Patient “Bill of Rights" and Informed Consent
In 1998, the U.S. Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry adopted a ‘Consumer Bill of Rights and Responsibilities', commonly known as The Patient’s Bill of Rights. This “Bill” was created to ensure that the health care system gives patients a way to address any problems they may have and encouraging patients to take an active role in staying or getting healthy.
In addition, the Bill of Rights lays out rights and responsibilities for patients and health care providers. One of the key features of A Patient’s Bill of Rights is informed consent. Informed consent recognizes a patient’s need to understand the procedures, surgery, or treatment before they can decide to have it or not. It includes understanding the risks and drawbacks of the recommended plan so you can freely decide whether the risks are worth the benefits you expect to get from the treatment plan. If you agree to the treatment or procedure, you may be asked to sign a consent form. It is common to want to have questions answered before agreeing to any treatment plan that carries risk. Also, a federal law called the HIPAA Privacy Rule gives individuals the right to see, get a copy of and correct their medical record. (HIPAA stands for the “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.”)