As a patient, you have certain rights. Some are guaranteed by federal law, such as the right to get a copy of your medical records, and the right to keep them private. Many states have additional laws protecting patients, and health care facilities often have a patient bill of rights.
An important patient right is informed consent. This means that if you need a treatment, your health care provider must give you the information you need to make a decision.
Many hospitals have patient advocates who can help you if you have problems. Many states have an ombudsman office for problems with long term care. Your state's department of health may also be able to help.
- Patient's Bill of Rights (American Cancer Society) Also in Spanish
- Questions to Ask the Doctor: Do You Know the Right Questions to Ask? (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)
- When Health Care Providers May Communicate About You with Your Family, Friends, or Others Involved in Your Care (Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights) - PDF
- Getting a Second Opinion Before Surgery (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) - PDF
- Informed Consent (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
- Informed Consent (American Cancer Society) Also in Spanish
- Rights and Responsibilities of VA Patients and Residents of Community Living Centers (Department of Veterans Affairs)
- Your Medicare Rights (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Informed Consent (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Uninformed consent: Who knows what Ivan Ilyich would have thought?
- Article: Systematic violations of patients' rights and safety: Forced medication of a...
- Article: Privacy-Oriented Technique for COVID-19 Contact Tracing (PROTECT) Using Homomorphic Encryption: Design...
- Patient Rights -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
- Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights
- Locate an Ombudsman (National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care)