What Are Your Patient Rights?
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The changes with our healthcare system can be very overwhelming for the average consumer. A philosophy of “patient-centered care” is becoming the norm for patients as they navigate through the health care system. Patient-centered care puts the management and responsibility of care in the hands of the patient. There are four basics rights the patient needs to consider during an office visit:
Right # 1: Treatment Options
Physician visits are patient driven. In other words, you should take control of the visit and its outcome. Patients have the right to ask for specific services and options for care. The physician may suggest a plan of care. However, you have the choice to select different treatment options and or ask for a second opinion. As a patient, you have the right to have the full attention of your physician. Although, your physician may bring a laptop computer into the room to chart your care, make sure he or she is listening to your concerns with appropriate eye contact and body language.
Right # 2: Informed Consent
Have a clear understanding of your treatment or care plan prior to consenting. Informed consent is a clear and understandable explanation of the risks and benefits. In addition, you have a right to ask pertinent questions regarding the billing and medical coding of your medical services.
Right # 3: Denial of Treatment Options
Patients have the right to challenge treatment options and medication recommendations from their physician. In addition, patients have the right to refuse additional tests or prescriptions. Patients have the right to request generic medication options. Finally, patients have a right to choose a different lab, diagnostic or outpatient center for their care. (Especially if their insurance company or Medicare will cover the fees)
Right #4: Make End-of-Life Decisions
Patients have the right to make their own end-of life decisions. They have the right to make the choice to end treatments and testing for life limiting illnesses. Patients have the right to get straight forward answers on the long term prognosis of their diagnosis. Patients have the right to determine life-preserving treatment alternatives as well as hospice considerations.
It is important to remember as the patient you do have the right to refuse any treatment at any time for any reason. Remember, patient-centered care puts you squarely in the driver’s seat at all times.