Your Rights as a Patient

Your Rights as a Patient

Interpreter Services
The Hospital provides meaningful access and effective communication for all patients including those patients who are non-English speakers, deaf, or hard of hearing. Interpreters are available to assist patients. In an emergency or unusual circumstances, the Hospital may use telephonic interpreter services. More information on interpreter services

Patient Bill of Rights
Newton-Wellesley Hospital (NWH) respects your rights as a patient, recognizes you as an individual with unique health care needs and respects your personal dignity. NWH strives to provide considerate, respectful care focused upon your individual needs. NWH affirms your right to make decisions regarding your medical care, including the decision to discontinue treatment, to the extent permitted by law. NWH will assist you in exercising your rights. In order to serve all of its patients, NWH asks that each patient respect the rights of other patients.

The rights and responsibilities listed below include those rights you have under Massachusetts Law and standards of the Joint Commission. You may discuss these rights and responsibilities with a Patient Advocate at ext. 6205.

Access to Care
Individuals shall be accorded impartial access to treatment or accommodations that are available or medically indicated, regardless of age, race, national origin, culture, ethnicity, religion, language, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, physical or mental disability socio-economic status or payment source.

Your Rights As A Patient
Regarding your care, you have the right to:

  • Receive life-saving treatment without delay regardless of your economic status or source of payment. Should it not be an emergency, you have the right of safe transfer to a facility that agrees to receive and treat you.
  • Decide your choice of facility, physician, or health service mode, provided that the physician, facility, or health service mode is able to accommodate your choice and insofar as your exercise of this right is not contrary to law.
  • Receive an adequate explanation of your health problems and of the proposed treatment, as well as the risks and benefits of the treatment, so that you may give voluntary, intelligent and informed consent.
  • Choose who may visit you during your hospital stay (subject to certain clinical restrictions and limitations). You may also deny or withdraw such consent at any time. If you are unable to choose, a family member, friend or staff may help you make the decision.
  • Receive, if your health concern is breast cancer, information on all medically viable treatments.
  • Receive, as a maternity patient, complete information at the time of preadmission on the Hospital’s annual rate of cesarean sections and related statistics.
  • Receive, if you are a female rape victim of childbearing age, medically and factually written information prepared by the Commissioner of Public Health about emergency contraception. You also have the right to be offered emergency contraception promptly and to be provided emergency contraception upon request.
  • Receive, upon request, if you are a female 18 years of age or older, a Papanicolaou's Stain or Pap test, for which you may be billed.
  • Refuse to be examined, observed, or treated by students or facility staff without jeopardizing access to medical, psychiatric, psychological, or other care and attention.
  • Refuse to serve as a research or educational subject.
  • Privacy during your hospitalization, including confidentiality of your medical record to the extent provided by the law. You have the right to inspect your medical records, or to receive a copy of them for a nominal fee.
  • Receive considerate and respectful care.
  • Receive consideration of psychological, spiritual and cultural variables that influence perceptions of illness.
  • Receive, if a dying patient, care which optimizes comfort and dignity through treating of primary and secondary symptoms that respond to treatment as desired by you, the patient, or your surrogate decision maker, and by acknowledging your psychological and spiritual concerns and those of your family regarding dying and the expression of grief by you and your family.
  • Receive effective management of pain.
  • Be free from restraints of any form that are not medically necessary.
  • Formulate advance directives and appoint a surrogate to make health care decisions on your behalf, to the extent permitted by law, and to have the medical and Hospital staff comply with those directives.
  • Participate, or have your designated representative participate, in the consideration of ethical issues that arise in your care.
  • Expect your guardian, next of kin, or legally responsible person to exercise, to the extent permitted by law, the rights delineated on your behalf if you have been adjudicated incompetent in accordance with the law, have been found to be medically incapable of understanding the proposed treatment or procedure, are unable to communicate your wishes regarding treatment, or are a minor.
  • Receive a prompt and adequate response to all reasonable requests you have that are within the capacity of NWH, its stated mission, and applicable law and regulation.
  • Receive information on the process by which patient complaints are reviewed, and when possible, resolved concerning the quality of care.
  • Receive, upon request, the names and specialties of anyone responsible for your care or the coordination of that care, as well as an explanation of the relationship between NWH and the medical staff of any other institution if it relates to your care.
  • Receive, upon request, a copy of an itemized bill or other statement of charges submitted to any third party by NWH and to have a copy of the itemized bill or statement sent to your attending physician.
  • Receive, upon request, from a Financial Services Representative from the Department of Fiscal Services, any available information about financial assistance and free health care.
  • Receive a copy of any NWH policies which apply to your conduct as a patient.

If you have a concern, complaint or a problem, please tell your physician, primary nurse, or other health care professional, or the patient representative. You may also write to or call 617-243-6205, the Newton-Wellesley Hospital Patient Relations office

In addition, you have the right to file a grievance or complaint with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Division of Health Care Quality, 617-753-8000, 99 Chauncy Street, 2nd floor, Boston, MA 02111, the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine, 200 Harvard Mill Sq., Suite 330, Wakefield, MA 01880, or the Joint Commission, Office of Quality Monitoring, 1 Renaissance Boulevard, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181.

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