Hospital Information: Patients' Rights

New York

As a patient in a hospital in New York State, you have the right, consistent with law, to:

  1. Understand and use these rights. If for any reason you do not understand or you need help, the hospital MUST provide assistance, including an interpreter.
  2. Not be discriminated against because of age, citizenship status, color, disability or handicap, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, nationality, race, religion, veteran status or ability to pay/source of payment for care; to not be deprived of any constitutional, civil, and/or legal rights solely because of receiving services from the facility;
  3. Receive considerate and respectful care in a clean and safe environment free of unnecessary restraints.
  4. Receive emergency care if you need it.
  5. Be informed of the name and position of the doctor who will be in charge of your care in the hospital.
  6. Know the names, positions, and functions of any hospital staff involved in your care in the hospital and refuse their treatment, examination, or observation.
  7. A no smoking room.
  8. Receive complete information about your diagnosis, treatment and prognosis.
  9. Receive all the information that you need to give informed consent for any proposed procedure or treatment. This information shall include the possible risks and benefits of the procedure or treatment.
  10. Receive all the information you need to give informed consent for an order not to resuscitate. You also have the right to designate an individual to give this consent for you if you are too ill to do so. If you would like additional information, please ask for a copy of the pamphlet “Do Not Resuscitate Orders—A Guide for Patients and Families.”
  11. Refuse treatment and be told what effect this may have on your health.
  12. Refuse to take part in research. In deciding whether or not to participate, you have the right to a full explanation.
  13. Privacy while in the hospital and confidentiality of all information and records regarding your care.
  14. Participate in all decisions about your treatment and discharge from the hospital. The hospital must provide you with a written discharge plan and written description of how you can appeal your discharge.
  15. Review your medical record without charge and obtain a copy of your medical record for which the hospital can charge a reasonable fee. You cannot be denied a copy solely because you cannot afford to pay.
  16. Receive an itemized bill and explanation of all charges.
  17. Complain without fear of reprisals about the care and services you are receiving and have the hospital respond to you and if you request it, a written response. If you are not satisfied with the hospital's response, you can complain to the New York State Health Department. The hospital must provide you with the Health Department telephone number.
  18. Authorize those family members and other adults who will be given priority to visit consistent with your ability to receive visitors.
  19. Make known your wishes in regard to anatomical gifts. You may document your wishes in your health care proxy or on a donor card, available from the hospital.

If patients have any questions regarding their rights they may contact a Patient Representative at (212) 639-7202. Patients who are not satisfied with the hospital's response to their complaint may contact the Health Department at (800) 804-5447. The patient may also submit a written complaint to the following address:

New York State Department of Health
Centralized Hospital Intake Program
433 River Street 6th Floor
Troy, NY 12180

Patients' Responsibilities

This statement of Patients' Responsibilities was designed to demonstrate that we at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center believe that mutual trust, respect and cooperation are basic to the delivery of safe, high quality health care service.

When you are a patient at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, it is your responsibility to:

  1. Provide accurate and complete information about your present complaints, past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications and other matters related to your health.
  2. Tell your physician or nurse if you do not understand your treatment or what you are expected to do. Ask questions and make sure you understand the answers if you have doubts or concerns.
  3. Follow the care and treatment plan developed by your healthcare team. Tell us if you have concerns about your ability to follow the proposed plan.
  4. Inform your physician or nurse if there is a change in your condition or if problems arise during your treatment.
  5. Help us maintain safety and prevent errors by cooperating with repeated questions about your name and health information. Tell us if you have safety concerns or perceive risks in your care.
  6. Keep your doctor or nurse informed of your pain management needs.
  7. Provide accurate information related to insurance or other sources of payment. Patients are responsible for assuring prompt payment of their bills. Tell us if you are having financial problems so that we may assist you in a timely manner.
  8. Understand that it may become necessary to transfer you to another bed within the hospital.
  9. Be courteous and considerate of other patients and of hospital staff. Patients and their visitors are expected to assist in maintaining a quiet environment and to be respectful of hospital property.
  10. Honor our No Smoking policy.
  11. Observe our visiting hours and inform your visitors of our policy.
  12. Honor our check-out time on the day you are discharged.

New Jersey

The policies and procedures that guide Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s interaction with and care of patients demonstrate its recognition and support of patients' rights.

In the State of New Jersey, each patient receiving services in an ambulatory care facility shall have the following rights:

  1. To be informed of these rights, as evidenced by the patient's written acknowledgment, or by documentation by staff in the medical record, that the patient was offered a written copy of these rights and given a written or verbal explanation of these rights, in terms the patient could understand. The facility shall have a means to notify patients of any rules and regulations it has adopted governing patient conduct in the facility;
  2. To be informed of services available in the facility, of the names and professional status of the personnel providing and/or responsible for the patient's care, and of fees and related charges, including the payment, fee, deposit, and refund policy of the facility and any charges for services not covered by sources of third-party payment or not covered by the facility's basic rate;
  3. To be informed if the facility has authorized other health care and educational institutions to participate in the patient's treatment. The patient also shall have a right to know the identity and function of these institutions, and to refuse to allow their participation in the patient's treatment;
  4. To receive from the patient's physician(s) or clinical practitioner(s), in terms that the patient understands, an explanation of his or her complete medical/health condition or diagnosis, recommended treatment, treatment options, including the option of no treatment, risk(s) of treatment, and expected result(s). If this information would be detrimental to the patient's health, or if the patient is not capable of understanding the information, the explanation shall be provided to the patient's next of kin or guardian. This release of information to the next of kin or guardian, along with the reason for not informing the patient directly, shall be documented in the patient's medical record;
  5. To participate in the planning of the patient's care and treatment, and to refuse medication and treatment. Such refusal shall be documented in the patient's medical record;
  6. To be included in experimental research only when the patient gives informed, written consent to such participation, or when a guardian gives such consent for an incompetent patient in accordance with law, rule and regulation. The patient may refuse to participate in experimental research, including the investigation of new drugs and medical devices;
  7. To voice grievances or recommend changes in policies and services to facility personnel, the governing authority, and/or outside representatives of the patient's choice either individually or as a group, and free from restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal;
  8. To be free from mental and physical abuse, free from exploitation, and free from use of restraints unless they are authorized by a physician for a limited period of time to protect the patient or others from injury. Drugs and other medications shall not be used for discipline of patients or for convenience of facility personnel;
  9. To confidential treatment of information about the patient. Information in the patient's medical record shall not be released to anyone outside the facility without the patient's approval, unless another health care facility to which the patient was transferred requires the information, or unless the release of the information is required and permitted by law, a third-party payment contract, or a peer review, or unless the information is needed by the New Jersey State Department of Health for statutorily authorized purposes. The facility may release data about the patient for studies containing aggregated statistics when the patient's identity is masked;
  10. To be treated with courtesy, consideration, respect, and recognition of the patient's dignity, individuality, and right to privacy, including, but not limited to, auditory and visual privacy. The patient's privacy shall also be respected when facility personnel are discussing the patient;
  11. To not be required to perform work for the facility unless the work is part of the patient's treatment and is performed voluntarily by the patient. Such work shall be in accordance with local, State, and Federal laws and rules;
  12. To exercise civil and religious liberties, including the right to independent personal decisions. No religious beliefs or practices, or any attendance at religious services, shall be imposed upon any patient;
  13. To not be discriminated against because of age, citizenship status, color, disability or handicap, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, nationality, race, religion, veteran status or ability to pay/source of payment for care; to not be deprived of any constitutional, civil, and/or legal rights solely because of receiving services from the facility; and
  14. To expect and receive appropriate assessment, management and treatment of pain as an integral component of that person’s care in accordance with N.J.A.C. 8:43E-6.

If patients have any questions regarding their rights they may contact a Patient Representative at (212) 639-7202. Patients who are not satisfied with the hospital's response to their complaint may contact the Health Department at (609) 792-9770. The patient may also submit a written complaint to the following office:

Division of Health Facilities Evaluation and Licensing
New Jersey State Department of Health
PO Box 367
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0367

Patients' Responsibilities

This statement of Patients' Responsibilities was designed to demonstrate that we at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center believe that mutual trust, respect and cooperation are basic to the delivery of safe, high quality health care service.

When you are a patient who is receiving services at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, it is your responsibility to:

  1. Provide accurate and complete information about your present complaints, past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications and other matters related to your health.
  2. Tell your physician or nurse if you do not understand your treatment or what you are expected to do. Ask questions and make sure you understand the answers if you have doubts or concerns.
  3. Follow the care and treatment plan developed by your healthcare team. Tell us if you have concerns about your ability to follow the proposed plan.
  4. Inform your physician or nurse if there is a change in your condition or if problems arise during your treatment.
  5. Help us maintain safety and prevent errors by cooperating with repeated questions about your name and health information. Tell us if you have safety concerns or perceive risks in your care.
  6. Keep your doctor or nurse informed of your pain management needs.
  7. Provide accurate information related to insurance or other sources of payment. Patients are responsible for assuring prompt payment of their bills. Tell us if you are having financial problems so that we may assist you in a timely manner.
  8. Be courteous and considerate of other patients and of center staff. Patients and their visitors are expected to assist in maintaining a quiet environment and to be respectful of center property.
  9. Honor our No Smoking policy.