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Home / Patients & Visitors / Patient Rights & Responsibilities

Patient Rights & Responsibilities

Holyoke Medical Center does not discriminate against any individual regardless of race, color, religious creed, gender, gender identity or expression, genetic information, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran or active military status, marital status or national origin/ethnicity, physical or mental disability, personal values or belief systems.

The patient has the right to:

  • Receive the care necessary to help regain or maintain his or her maximum state of health and, if necessary, cope with death.
  • Expect personnel who care for the patient to be friendly, considerate, respectful and qualified through education and experience, as well as perform their responsibilities with the highest quality of service.
  • Expect full recognition of individuality, including privacy, in treatment and care. In addition, all communications and records will be kept confidential.
  • Complete information, to the extent known by the physician, regarding diagnosis, treatment and prognosis, as well as alternative treatments or procedures and the possible risks and side effects associated with treatment.
  • Be fully informed of the scope of services available at the hospital, provisions for after‐hours and emergency care, as well as related fees for services rendered.
  • Be a participant in decisions regarding the intensity and scope of treatment. If the patient is unable to participate in those decisions, the patient’s rights shall be exercised by the patient’s designated representative or another legally designated person.
  • Make informed decisions regarding his or her care.
  • Refuse treatment to the extent permitted by law and be informed of the medical consequences of such a refusal. The patient accepts responsibility for his or her actions should he or she refuse treatment or not follow the instructions of the physician or hospital.
  • Approve or refuse the release of medical records to any individual outside the hospital, except in the case of transfer to another health hospital, or as required by law or third‐party payment contract.
  • Be informed of any human experimentation or other research/educational projects affecting his or her care or treatment, as well as refuse participation in such experimentation or research without compromise to the patient’s usual care.
  • Assistance in changing primary or specialty physicians or dentists if other qualified physicians or dentists are available.
  • Provide patient access to and/or copies of their individual medical records.
  • Have an advance directive, such as a living will or healthcare proxy. A patient who has an advance directive must provide a copy to the hospital and his or her physician so that his or her wishes may be known.
  • Be fully informed before any transfer to another hospital or organization and ensure the receiving hospital has accepted the patient transfer.
  • Express those spiritual beliefs and cultural practices that do not harm others or interfere with the planned course of medical therapy for the patient.
  • Have an initial assessment and regular reassessment of pain.
  • Education of all relevant providers in pain assessment and management.
  • Education of patients and families when appropriate, regarding their roles in managing pain, as well as the potential limitations and side effects of pain treatments.
  • Have their personal, cultural, spiritual and/or ethnic beliefs considered when communicating to them and their families about pain management and their overall care.
  • Be informed, or when appropriate, the patient’s representative be informed, (as allowed under State law), of patient’s rights, in advance of furnishing or discontinuing patient care whenever possible.
  • Expect the hospital to agree to comply with Federal Civil Rights laws that assure it will provide interpretation for individuals who are not proficient in English. The hospital presents information in manner and form, such as TDD, large print materials, Braille, audio tapes and interpreters, that can be understood by hearing and sight impaired individuals.
  • Access to treatment without regard to race, ethnicity, national origin, color, creed/religion, sex, age, mental disability, or physical disability. Any treatment determinations based on a person’s physical status or diagnosis will be made on the basis of medical evidence and treatment capability and not on the basis of fear or prejudice. Services will be furnished based on the medical necessity and appropriateness of the admission or service as well as applicable requirements of federal and state law and regulations regarding the types of treatment that may appropriately be furnished at a particular hospital. The hospital must provide a Statement of Non‐Discrimination if requested by a patient in order for a patient to file an Office of Civil Rights discrimination‐based grievance.
  • Have reasonable expectations of care and services and the hospital should address those expectations in a timely, reasonable and consistent manner.
  • Participate in the development and implementation of his or her plan of care.
  • Make, or his or her representative, has the right to make, informed decisions regarding his or her care.
  • Have a family member or representative of his or her choice and his or her own physician notified promptly of his or her admission to the hospital.
  • Receive care in a safe setting.
  • Be free from all forms of abuse or harassment.
  • To be offered emergency contraception, get emergency contraception when asked, and get written information about emergency contraception if you are a female rape victim
  • Be allowed visitation privileges and support, consistent with patient preferences.
  • Expect confidentiality of his or her clinical records.
  • Access information contained in his or her clinical records within a reasonable time frame. Hospitals are required to maintain medical records for at least 20 years after the patient’s discharge or after the final treatment. A copy of the hospital’s medical record retention policy is available upon request.
  • Be free from restraints of any form that are not medically necessary or are used as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience or retaliation by staff.
  • Expect the hospital to establish a process for prompt resolution of patient grievances and must inform each patient whom to contact to file a grievance. The hospital must also inform the patient that he or she may lodge a grievance with the state agency directly, and provide the patient a phone number and address for lodging a grievance with the state agency.

If you are dissatisfied with services received at the medical center, you may file a complaint with the Concern Line at (413) 534‐2727.

Written complaints should be directed to the Administrative Offices, Holyoke Medical Center, 575 Beech Street, Holyoke, MA 01040. Additionally, problems or concerns about your rights and/or quality of care may be directed to:

Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Board of Registration in Medicine
200 Harvard Mill Square, Suite 330
Wakefield, MA 01880

Mass Division of Healthcare Quality
Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH)
99 Chauncy Street, 2nd. Floor
Boston, MA 02111

DNV‐GL Healthcare
400 Techne Center Drive, Suite 100
Milford, OH 45150
Attn: Complaints
1‐866‐496‐9647 (Follow “File Hospital Complaint” link); or email

The patient is responsible:

  • To work together with health care providers on the plan of care
  • For being considerate of other patients and personnel and for assisting in the control of noise, smoking and other distractions.
  • To let health care providers know if you want family or others involved in care and decision making.
  • For respecting the property of others and the hospital.
  • To share information about current and past medication, including over the counter medications, vitamins, herbs and/or alternative medicines or treatment.
  • For reporting whether he or she clearly understands the planned course of treatment and what is expected of him or her.
  • To help prevent loss by keeping anything valuable at home.
  • For keeping appointments and, when unable to do so for any reason, notifying the hospital and physician.
  • To talk about reactions to anesthesia, if surgery is need.
  • For providing caregivers with the most accurate and complete information regarding present complaints, past illnesses and hospitalizations, medications, unexpected changes in the patient’s condition or any other patient health matters.
  • To behave in a respectful manner. Yelling, verbal threats or physical harm to staff or property is not allowed.
  • For promptly fulfilling his or her financial obligations to the hospital.
  • To ask questions before leaving the hospital about medications, activities and the follow‐up care
  • For payment to hospital for copies of the medical record the patient may request.
  • To ask family and friends to schedule visits to promote rest, healing and privacy.
  • For identifying any patient safety concerns.
  • To keep the hospital smoke free by following the No Smoking Policy on the hospital grounds.
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Patient Rights & Responsibilities