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Patient Rights and Responsibilities

We at South Shore Hospital want you to understand your rights and responsibilities.
Please speak with your nurse or call the Patient Relations Department at 781-624-8888 with any questions - or if you'd like an interpreter.

Your Rights As A Patient:

Federal and state law provide for specific patient rights. At South Shore Health System (SSHS), we recognize our responsibility to respect these rights as well as to inform you of them regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, veteran’s status, disability, status with regard to public assistance, membership or activity in a local commission, political affiliation or place of residence. The following summarizes both federal law and the Massachusetts Patients' Bill of Rights.

  • You have the right to obtain the name and specialty of the doctor or other person responsible for your care.
  • You have a right to confidentiality of all records and communications concerning your medical history and treatment to the extent provided by law.
  • You have a right to a prompt response to all reasonable requests.
  • You have a right to request and receive an explanation as to the relationship, if any, of this hospital and your doctor to any other health care facility or educational institution, insofar as any such relationship relates to your care.
  • You have a right to request and receive information about financial assistance and free health care.
  • You have a right to obtain a copy of any rules or regulations of this hospital which may apply to your conduct as a patient.
  • You have a right upon request to inspect your medical records, request an amendment to, or receive an accounting of disclosures regarding personal health information, and for a reasonable fee, receive a copy of your record.
  • You have a right to receive a copy of your medical record free if you show that your request is to support a claim or appeal under any provisions of the Social Security Act in any federal or state financial needs-based benefit program.
  • You have a right to refuse to be observed, examined or treated by students or any other staff without jeopardizing your access to care.
  • You have a right to refuse to participate as a research subject and to refuse any care or examination when the primary purpose is educational or informational rather than therapeutic.
  • You have a right to personal dignity and, to the extent reasonably possible, to privacy during medical treatment and other care.
  • You have the right to have your cultural, psychosocial, spiritual, and personal values, beliefs, and preferences respected.
  • You have the right to request pastoral and other spiritual services.
  • You have a right to prompt life-saving treatment without discrimination due to economic status or source of payment.
  • You have the right, if you are a female rape victim of childbearing age, to receive medically and factually accurate written information prepared by the commissioner of public health about emergency contraception; to be promptly offered emergency contraception; and to be provided with emergency contraception upon request.
  • You have a right, if refused treatment for economic status or lack of a source of payment, to prompt and safe transfer to a facility that agrees to provide treatment.
  • You have a right to informed consent to the extent provided by law.
  • You have a right, if suffering from any form of breast cancer, to complete information on all alternative treatments that are medically viable.
  • You have a right, if you are a maternity patient, to receive information about the hospital's rate of cesarean sections and related statistics.
  • You have a right to request and receive an itemized explanation of your medical bill.
  • You have the right to file a grievance by calling the Patient Relations Department’s CARE line at (781-624-8888) or email advocacy@southshorehealth.org if you have concerns regarding your care and treatment. In addition, you have the right to file a grievance with either 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, 560 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA 02118; or The Joint Commission, Office of Quality Monitoring, 1 Renaissance Boulevard, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181.
  • You have the right to be informed of your health status, be involved in care planning and treatment and be able to request or refuse treatment. This right must not be construed as a mechanism to demand the provision of treatment or services deemed medically necessary or inappropriate.
  • You have the right to formulate advance directives and to have hospital staff and practitioners who provide care in the hospital comply with these directives.
  • You have the right to have a family member or representative of your choice and your own physician notified promptly of your admission to the hospital.
  • You have the right to access advocacy or protective services and to be free from all forms of abuse and harassment.
  • You have the right to be free from seclusion and restraints of any form that are not medically necessary or are used as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience, or retaliation by staff.
  • You have the right to have your consent obtained prior to any recording or filming of care treatment and services provided to you which is made for purposes other than the identification, diagnosis or treatment.
  • You have the right to be informed about outcomes or care, treatment, and services that have been provided including unanticipated outcomes.
  • You have the right to effective communication, request an interpreter and to receive information in a manner that you understand.
  • You have the right to pain management.

Your Responsibilities As A Patient Or Family Member

By taking an active role in your own health care, you can help your caregivers best meet your needs. That is why we ask you and your family to share with us certain responsibilities. They include:

  • Letting us know your expectations about hospitalization and treatment
  • Pay close attention to the care you are receiving. Make sure you are getting the right treatments and medications.
  • Asking questions and making sure you understand any instructions given to you so that you can safely care for yourself when you leave the hospital or doctor's office.
  • Being open and honest with us about your health history, including all medications you are taking and any legal or illegal addictive substances you use.
  • Telling us about any situation at home or work that may affect your ability to care for yourself, so that we can direct you to resources that can help.
  • Letting us know if you feel you cannot follow a plan of care that has been prescribed-or telling us when things do not seem to be going well-so that, together, we can develop the right plan of care for you.
  • Following South Shore Health System rules and regulations.
  • Being considerate of South Shore Health System staff and property, as well as other patients and their property.
  • Accepting outcomes if you and your family do not follow the care, treatment and service plan.
  • Meeting any financial obligation agreed to with South Shore Hospital.

If you have any questions or concerns about your rights or responsibilities as a patient or family member, please speak with any member of your care team or contact the SSHS Care Line at (781) 624-8888.


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