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Patient Rights & Responsibilities

Mount Auburn Hospital is committed to providing you with the highest quality care and service. We want to partner with you to make sure that your experience here is excellent, comfortable, safe, and respectful. Massachusetts has a law which guarantees you rights as a patient and also explains your responsibilities as a patient. A full copy of this important law (Chapter 111, Section 70E) is posted in the Admitting and Emergency Department waiting areas. This page summarizes the law and Mount Auburn’s commitment to our patients. If you have any questions about your rights and responsibilities as a patient, or want to share a feedback, concern or comment, please call our Patient Relations Office at 617-499-5100.

Your Rights: Communication and Decision Making

You have the right...

  • To know the name, role and specialty of all people who are providing your care.
  • To medical confidentiality as provided under the law.
  • To have your medical care and treatments explained to you clearly.
  • To participate in decisions about your care, including the development and implementation of your in or out patient treatment/care plan, discharge plan, pain management plan and informed consent. When a patient representative has been designated we will, at your request, involve him/her in these decisions.
  • To designate a Health Care Proxy or another individual to act as your patient representative who would assist you with making medical decisions.
  • To be treated with respect.
  • To appoint a Health Care Proxy.
  • To read your medical record and request a copy of your record.
  • To express concerns about your care or safety and receive a prompt response. We welcome your feedback.

Your Rights: Treatment and Care

You have the right...

  • To privacy during medical treatment within the capacity of the facility.
  • To refuse to be examined, observed, or treated by students or hospital staff without jeopardizing your access to care.
  • To refuse to participate in medical research studies.
  • To a quick response from our medical team when you are in pain.
  • To prompt life-saving treatment in an emergency, regardless of your economic status or source of payment.
  • If refused treatment because of economic status or the lack of a source of payment, to prompt and safe transfer to a facility which agrees to receive and treat such patient. Said facility refusing to treat such patient shall be responsible for: ascertaining that the patient may be safely transferred; contacting a facility willing to treat such patient; arranging the transportation; accompanying the patient with necessary and appropriate professional staff to assist in the safety and comfort of the transfer, assure that the receiving facility assumes the necessary care promptly, and provide pertinent medical information about the patient's condition; and maintaining records of the foregoing.
  • To emergency contraception if you have been sexually assaulted.
  • To receive medical care that meets the highest standards at Mount Auburn Hospital regardless of race, religion, any disability, or handicap, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, military service, or source of payment for your care.
  • If you have breast cancer, you have the right to complete information regarding all treatments that are medically appropriate.
  • If you are a maternity patient, you have the right to complete information regarding various types of deliveries.
  • To be free from restraint or seclusion imposed as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience or retaliation by staff.

Your Rights: Financial Matters

You have the right...

  • To know if your doctor has a financial or other conflict of interest as it relates to your care.
  • To request and receive information regarding financial assistance or free care.
  • To request and receive an itemized bill and an explanation of the bill.

Your Rights: Personal Matters

You have the right...

  • To have or refuse visitors, including but not limited to a spouse, domestic partner (including a same sex domestic partner) another family member, or a friend.
  • To interpreter services and/or special devices if you are limited English speaking, deaf, or hard of hearing and/or visually impaired.
  • To tell us how, if at all, you would like your family (as defined by you) to participate in your care and decision making.
  • To have a family member or representative and your primary care physician promptly notified of your admission.
  • To access spiritual support while you are in the hospital.
  • To review and/or obtain a copy of your hospital medical record. We may deny your request in limited circumstances, but you may request that the denial be reviewed. The hospital may charge a reasonable copy fee, which is limited by state law.

Your Responsibilities

You have the right...

  • To provide complete and accurate information about your medical history.
  • To tell a doctor or nurse when you feel better or worse, especially if there is a sudden change in how you feel.
  • To work collaboratively with your medical team.
  • To speak up if you have a concern about your safety as a patient.
  • To be considerate of other patients. This includes helping to control noise.
  • To follow the rules of the hospital which are designed to keep you, other patients, and visitors safe and comfortable.
  • To provide accurate information about your insurance or lack of insurance.
  • To pay your bill to the extent that you can.
  • The hospital retains medical records for a minimum of twenty years from the date last seen. If destroyed after that time, it will be destroyed in a secure manner to protect the information from unauthorized disclosure.

Secondary records which are normally held in individual departments, such as radiology films and scans, raw psychological testing data, electronic fetal monitoring strips, electrocardiogram tracings, electroencephalographs, and other tracings generated to report the results of tests may be destroyed after a minimum of five years. Written reports of these testing materials are kept in the medical record. Individual departments may decide to keep these secondary records for a longer time.

If You Have a Compliment or a Concern

At Mount Auburn Hospital we strive to deliver the best possible care for our patients. If you have any concerns about your stay we encourage you speak directly with your nurse, your doctor and/or a manager. You can also share your concerns with one of our staff in the Patient Relations Department who will work with the clinical team or department manager to resolve your concerns.

Please refer to Patient Relations for information on how to file a formal complaint/grievance with other agencies.

The Patient Rights Brochure is available in three additional languages, click the translation you would like to download:





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Tell us about your Mount Auburn Hospital experience. Contact Patient Relations at 617-499-5100 or email us to share your compliments and concerns.

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