Patient’s Bill of Rights

adopted in 1995

All patients should be guaranteed the following freedoms:

  • To seek consultation with the physician(s) of their choice;
  • To contract with their physician(s) on mutually agreeable terms;
  • To be treated confidentially, with access to their records limited to those involved in their care or designated by the patient;
  • To use their own resources to purchase the care of their choice;
  • To refuse medical treatment even if it is recommended by their physician(s);
  • To be informed about their medical condition, the risks and benefits of treatment and appropriate alternatives;
  • To refuse third-party interference in their medical care, and to be confident that their actions in seeking or declining medical care will not result in third-party-imposed penalties for patients or physicians;
  • To receive full disclosure of their insurance plan in plain language, including:
    1. CONTRACTS: A copy of the contract between the physician and health care plan, and between the patient or employer and the plan;
    2. INCENTIVES: Whether participating physicians are offered financial incentives to reduce treatment or ration care;
    3. COST: The full cost of the plan, including copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles;
    4. COVERAGE: Benefits covered and excluded, including availability and location of 24-hour emergency care;
    5. QUALIFICATIONS: A roster and qualifications of participating physicians;
    6. APPROVAL PROCEDURES: Authorization procedures for services, whether doctors need approval of a committee or any other individual, and who decides what is medically necessary;
    7. REFERRALS: Procedures for consulting a specialist, and who must authorize the referral;
    8. APPEALS: Grievance procedures for claim or treatment denials;
    9. GAG RULE: Whether physicians are subject to a gag rule, preventing criticism of the plan.

This can be found at.

According to Wikipedia, “Wendell Potter, former senior executive at Cigna turned whistleblower, has written that the insurance industry has worked to kill “any reform that might interfere with insurers’ ability to increase profits” by engaging in extensive and well funded, anti-reform campaigns. The industry, however, “goes to great lengths to keep its involvement in these campaigns hidden from public view,” including the use of “front groups.”

How many doctors do you know who will inform you about treatments they themselves are not interested in promoting? If you express a fear of taking antibiotics, how many will suggest garlic, silver, or oregano oil as alternatives, even though there is medical research to back up their validity? I dare say, very few.

You as a patient must advocate for yourself. Don’t expect your doctor to give you all the information you need. Educate yourself. Here’s a great article about how doctors disempower patients. Don’t let them disempower you.

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