I used to work for Member Services for a popular Health Care Insurance and Medical Provider. When patientís had problems with their doctors or medical provider, they called my department for assistance. This issue of patientís rights is particularly important to me because I had a hard time getting adequate health care. Here is my story.
I am an overweight middle-aged woman. I developed a small growth on my thigh Ė no big deal. I didnít pay it any attention at first, but over a few months, it kept getting bigger. When I first went to the doctor about it, my doctor touched it and told me that I needed to lose weight. I went home and was determined that I would lose weight, but failed miserably. Meanwhile the growth on my leg increased. I started losing feeling in the leg and having some discomfort. Every few months, I would go to the doctor, and received the same answer Ė lose weight. For a while, I stopped going to the doctor, because I felt it was pointless. After a couple of years struggling with weight loss, and losing that battle, I made the tough decision to have weight-loss surgery. I felt this was the only way for my doctor to take this enormous growth seriously. Meanwhile, the growth on my leg had become so big that I had to wear big long dresses to cover the protruding growth. Once I started losing weight, I had to keep wearing the big dresses because the growth on my leg was the size of two 10 pound sacks of potatoes Ė no exaggeration. After approximately three years of going back and forth to the doctors the tumor had grown so big, that when they removed it, it weighed approximately 30 pounds and all I could do was drag that leg around. I look back on that situation now, and realize I did not receive adequate health care. I felt trapped in a situation where my doctor could not treat my leg because he could not see past my weight issues. Iím passionate about Patientís Rights, because I do not want anyone to go through what I went through to receive the medical care.
Though my health issues involved not getting proper medical treatment due to my weight, Patientís Rights is something that everyone is entitled to: Seniors, children, developmentally disabled individuals, all races, creeds, and religious orientation.
I cannot include all issues pertaining to patientís rights in this article, but I will provide several websites that address these issues. The following is a list of the most common violation of Patient Rights:
Your Rights to continuous care, second opinions and referrals
You have the right to receive uninterrupted care from your doctor and HMO and to be referred to other health care providers when necessary.
You have the right to receive a second opinion when you or your doctor request one.
You have the right to receive an authorization from your health plan for referral to a specialist within three days.
You have the right to have your doctor freely discuss your medical treatment options and care with you, without interference or restrictions by your health plan.
Your Right to Informed Consent
You have the right to know all the risks, benefits and treatment alternatives before consenting to any treatment.
You have the right to refuse treatment by withholding your consent.
Your Rights to your Medical Records and Confidentiality
You have the right to obtain complete information about your medical condition and care.
You have the right to inspect your medical records within five days of making a written request.
You have the right to have your medical records kept confidential unless you provide written consent, except in limited circumstances.
Your Right to Emergency Medical Care
You have the right to receive emergency care at any licensed facility with an emergency room.
You have the right to be treated until your emergency medical condition is stabilized when you go to a hospital emergency room.
You have the right to be informed by the hospital of your right to receive emergency services, without regard to your ability to pay, prior to being transferred or discharged.
Your Rights to Coverage of Pre-existing Conditions
If you are joining a group health plan, you have the right to not be denied coverage on the basis of your health status, medical condition or history, genetic information, disability or insurability.
You have the right to receive coverage for preexisting conditions in most cases within 12 months (or, in some instances, six months) of enrolling in a group health care plan.
Your Right to File a Grievance with your Health Plan and the Department of Managed Health Care
You have the right to file a grievance with your health plan for any decision that you believe has adversely affected your health care.
You have the right to have your grievance resolved by your plan within 30 days, when possible.
You have the right to submit your grievance to the Department of Managed Health Care, after participating in your planís grievance process for 30 days.
Remember, everyone has the right to have quality health care. If you feel you are not receiving adequate care by your medical provider, you can do the following:
-Call your local Department of Health and Human Services for assistance
-If you have a private Insurance or have Medicare/Medicaid, you may call the number on the Customer Service number on the back of your insurance card
-If you receive Medicare, visit the Website at www.mymedicare.gov; Or call 1-800-633-4227
Do not be afraid to ask your doctor questions or to exert your rights as a patient. Your quality of life may depend on it.
Note from Dorcas: Always remember that our doctors and medical personnel are gifts from God! We should never disrespect them because we fill violated. This is why we are sharing information to advise us how to have a respectful conversation or to seek help in a professional manner if needed.