Patient Advocacy

We realize that being in the hospital can make people feel anxious and overwhelmed. If you have a question or concern that your doctor or another member of your care team has been unable to address, then the Patient Advocate is available to support you. The Patient Advocate acts as a liaison, or bridge, between and among patients, doctors, hospital staff, and departments to recognize and remove any obstacles to providing you with quality care. You can call the Patient Advocate for assistance with any of the following:

  • Questions about patient rights and responsibilities
  • Clarification of hospital policy or procedure
  • Concerns regarding the direction or quality of patient care
  • Help in voicing a concern or filing a formal grievance
  • Assistance accessing needed services or resources

The Patient Advocate is available Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. by calling 410-362-3805, or dialing “0” and asking the operator to connect you. Calls are typically acknowledged within 24 hours if made during regular business hours. Weekend messages are acknowledged within 48-72 hours. For immediate access to an Advocate outside of normal business hours, please request the Nursing Supervisor on-call.

 

Patient Rights & Responsibilities

Throughout the Bon Secours Mercy Health System, it is our policy to care for patients regardless of race, religion, color, gender, age, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, disability, or any other characteristic protected under the law.  We believe in acknowledging each patient’s rights, clarifying patient responsibilities and creating a community of care among our professional health care team.  We consider our patients to be partners in their health care.

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Patients at this Bon Secours facility have the right to:

  • Receive care in a safe setting that is appropriate to their needs, free from all forms of abuse and neglect, including verbal, mental, physical, and sexual abuse.
  • Receive care that is both respectful of their personal beliefs and consistent with the mission and values of Bon Secours Health System.
  • Have a medical screening exam and be provided stabilizing treatment for emergency medical conditions and labor associated with childbirth.
  • Receive effective, understandable care that is provided in a manner compatible with their cultural health beliefs and practices, and preferred language.
  • In accordance with hospital visitation policies, have an individual of the patient’s choice (also known as a “support person”)remain with the patient for emotional support during the patient’s hospital stay.Does not apply to psychiatric and/or incarcerated inpatients.
  • Receive language assistance at no cost, at all points of contact, in a timely manner, during all hours of operation, if they are a patient with limited English proficiency or hearing impairment; and receive auxiliary aids to ensure clear communication at no cost to them if they have visual, speech, or other physical impairments.
    • Call the Patient Advocate at 410-362-3805 between the hours of 8:30am and 4:30pm Monday through Friday.
    • Call the Administrative (Nursing) Coordinator at 410-746-3332 at all other times.
  • Have a family member, representative, or their private physician notified of their admission to the hospital, upon request.Does not apply to incarcerated patients.
  • Receive care that is free from restraints or seclusion in any form, as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience, or retaliation.Does not apply to incarcerated patients.
  • Have their pain assessed and treated in a manner respectful of their individual needs and wishes.
  • Know the names and professional status of the individuals directly responsible for their care if staff safety is not a concern.
  • Participate in decisions regarding their care, including (a) the right to accept or refuse treatment prior to the provision of non-emergent care to the extent permitted by law and the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, and (b) the right to be informed of the benefits and risks of care, available alternatives, and the benefits and risks of those alternatives.
  • Give informed consent or refusal to participate in medical research studies, without fear of reprisal.
  • Be informed or have their support person informed of their visitation rights, including any clinical restrictions or limitations of such rights. Does not apply to incarcerated patients.
  • Enjoy the ability to either extend or deny full and equal visitation privileges to anyone, consistent with their wishes. Does not apply to incarcerated patients.
  • Allow or refuse to allow pictures of the patient for purposes other than the patient’s care.
  • Participate in the resolution of ethical questions that may arise during the course of their care.
  • Make an advance directive (living will), designate someone to make choices about their medical care for them, or include/exclude family members who would be able to make medical decisions.
  • Review their medical records in accordance with HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices.
  • Expect that communication and records concerning their care will be treated in a confidential manner.
  • Know the hospital rules and regulations that affect their behavior and the behavior of their family and visitors.
  • Freely voice concerns about their care without fear of reprisal of any kind. They can voice a concern to any member of their care team, and expect that it will be promptly acknowledged and resolved.If their concern isn’t resolved, or they wish to submit a grievance, they can:
    • Request to speak with the Patient Advocate, or contact the Patient Advocacy Office directly at 410-362-3805.
    • Request a Patient Feedback Form to document your concern (submission instructions are included on the form).
    • You may also contact either of the following agencies to further voice your concern:

Office of Health Care Quality
Maryland Department of Health 
1-877-402-8218www.health.maryland.gov/ohcq

Joint Commission Complaint Hotline
1-800-994-6610 | www.jointcommision.org/report_a_complaint.aspx

 

  • Access protective and advocacy services when needed and as provided by law.
  • Participate in their discharge planning. Does not apply to incarcerated patients.
  • Receive information about the patient’s hospital and physician charges and ask for an estimate of hospital charges before care is provided, as long as patient care is not impeded. Does not apply to incarcerated patients.

 

Patients at this Bon Secours facility have the responsibility to:

  • Provide their caretakers with complete and accurate information about their illness, including information about past illnesses, hospitalizations and medications.
  • Make known whether or not they understand the proposed procedures or treatment plans.
  • Follow the agreed-upon treatment plan, and accept the outcome(s) if they choose not to follow the care plans and treatments proposed. This includes the choice to leave against the medical advice of their provider.
  • Be considerate of other patients, the staff, hospital regulations and hospital property.
  • Refrain from abusive behavior, threats, and/or attempts of verbal or physical violence.
  • Meet their financial commitments to the hospital.
  • Assume responsibility for any valuables or other personal property that is not locked in the hospital Security safe.

 

Support in Making Difficult Treatment Decisions

The Clinical Ethics Committee is available to offer you and your family compassionate guidance and support in thinking through difficult decisions, differences of opinion, or other concerns regarding your care and treatment. Perhaps you’re no longer able to speak and your family is conflicted about how to make decisions for you in a way that would respect your wishes; or maybe you and your doctor have differing perspectives on an appropriate course of treatment. The Clinical Ethics Committee, made up of doctors, nurses, social workers, clergy, patient advocates, community members, and other health care providers, can help you consider your treatment options and arrive at an informed decision about your health care.

Anyone can request an ethics consultation – a patient, friend, staff person, or member of the care team. Requests can be made in a number of ways:

  • Contact the Patient Advocate at 410-362-3805.
  • Dial “0” and let the operator know that you’d like an Ethics Consult.
  • Speak to any member of your care team.
  • Email your request to ethics_consult@bshsi.org.

 

Protecting Your Privacy

We are committed to protecting your personal health information. Our privacy practices are outlined in the Bon Secours Baltimore Health System Notice of Privacy Practices which describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed, and how to access this information.  If you have a patient privacy concern, please call the Bon Secours Privacy Officer at 410-362-4455 Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Please consult our Patient & Visitor Services Guide for further information on our many support services.