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Patient Rights and Responsibilities

In This Section

Statement of Patient Rights

(En Español)

As a patient of a WellSpan Health care location (including WellSpan hospitals), or as a family member or healthcare representative of a patient at this care location, we want you to know the rights you have under federal and Pennsylvania state law as soon as possible in your care location stay. We are committed to honoring your rights and want you to know that by taking an active role in your health care, you can help your caregivers meet your needs as a patient or family member. That is why we ask that you and your family share with us certain responsibilities.

Your Rights

This care location complies with applicable federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, gender identity, language, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or source of payment.

As our patient, you have the right to safe, respectful, and dignified care at all times. You will receive services and care that are medically suggested and within the care location’s services, its stated mission, and as required by law and regulation.


You have the right to:

  • Have a family member, lay caregiver, or another person that you choose, or your physician or advanced practice provider notified if you are admitted to a WellSpan hospital.
  • Receive information in a way that you understand. This includes interpretation and translation, free of charge, in the language you prefer for talking about your health care. This also includes providing you with needed help if you have vision, speech, hearing, or cognitive impairments.
  • Designate a support person, if needed, to act on your behalf to assert and protect your patient rights.

Informed Decisions

You have the right to:

  • Receive information about your current health, care, outcomes, recovery, ongoing health care needs, and future health status in terms that you understand.
  • Be informed about proposed care options including the risks and benefits, other care options, what could happen without care, and the outcome(s) of any medical care provided, including any outcomes that were not expected. When it is not medically advisable to give such information to you, it will be given on your behalf to your next of kin or other appropriate person. You may need to sign your name before the start of any procedure and/or care, but “Informed consent” is not required in the case of an emergency.
  • Be involved in all aspects of your care and to take part in decisions about your care.
  • Make choices about your care based on your own spiritual and personal values.
  • Request care. This right does not mean you can demand care or services that are not medically needed.
  • Refuse any care, therapy, drug, or procedure against the medical advice of a physician or advanced practice provider. There may be times that care must be provided based on the law.
  • Expect the care location to get your permission before taking photos, recording, or filming you, if the purpose is for something other than patient identification, care, diagnosis, or therapy.
  • Decide to take part or not take part in research or clinical trials for your condition, or donor programs, that may be suggested by your physician or advanced practice provider. Your participation in such care is voluntary, and written permission must be obtained from you or your legal representative before you participate. A decision to not take part in research or clinical trials will not affect your right to receive care.


You have the right to:

  • Decide if you want visitors or not while you are here. The care location may need to limit visitors to better care for you or other patients, but will not restrict, limit or otherwise deny visitation privileges on the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, gender identity, language, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or source of payment.
  • Designate those persons who can visit or accompany you while you are in the care location. These individuals do not need to be legally related to you. Visitors will enjoy full and equal visitation privileges consistent with your preferences.
  • Designate a support person who may determine who can visit you if you become incapacitated.
  • Access an individual or agency who is authorized to act on your behalf to assert or protect your rights as a patient.
  • Request a room transfer within the care location. Room transfer requests will be permitted if deemed necessary to promote the patient’s well-being.

Advance Directives

You have the right to:

  • Create advance directives, which are legal papers that allow you to decide now what you want to happen if you are no longer healthy enough to make decisions about your care. You have the right to have staff comply with these directives.
  • Ask about and discuss the ethics of your care, including resolving any conflicts that might arise such as, deciding against, withholding, or withdrawing life-sustaining care.

Care Planning

You have the right to:

  • Receive a medical screening exam to determine treatment.
  • Participate in the care that you receive in the care location.
  • Receive instructions on follow-up care and participate in decisions about your plan of care after you are out of the care location.
  • Receive a prompt and safe transfer to the care of others when this care location is not able to meet your request or need for care or service. You have the right to know why a transfer to another health care facility might be required, as well as learning about other options for care. The care location cannot transfer you to another care location unless that care location has agreed to accept you.

Care Delivery

You have the right to:

  • Expect emergency procedures to be implemented without unnecessary delay.
  • Receive care in a safe setting free from any form of abuse, harassment, and neglect.
  • Receive kind, respectful, safe, quality care delivered by skilled staff.
  • Know the names of physicians, advanced care providers, and nurses providing care to you and the names and roles of other health care workers and staff that are caring for you.
  • Receive assistance in obtaining a consultation by another healthcare provider at your request and expense.
  • Receive proper assessment and management of pain, including the right to request or reject any or all options to relieve pain.
  • Receive care that is free from restraints or seclusion unless necessary to provide medical, surgical, or behavioral health care.
  • Receive efficient and quality care with high professional standards that are continually maintained and reviewed.
  • Expect good management techniques to be implemented within this care location considering effective use of your time and to avoid your personal discomfort.

Privacy and Confidentiality

You have the right to:

  • Limit who knows about your being in the care location.
  • Be interviewed, examined, and discuss your care in places designed to protect your privacy.
  • Be advised why certain people are present and to ask others to leave during sensitive talks or procedures.
  • Expect all communications and records related to care, including who is paying for your care, to be treated as confidential except as otherwise provided by law or third-party contractual arrangements.
  • Receive written notice that explains how your personal health information will be used and shared with other health care professionals involved in your care.
  • Review and request copies of your medical record unless restricted for medical or legal reasons.

Hospital Bills

You have the right to:

  • Review, obtain, request, and receive a detailed explanation of your care location charges and bills.
  • Receive information and counseling on ways to help pay for the care location bill.
  • Request information about any business or financial arrangements that may impact your care.

Please feel free to ask questions about any of these rights that you do not understand. If you have questions about these rights, please discuss them with your physician, advanced practice provider, or nurse, or the care location’s Customer Services and Collections department. You will receive a personal response.

Concerns, Complaints/Grievances, and Questions

You and your family/lay caregiver/healthcare representative have the right to:

  • Tell the staff providing your care about your concerns or complaints regarding the care you are receiving. This will not affect your future care.
  • Seek review of quality of care concerns, coverage decisions and concerns about your discharge.
  • It is our priority to resolve concerns in a timely fashion during your care encounter, but if you have unresolved concerns you may call the WellSpan Health Care Line at (877) 232-5807 to bring them to our attention.
    • WellSpan’s desires to provide an acknowledgement and apology as soon as possible after receipt of a concern, ideally within 24-48 hours for the best possible service recovery.
    • WellSpan will send a written response to grievances within 7 days (2 days for Behavioral Health Inpatients and Involuntary Outpatients) either acknowledging receipt of the grievance and explaining the grievance process or outlining the resolution of the grievance.
    • WellSpan expects to resolve grievances within 30 days, unless there is an extraordinary circumstance.
  • If your care was provided by a WellSpan hospital, the Pennsylvania Department of Health is also available to assist you with any questions or concerns about your care. You can reach the Department of Health by calling (800) 254-5164 or writing to:

Acute and Ambulatory Care Services
Pennsylvania Department of Health
Room 532, Health and Welfare Building
625 Forster St.
Harrisburg, PA 17120

  • If your care was provided by a WellSpan location that is accredited by The Joint Commission, you can contact them with concerns about your care by contacting:

Office of Quality and Patient Safety
The Joint Commission
One Renaissance Boulevard
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
(800) 994-6610 or 

  • WellSpan Health supports and celebrates the rights of all people. If you believe that WellSpan has failed to provide services to you – or discriminated in any way – including but not necessarily limited to the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, gender identity, language, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or source of payment, you can file a grievance in two different ways:

Directly to WellSpan Health by emailing or by calling (local) 717-812-4795 or (toll free) 877-604-4066;

By notifying the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights, electronically through the Office for Civil Rights Complaint Portal, available at, or by mail or phone at:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue
SW Room 509F, HHH Building
Washington, D.C. 20201
1-800-368-1019, 800-537-7697 (TDD)
Complaint forms are available at

  • Medicare beneficiaries may contact Livanta (the State Quality Improvement Organization) about concerns regarding the quality of care received, coverage decisions or an issue of premature discharge:

Livanta BFCC-QIO Program
(888) 396-4646
TTY: (888) 985-2660

WellSpan Administration Policy effective 12/9/2020

Statement of Patient Responsibilities

(En Español)

As a patient, family member, or healthcare representative, you have the right to know all care location rules and what we expect of you during your care location stay.

Provide Information

As a patient, family member, lay caregiver, or healthcare representative, we ask that you:

  • Provide accurate and complete information about current health care problems, past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications and other matters relating to your health.
  • Report any condition that puts you at risk (for example, allergies or hearing problems).
  • Report unexpected changes in your condition to the health care professionals taking care of you.
  • Provide copies of your Advance Directive, Living Will, Durable Power of Attorney for health care, and any organ/tissue donation permissions to the health care professionals taking care of you.
  • Tell us who, if anyone, you would like to visit or accompany you while in the care location.

Respect and Consideration

We trust that our patients, their families and visitors, share our commitment to treating all physicians, advanced practice providers, staff, and other persons in this care location with the dignity and respect that they deserve.

As a patient, family member, or healthcare representative, we expect that you:

  • Recognize and respect the rights of other patients, families and staff. Any threatening, violent or harassing behavior exhibited toward other patients, visitors and/or care location staff for any reason, including but not necessarily limited to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender identity, language, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or source of payment will be considered discriminatory and will not be tolerated.
  • Understand that the care location will attempt to accommodate a patient’s choice of care giver whenever possible, however, we cannot accommodate a patient’s choice of care giver, or refusal of treatment, based upon the care giver’s ethnic background, religion, national origin or other discriminating factors. The patient’s refusal to be treated, under these circumstances, may result in transfer of the patient’s care to another facility. Also, in the event of an emergency, patients may receive treatment by any qualified physician or health care professional, regardless of patient preference.


As a patient, family member, lay caregiver, or healthcare representative, we ask that you:

  • Promote your own safety by becoming an active, involved and informed member of your health care team.
  • Ask questions if you are concerned about your health or safety.
  • Make sure your provider knows the site/side of the body that will be operated on before a procedure.
  • Remind staff to check your identification before medications are given, blood/blood products are administered, blood samples are taken, or before any procedure.
  • Remind caregivers to wash their hands before taking care of you.
  • Be informed about which medications you are taking and why you are taking them.
  • Ask all care location staff members to identify themselves.
  • Comply with the care location’s no smoking policy.
  • Refrain from conducting any illegal activity on the care location’s property. If such activity occurs, the care location will report it to the police.

Refusing Care

As a patient:

  • You are responsible for your actions if you refuse care or do not follow care instructions.


As a patient:

  • You are responsible for paying for the health care that you received as promptly as possible.


As a patient:

  • You are expected to follow the care plans suggested by the health care professionals caring for you while in the care location. You should work with your health care professionals to develop a plan that you will be able to follow while in the care location and after you leave the care location.

WellSpan Administration Policy effective 12/9/2020