The Bill of Rights applies to all physicians who see patients in an office setting, and to hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers that offer emergency, outpatient, or inpatient services.
Section 381.026, Florida Statutes, requires that physicians and health care facilities, if requested, shall inform patients of the address and telephone number of each state agency responsible for responding to patient complaints. Physicians and health care facilities are also required to adopt and make public, in writing, a summary of the rights and responsibilities of patients. This is best accomplished by posting a copy in the office in a conspicuous place. Fines for noncompliance range from $100 for nonwillful violations to $500 for willful violations. A copy of the summary follows:
SUMMARY OF THE FLORIDA PATIENT’S BILL OF RIGHTS & RESPONSIBILITIES
Florida law requires that your health care provider or health care facility knows your rights while you are getting medical care. You must also respect the health care provider’s or health care facility’s right to expect certain behavior from patients. You may request a copy of the full text of this law from your health care provider or health care facility. A summary of your rights and responsibilities follows.
As a patient, you have the right to:
- Be treated with courtesy and respect, with appreciation of your dignity, and protection of your need for privacy.
- A prompt and reasonable response to questions and requests.
- Know who is providing medical services and who is responsible for your care.
- Know what patient support services you can get and if an interpreter is available if you do not speak English.
- Know what rules and laws apply to your conduct.
- Be given by your health care provider information about diagnosis, planned course of treatment, treatment options, alternatives, risks, and prognosis presented in a manner appropriate to the enrollee’s condition and ability to understand.
- Participate in decisions regarding health care and refuse treatment, except as provided by law.
- Be given upon request full information and counseling you need on the availability of known financial resources for your care.
- If eligible for Medicare, know upon request and in advance of treatment if the health care provider or health care facility accepts the Medicare assignment rate.
- Get upon request, before treatment, a reasonable estimate of charges for medical care.
- Get a copy of a reasonable, clear, and understandable detailed bill and, upon request, to have the charges explained.
- Access medical treatment or accommodations, regardless of race, national origin, religion, physical handicap, or source of payment in accordance with federal and State regulations.
- Treatment for any emergency medical condition that will get worse from failure to provide treatment.
- Know if medical treatment is for experimental research and to give your consent or refusal to take part in such experimental research.
- Private handling of medical records and, except when required by law, be given the chance to approve or refuse their release.
- Express grievances about any violation of your rights, as stated in Florida law, through the grievance procedure of the health care provider or health care facility that served you, and to the appropriate state-licensing agency.
- Be free from any form of restraint or seclusion used as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience, or retaliation.
- Request and receive a copy of his or her medical records and request that they be amended or corrected.
- Be furnished health care services in accordance with federal and State regulations.
- Freely exercise his or her rights, and that the exercise of those rights does not adversely affect the way the health plan and its providers or the State agency treat the enrollee.
As a patient, you have the responsibility to:
- Give to your health care provider—to the best of your knowledge—correct and complete information about present complaints, past illnesses, hospital stays, medicines, and other health matters.
- Report unexpected changes in your condition to your health care provider.
- Report to your health care provider if you comprehend a thought-out course of action and what is expected of you.
- Follow the treatment plan suggested by your health care provider.
- Keep appointments, and when you are unable to do so for any reason, notify the health care provider or the health care facility
- Answer for your actions if you refuse treatment or do not follow the health care provider’s instructions.
- Assure that the financial obligations of your health care are fulfilled as promptly as possible.
- Follow health care facility rules and laws that affect patient care and conduct.
This article is presented for educational purposes only and should not be taken as a substitute for legal advice, which should be obtained from personal legal counsel. Nevertheless, the FMA hopes that the information provided here and in its other publications continues to assist physicians in answering many of their most common legal questions allowing them to treat patients, instead of addressing legal concerns.