Patients' Bill of Rights

The Patients’ Bill of Rights, adopted by the Federal Government in 1996, gives each of us seven basic rights as patients. These rights are:

  1. The Right to Information. You have the right to receive accurate, easily understood information to assist you in making informed decisions about your health plans, facilities, and professionals.
  2. The Right to Choose. You have the right to a choice of healthcare providers. This choice must be sufficient to ensure access to appropriate high-quality healthcare, including giving women access to qualified specialists such as obstetricians or gynecologists, and giving patients with serious medical conditions and chronic illnesses access to specialists.
  3. The Right to Access Emergency Services. You have the right to access emergency health services when and where the need arises. Under this right, health plans are required to provide payment when a patient presents himself to any emergency department with acute symptoms or pain—symptoms a “prudent layperson” ascertains may seriously impair a person’s health if untreated.
  4. The Right to Be a Full Partner in Healthcare Decisions. You have the right to fully participate in all decisions related to your healthcare. If you are unable to fully participate in treatment decisions, you have the right to have parents, or guardians represent you.  
  5. The Right to Care Without Discrimination. You have the right to considerate, respectful care from all members of the healthcare industry under all circumstances. Healthcare providers may not discriminate against patients based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, age, current or anticipated mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, or payment source.
  6. The Right to Privacy. You have the right to communicate with healthcare providers in confidence and to have the confidentiality of your health information protected. You also have the right to review and copy your medical records and request amendments to your records.
  7. The Right to Speedy Complaint Resolution. You have the right to a fair and efficient process for resolving differences with your health plans, healthcare providers, and the institutions that serve them.