Athens Regional Health System

Patient Rights & Responsibilities

Patient Rights

Access to Care
You shall be accorded impartial access to treatment or accommodations that are available or medically indicated, regardless of race, creed, sex, national origin, or sources of payment for care.

Respect and Dignity
You have the right to considerate, respectful care at all times and under all circumstances, with recognition of your personal dignity.

Privacy and Confidentiality
You have the right, within the law, to personal and informational privacy, as manifested by the following rights:

  • To refuse to talk with or see anyone not officially connected with the hospital, including visitors, or persons officially connected with the hospital but not directly involved in your care.
  • To wear appropriate personal clothing and religious or other symbolic items, as long as they do not interfere with diagnostic procedures or treatment.
  • To be interviewed and examined in surroundings designed to assure reasonable visual and auditory privacy. This includes the right to have a person of your own sex present during certain parts of a physical examination, treatment, or procedure performed by the health professional of the opposite sex and the right not to remain disrobed any longer than is required for accomplishing the medical purpose for which you were asked to disrobe.
  • To expect that any discussion or consultation involving your case will be conducted discreetly and that individuals not directly involved in your care will not be present without your permission.
  • To have your medical record read only by individuals directly involved in your treatment or in the monitoring of its quality. Other individuals can only read your medical record on your written authorization or that of your legally authorized representative. Also, you or your legally designated representative have access to the information contained in the medical record, within a reasonable time frame.
  • To expect all communications and other records pertaining to your care, including the source of payment for treatment, to be treated as confidential.
  • To request a transfer to another room if another patient or a visitor in the room is unreasonably disturbing you by any action. Facilitation of a room transfer will depend upon room availability and requirements of your care.
  • To be placed in protective privacy when considered necessary for personal safety.

Read more about Patient Confidentiality and Privacy 

Personal Safety
You have the right to receive care in a safe setting, free from verbal or physical abuse, harassment or neglect. You have the right to and are encouraged to report concerns regarding your safety to caregiver and /or hospital administrative staff.

You have the right to know the identity and professional status of individuals providing service to you and to know which physician or other practitioner is primarily responsible for your care. This includes your right to know of the existence of any professional relationship among individuals who are treating you, as well as the relationship to any other health care or educational institutions, and when your care or treatment involves the gathering of data for research or experimental purposes.

You have the right to obtain, from the practitioner responsible for coordinating your care, complete and current information concerning your diagnosis (to the degree known), treatment, and any known prognosis. This information should be communicated in terms that you can reasonably understand. When it is not medically advisable to give such information to you, the information should be made available to a legally authorized individual.

Request for Medical Records:

For more information about medical records, call our Health Information Management Department at 706-475-3361.

You have the right to have a family member or representative of your choice and your physician notified promptly of your admission to the hospital.

You have the right of access to people outside the hospital by means of visitor and by verbal and written communication. When you do not speak or understand the predominant language of the community, you shall have access to a free interpreter. This is particularly true where language barriers may affect your understanding of your care and treatment.


  • You have the right to participate in the development and implementation of your plan of care.
  • You have the right to reasonable informed participation in decisions involving your health care, as permitted and governed by the law. To the degree possible, this should be based on a clear, concise explanation of your health status and of all proposed technical procedures, including the possibilities of any risk of mortality or serious side effects, problems related to recuperation, and probability of success.
  • You should not be subjected to any procedure without your voluntary, competent, and understanding consent or the consent of your legally authorized representative. Where medically significant alternatives for care or treatment exists, you shall be so informed.
  • You have the right to know who is responsible for authorizing and performing the procedures or treatment.
  • You shall be informed if the hospital proposes to engage in or perform human experimentation or other research/educational projects affecting your care or treatment; you have the right to refuse to participate in any such activity.

You, at your own expense and at your request of your attending physician, have the right to consultation with another physician.

Refusal of Treatment
You may refuse treatment to the extent permitted by law. When refusal of treatment by you or your legally authorized representative prevents the provision of appropriate care in accordance with professional standards, the relationship with you may be terminated upon reasonable notice.

Management of Pain
You have the right to appropriate assessment and management of pain.

Patient Care and Safety Concerns
If you and your physician on the staff of the hospital disagree on the course of your treatment, you (or in the case of a minor, his or her parents or guardian), have a right to discharge the physician from your case and engage the professional services of another physician. It is your responsibility to engage the services of an alternate physician (or alternate physicians) assuming such physician is approved to practice at this institution.

You have the right, without recrimination, to file a complaint regarding patient care and safety, and to have those complaints reviewed and, when possible, resolved by contacting/calling any member of the hospital or medical staff or an Athens Regional Medical Center Patient Representative at 706-475-3397 or our management at 706-475-3432.

If those patient care and safety concerns remain unresolved, you may contact the Department of Human Resources (DHR), Office of Regulatory Services at 1-800-878-6442, 2 Peachtree Street, NW, 31st Floor, Atlanta, GA 30303-3142 or The Joint Commission at 1-800-994-6610, Office of Quality Monitoring, One Renaissance Boulevard, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181, or email

Transfer and Continuity of Care
You may not be transferred to another facility or organization unless you have received a complete explanation of the need for the transfer and of the alternatives to such a transfer and unless the transfer is acceptable to the other facility or organization. You have the right to be informed by the practitioner responsible for your care, or your delegate, of any continuing health care requirements following discharge from the hospital.

Hospital Charges
Regardless of the source of payment for your care, you have the right to request and receive an itemized and detailed explanation of your total bill and available payment methods for services rendered in the hospital. You have the right to timely notice prior to termination of your eligibility for reimbursement by any third-party payer for the cost of your care.

Hospital Rules and Regulations
You have the right to know about hospital rules if and when, they become applicable to your conduct as a patient. You have the right to know about hospital resources such as patient representatives, chaplains or ethics committees, that can help you resolve problems and questions about your hospital stay and care.

Advance Directives
You have the right to have an advance directive, such as a living will or health care proxy. These documents express your choices about your future care or name someone to decide if you cannot speak for yourself. If you have a written advance directive, you should provide a copy to the hospital, your doctor, and your family. The hospital will honor the intent of that directive to the extent provided by law and hospital policy.

Restraint and Seclusion
You have the right to be free from restraints and seclusion of any form that are not medically necessary or are used as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience, or retaliation by staff.


Provision of Information
You have the responsibility to provide, to the best of your knowledge, accurate and complete information about present complaints, past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications, and other matters relating to your health. You have the responsibility to report unexpected changes in your condition to the responsible practitioner. You are responsible for reporting whether you clearly comprehend a contemplated course of action and what is expected of you.

Compliance with Instructions
You are responsible for following the treatment plan recommended by the practitioner primarily responsible for your care. This may include following the instructions of nurses and allied health personnel as they carry out the coordinated plan of care, implement the responsible practitioner's orders, and enforce the applicable hospital rules and regulations. You are responsible for keeping appointments and, when you are unable to do so for any reason, for notifying the responsible practitioner or the hospital.

Refusal of Treatment
You are responsible for your actions if you refuse treatment or do not follow the practitioner's instructions.

Hospital Charges
You are responsible for assuring that the financial obligations of your health care are fulfilled as promptly as possible.

Hospital Rules and Regulations
You are responsible for following hospital rules and regulations affecting patient care and conduct.

Respect and Consideration
You are responsible for being considerate of the rights of other patients and hospital personnel and for assisting in the control of noise, unauthorized smoking, and the number of visitors. You are responsible for being respectful of the property of other persons and of the hospital.

Neonate, Child and Adolescent
If the patient is a neonate, child or adolescent, the parents or legal guardians shall assume all of the above rights and responsibilities on behalf of the patient.


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