Your Rights& Responsibilities as a Patient

Our focus is always on you. We are committed to providing excellent care in the most personal, sympathetic, confidential and dignified manner possible. Along with your health, you and your family’s values are among our top concerns.

Our job is to use our skills and resources to help prevent illness, restore and maintain health, and provide support, pain management and comfort when death is inevitable.

Your rights and responsibilities as a patient are an important part of health care. That’s why we endorse the American Hospital Association's “Patient’s Bill of Rights,” which supports the rights and responsibilities of patients.

Aurora Health Care wants you to know that you have rights as a patient, including the right to make your own decisions about your health care. Under Wisconsin State law, every patient (or the representative you’ve named to make choices for you) will get a copy of the document that outlines patient rights and responsibilities when they register. If you have to make very difficult decisions, our Ethics Committee can help you work through those choices. You’ll always have the opportunity to fully participate in planning your care and treatment.

En Español (PDF, 255 KB)

Access to Care

You’ll get access to available, medically appropriate treatments or accommodations regardless of your race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age, newborn status, handicap or source of payment. If you’re disabled, you have the right to ask for modifications and accommodations to our policies, procedures and practices, so that you can have the same goods, services, facilities, privileges, accommodations and advantages as a non-disabled patient, unless provision of such modifications would:

  1. Fundamentally alter Aurora programs, services, goods, privileges, advantages or accommodations
  2. Compromise your care

Respect & Dignity

You have the right to considerate, respectful care at all times and under all circumstances, with recognition of your individual dignity and personal needs. That includes the need for privacy in treatment. You won’t be restrained if not medically necessary, or for your own or others’ safety. You have the right to not be abused or harassed.

Privacy & Confidentiality

You have the right to privacy, which means you can:

  • Refuse to talk to or see anyone not officially connected to the hospital, including hospital employees who aren’t directly involved in your care.
  • Wear personal clothing and religious or other symbolic items, as long as they don’t interfere with necessary medical procedures or treatment.
  • Be interviewed and examined in an area set up to be as private as possible.
  • Expect that any conversations about your case will be handled discreetly and with respect for your privacy.
  • Have your medical records, including all computerized medical information, read only by individuals directly involved in your treatment or in the monitoring and evaluation of your care or charges, unless you request otherwise. Others can have access to your records with the written permission of you or your legally-authorized representative.
  • Expect that all communications and records that have to do with your medical care and your financial information will be considered confidential.
  • Request a transfer to another room if a patient or visitor is disturbing you.

Visitors

You have the right to only allow visitors you agree to. Those visitors can include a spouse, domestic partner (including a same-sex domestic partner), another family member and/or friend. You can choose to restrict visitors at any time. Your visitors will not be restricted on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability. The only time visitors might be limited would be for a specific medical reason, or for safety reasons. If that happens, we’ll discuss it with you and your family members.

Identity

You have the right to know the name, job, and qualifications of anyone who’s treating or caring for you, and to know which doctor or other health care provider is in charge of your care.

Information

You (or any person you’ve legally authorized) have the right to ask for and get complete and current information about your diagnosis (depending on how much is known), the recommended treatment, and the expectation of your recovery. If you don’t understand the information, you have the right to have it communicated to you so that you do understand it. When it is not medically advisable to give you such information, the information should be offered to someone you’ve legally authorized. You also have the right to refuse to hear this information.

You (or any person you’ve legally authorized) have a right to access your medical records. You have a right to access, request amendment to, and receive an accounting of disclosures regarding your own health information as permitted under applicable law.

You (or any person you’ve legally authorized) have a right to be informed about the outcomes of care, treatment and services, including outcomes that were unexpected.

Communication

You have the right to communicate with people outside the hospital. If you don’t speak the common language of the community, you have the right to an interpreter. You can choose who is permitted to visit you during your hospital stay. You have the right to have a family member or other representative you choose, as well as your regular doctor, notified right away that you’ve been admitted to the hospital.

Personal Safety

You have the right to expect to be safe in the hospital.

Informed Consent

Except in emergencies, we will get consent from you or your legally authorized representative before you’re treated. You can refuse treatment, to the extent permitted by law, and if you refuse you’ll be told what the medical consequences might be. Wherever possible, answers to your questions and requests will be based on a clear explanation of your condition and of all suggested technical procedures, including the risk of death or serious side effects, problems related to recovery and probability of success. If there are other alternatives to care or treatment, you have the right to be told what they are.

You have the right to know who is responsible for authorizing and performing the procedures or treatments.

You have a right to have informed consent filmed or photographed, a right to request that recording to be stopped, and a right to take back your consent.

Research Studies

You may be asked to participate in a research study. Taking part in such studies is your choice. If you decide not to participate, this will not affect the quality of the care you receive. You or your legally authorized representative will give informed consent for your participation in any form of research before it happens.

Pain Management

You have the right to be assessed for pain and for your pain to be adequately managed.

Consultation

You have the right, at your request and expense, to ask for a consultation with a specialist. You have the right to access protective services. Assistance is provided and referrals are made according to state law. Resource information is provided upon request.

Refusal of Treatment

You may refuse treatment to the extent permitted by law. If you or your legally authorized representative decide to refuse treatment that stops your health care providers from giving you care that meets their ethical and professional standards, the relationship between you and your health care providers may have to be terminated, after reasonable notice.

Advance Directives

You have the right to create an advance directive and appoint someone you trust to make health care decisions on your behalf, to the extent permitted by law. You will receive information about advance directives and you’ll have the chance to create an advance directive. That directive will become part of your permanent medical record, and the terms of your advance directive will be followed by staff, to the extent allowed by law. You will receive care even though you may not have an advance directive.

For services rendered in an outpatient hospital department, upon request, the hospital helps patients formulate a medical advance directive or refers them for assistance.

Transfer & Continuity of Care

Except in the event of an emergency, you will not be transferred to another facility without being given a full explanation for the transfer, without provisions being made for continuing care and without acceptance by the facility you’re being transferred to.

Hospital Charges

You have a right to examine your hospital bill and get an explanation of the bill, regardless of your source of payment, and you will get, upon request, information relating to financial assistance available through the hospital. You have the right to be notified in advance if you’re not eligible for reimbursement by any third-party payer. You also have the right to be given, upon request, full information and necessary counseling about the availability of known financial resources for your care; to know, upon request and before you’re treated, whether the health care provider or health care facility accepts Medicare; and to receive, upon request and before you’re treated, a reasonable estimate of what your care will cost.

Patient Responsibilities

We Ask That You

  1. Comply with hospital rules; cooperate in your own treatment; provide a complete, truthful medical history – including current symptoms, medications you are taking and other matters concerning your health. Be respectful of other patients, staff and property, and provide required information concerning payment of charges.
  2. Notify your doctor or nurse about any unexpected change in your condition.
  3. Take part in the treatment plan with your doctor and other members of the health care team. If you have worries or concerns, you should let the health care team know, but otherwise you should follow the care plan. You are responsible for the outcomes if you do not follow it.
  4. Pay attention to the care you are receiving.
  5. Don't be afraid to ask about safety measures the hospital is taking to protect you.
  6. Educate yourself about your diagnosis, the medical tests you are undergoing and your options.
  7. Make sure your health care professional knows your identity before he or she gives any medication or treatment.
  8. Consider asking a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate, to assist you in decisions and ask questions for you in a stressful situation.
  9. Expect health care workers to introduce themselves when they enter your room and look for their name badges.
  10. Ask questions when you do not understand what you have been told about your care. If you still don't understand, ask again.
  11. Be considerate of other patients and hospital staff by not making unnecessary noise, smoking or causing distractions.
  12. Do everything to make sure your bills are paid as promptly as possible.

Complaints

We value your feedback. If you have a complaint, please contact any staff member. You have a right to be told about our complaint policy and procedure. Please contact a manager at the site where you were cared for if you want additional information on our complaint policy and procedure, including how to submit a complaint, how complaints are reviewed, the time frame for review, when to expect a written response, and what the result of complaints may be. You also may contact a manager or administrator if you have a complaint that has not been addressed.

  • Aurora Lakeland Medical Center – 262-741-2000
  • Aurora Medical Center in Grafton – 262-329-1000
  • Aurora Medical Center in Kenosha – 262-948-5600
  • Aurora Medical Center in Manitowoc County – 920-794-5000
  • Aurora Medical Center in Oshkosh – 920-456-6000
  • Aurora Medical Center in Summit – 262-434-1000
  • Aurora Medical Center in Washington County – 262-673-2300
  • Aurora Memorial Hospital of Burlington – 262-767-6000
  • Aurora Psychiatric Hospital – 414-454-6600
  • Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center – 920-451-5000
  • Aurora Sinai Medical Center – 414-219-2000
  • Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center – 414-649-6000
  • Aurora St. Luke's South Shore – 414-489-9000
  • Aurora West Allis Medical Center – 414-328-6000

You also have the right to file a complaint by contacting:

Wisconsin Division of Quality Assurance
P.O. Box 2969
Madison, WI 53701-2969
Phone: 608-266-8481 or 800-642-6552
Fax: 608-267-0352

Office of Quality Monitoring
The Joint Commission
One Renaissance Boulevard
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
Phone: 800-994-6610

References:
Wisconsin Administrative Code HFS 124.05
Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Hospitals
Hospital Interpretive Guidelines – Patient Rights