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Overton Brooks VA Medical Center


Patient Rights & Responsibilities


Veterans Health Administration (VHA) employees will respect and support your rights as a patient. We are pleased you have selected us to provide your health care. We plan to make your visit or stay as pleasant for you as possible. The medical center respects the patient’s right to make decisions about his or her care, treatment and services, and to involve the patient’s family in care, treatment and services decisions to the extent permitted by the patient of surrogate decision-maker. ‘Family’ is defined as a group of two or more persons united by blood, or adoptive, marital, domestic partnership, or other legal ties. The family may also be a person or persons not legally related to the individual (such as significant other, friend or caregiver) whom the individual considers to be family. A family member may be the surrogate decision-maker, as defined in VHA Handbook 1004.02, if authorized to make care decisions for the individual, should he or she lose decision-making capacity or choose to delegate decision making to another. The medical center allows a family member, friend or other individual to be present with the patient for emotional support during the course of stay. The medical center allows for the presence of a support individual of the patients choice, unless the individual’s presence infringes on others’ rights or safety, or is medically or therapeutically contraindicated. The individual may or may not be the patient’s surrogate decision-maker or legally authorized representative. The hospital prohibits discrimination based on age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression. Your basic rights and responsibilities are outlined on this page. Please talk with VA treatment team members or a patient advocate if you have any questions or would like more information about your rights.

Respect and Nondiscrimination
  • You will be treated with dignity, compassion, and respect as an individual. Your privacy will be protected. You will receive care in a safe environment. We will seek to honor your personal and religious values.
  • You or someone you choose have the right to keep and spend your own money. You have the right to receive an accounting of VA held funds.
  • Treatment will respect your personal freedoms. In rare cases the use of medication and physical restraints may be used if all other efforts to keep you or others free from harm have not worked.
  • As an inpatient or long-term care resident, you may wear your own clothes and keep personal items. This depends on your medical condition.
  • As an inpatient or long-term care resident, you have the right to social interaction and regular exercise. You will have the opportunity for religious worship and spiritual support. You may decide whether or not participate in these activities. You may decide whether or not to perform tasks in or for the Medical Center.
  • As an inpatient or long-term care resident, you have the right to communicate freely and privately. You may have or refuse visitors. You will have access to public telephones. You may participate in civic rights.
  • As a long-term care resident, you can organize and take part in residents groups in the facility. Your family can meet the families of other residents.
  • In order to provide a safe treatment environment for all patients and staff you are asked to respect other patients and staff and to follow the facility's rules. Avoid unsafe acts that place others at risk for accidents or injuries. Please immediately report any condition you believe is unsafe.
Information Disclosure and Confidentiality
  • You will be given information about the health benefits that you can receive. The information will be provided in a way you can understand.
  • You will receive information about the costs of your care, if any, before you are treated. You are responsible for paying for your portion of the costs associated with your care.
  • Your medical record will be kept confidential. Information about you will not be released without your consent unless authorized by law (i.e. State public health reporting). You have the right to information in your medical record and may request copy of your records. This will be provided except in rare situations where your VA physician feels the information will be harmful to you. In that situation, you have the right to have this discussed with you by your VA provider.
  • You will be informed of all outcomes of care, including any injuries caused by your medical care. You will be informed about how to request compensation for injuries.
Participation in Treatment Decisions
  • You, and any persons you choose, will be involved in all decisions about your care. You will be given information you can understand about the benefits and risks of treatment. You will be given other options. You can agree to or refuse treatment. Refusing treatment will not affect your rights to future care but you have the responsibility to understand the possible results to your health. If you believe you cannot follow the treatment plan you have a responsibility to notify the treatment team.
  • As an inpatient or long-term care resident, you will be provided any transportation necessary for your treatment plan.
  • You will be given, in writing, the name and professional title of the provider in charge of your care. As a partner in the health care process, you have the right to be involved in choosing your provider. You will be educated about your role and responsibilities as a patient. This includes your participation in decision-making and care at the end of life.
  • Tell your provider about your current condition, medicines (including over the counter and herbals) and medical history. Also, share any other information that affects your health. You should ask questions when you don't understand something about your care. This will help in providing you the best care possible.
  • You have the right to have your pain assessed and to receive treatment to manage your pain. You and your treatment team will develop a pain management plan together. You are expected to help the treatment team by telling them if you have pain and if the treatment is working.
  • You have the right to choose whether or not you will participate in a research project. Any research will be clearly identified. Potential risks of the research will be identified and there will be no pressure on you to participate.
  • You will be included in resolving any ethical issues about your care. You might consult with the Medical Center's Ethics Committee and/or other staff knowledgeable about health care ethics.
  • If you or the Medical Center believes that you have been neglected, abused, or exploited, you will receive help.
  • You are encouraged and expected to seek help from your treatment team and/or patient advocate if you have problems or complaints. You will be given understandable information about the complaint process available for you. You may complain verbally or in writing, without fear of retaliation.
  • You are responsible for providing to the best of your knowledge, accurate and complete information about present complains, past illness, hospitalizations, medications, and other matters related to your health.
  • You and/or your family are responsible for reporting perceived risks in patient's care and unexpected changes in his/her condition. The patient and his family help the hospital Improve on its understanding of the patient environment by providing feedback about service needs and expectations.
  • Patients are responsible for asking questions when they do not understand what they have been told about their care or what they are expected to do.
  • The patient and family are responsible for following the care, service, or treatment plan developed. The patient or his/her caregiver should express any concerns about their ability to follow and comply with the proposed care plan or course of treatment.
  • The patient and his/her family are responsible for the outcome if they do not follow the care, service, or treatment plan.

The information above was taken from the official VA document number VA 10-88, dated September 2006. You may view this document in .PDF format by using this link. You will need the Adobe Acrobat reader to view this document.