Patient Rights & Responsibilities


Information Disclosure
Patients have the right to receive accurate, easily understood information about their health plans, professionals, and facilities.


Choice of Providers 
Patients have the right to a choice of health care providers, sufficient to ensure access to appropriate high quality health care.


Participation in Treatment Decisions
Patients have the right and responsibility to fully participate in all decisions related to their health care. Patients who are unable to fully participate in treatment decisions have the right to be represented by parents, guardians, family members or other conservators.


Respect & Nondiscrimination
Patients have the right to considerate, respectful care from all members of the health care team. Patients must not be discriminated against in the delivery of health care services. An environment of mutual respect is essential to maintain a quality health care system. Patients must not be discriminated against in the delivery of health care services consistent with the benefits covered in their policy or as required by law.


Confidentiality of Health Information
Patients have the right to communicate with health care providers in confidence and have the confidentiality of their individually identifiable health care information protected.


Complaints & Appeals
All patients have the right to a fair and efficient process for resolving differences with their health plans, health care providers and the institutions that serve them.


Patient Responsibilities
Greater individual involvement by patients in their care increases the likelihood of achieving the best outcome. Among other acts, patients should:

  • Take responsibility for maximizing healthy habits
  • Become involved in specific health care decisions, working collaboratively with providers
  • Disclose relevant information, wants and needs
  • Use the health plan’s complaint and appeal process to address concerns
  • Understand health plan coverage, options, and requirements
  • Meet financial obligations
  • Report wrongdoing and fraud


Can my physician discuss my case with other providers and/or staff in the office?

Yes, as long as your physician is discussing only the information needed to accomplish a legitimate function (like treatment or payment for your treatment). This is called the “minimum necessary” standard under the Privacy Rule.

Will the doctor's office still leave message reminders at my home?

Yes, unless you object to having the office contact you at your home, such as with appointment reminders, your physician will continue to leave message reminders and communications with you as necessary to provide quality service.

Can my physician still use a sign-in sheet and/or call my name in the waiting room to announce my "turn"?

Yes, your physician may still have you sign your name at the time of registration or announce your name in order to call you to an exam room.

Can my physician still fax records?

Yes, your physician may fax your health information as long as reasonable safeguards are used.

Do the HIPAA requirements apply to non physician staff?

Yes, everyone working in the office must follow these rules.

Can my physician discuss my care with a close family member or friend as we have been doing in the past?

Yes, HIPAA allows your physician to disclose your health information to family members and friends involved in your care as long as you do not object to the disclosure.

Does HIPAA still allow parents the right to access their children's records?

Parents of children 17 years and under generally have access to their child’s health information. However, HIPAA usually defers to state law in recognizing certain confidential relationships.

If my physician is referring me to another physician, can this physician have access to my records before I enter his/her office for the first time?

Yes, HIPAA does not prohibit the physician from accessing your health information to prepare the process for seeing you for the first time.

Does HIPAA prevent physician offices from reporting patients to collection agencies?

No. Under HIPAA, collection activities are considered legitimate payment functions, and disclosures of “minimum necessary” data to collection or credit agencies to receive payment are possible.

Does HIPAA allow my physician to share my health information to market goods and services?

HIPAA prohibits the selling or disclosing of your private health information.