacy practices with respect to a patient's protected health information on a patient's first contact on or after April 14, 2003, and when such brochure material is changed. To receive a copy, please contact any employee.
  47. A patient has the right to decide if he/she wants visitors. You have the right to have visitors of your choice during your hospital stay. The hospital may need to limit visitors when visitation interferes with the well-being, rights or safety of others, or is not medically indicated in your care.
  48. A patient has the right to designate visitors who may not be legally related by marriage or blood. A patient has the right to request limits on visitors.
  49. A patient has the right to designate his or her representative (as allowed by Pennsylvania law) who may determine who can visit if the patient becomes incapacitated.
  50. The hospital will not deny visitation privileges based on race, religion, ethnicity, language, gender, gender identity or expression, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, physical or mental ability or disability.

Patient Responsibilities

A Patient has the responsibility to:

  • Provide information about present and past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications and other matters relating to your health history.
  • Have members of your family authorized to review your treatment, if you are unable to communicate with doctors or nurses.
  • Formulate an advanced directive and appoint a surrogate to make health care decisions on your behalf, to the extent permitted by the law.
  • Ask questions if you do not understand directions or procedures.
  • Help your doctor, nurse and health care support staff in their efforts to care for you by following their instructions and medical orders.
  • Report safety concerns immediately to your doctor, nurse or any health care support staff.
  • Report if pain is not adequately controlled so medication regimen can be changed to meet your needs.
  • Avoid drugs, alcoholic beverages or toxic substances, which have not been administered by your doctor.
  • Accept medical consequences if you do not follow the care, service or treatment plan provided to you.
  • Help control noise and the number of visitors in your room (or exam room, if you are an outpatient).
  • Respect the property of other people and the applicable facility.
  • Use the call light provided for your safety.
  •  Be respectful and considerate of other patients and Geisinger staff.
  • Sign a written acknowledgement that you have received the applicable Notice of Privacy Practices.
  • Provide accurate information needed for processing your insurance coverage.
  • Be responsible for payment of all services, either through your third party payers (insurance company) or by personally making payment for any service that are not covered by your insurance policy(s) including second opinions or consultations.
  •  Follow policies and procedures set forth by the applicable facility.
  • Advise Geisinger staff if at any time you wish to request limits on visitors during your stay.

You, or a representative of your choice, also have the right to speak to any state survey agency, without interference.