Patient Rights and Responsibilities

Your rights and responsibilities as a patient of Cooley Dickinson

Patient Rights and Responsibilities

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Your Rights as a Patient

  • Access treatment or accommodations that are available or medically indicated, regardless of age, race, national origin, culture, ethnicity, religion, language, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, or payment source.
  • Emergency treatment to stabilize your condition if presenting to the hospital emergency department.
  • Receive considerate and respectful care.
  • Receive care in a safe setting.
  • Be free from unnecessary restraint or seclusion.
  • Have visitors and to receive phone calls and written communication.
  • Have a family member, your physician or a representative of your choice notified of your admission to the hospital.
  • Know the identity and professional status of individuals treating you and know who is primarily responsible for your care.
  • Know the relationship between your physician and the hospital.
  • Obtain information about your diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis.
  • Know your treatment options and to refuse treatment.
  • Accept or refuse to be examined, observed, or treated by students or any other Cooley Dickinson staff without jeopardizing access to psychiatric, psychological, or other medical care or attention.
  • Receive privacy during treatment within the capacity of the facility.
  • Refuse to participate in research.
  • Prompt and safe transfer to a facility that agrees to provide treatment if refused treatment for economic status or lack of a source of payment.
  • Receive information about advance directives and have the hospital comply with these directives.
  • Receive, if your health concern is breast cancer, information on all medically viable treatments.
  • Receive, as a maternity patient, complete information at the time of pre-admission on the Hospital’s annual rate of cesarean sections and related statistics.
  • Receive medically and factually accurate written information prepared by the Commissioner of Public Health about emergency contraception; to be promptly offered emergency contraception; to be provided with emergency contraception upon request.
  • Prompt and adequate response to all reasonable questions and requests within the capacity of the facility.
  • Obtain a copy of any additional rules or regulations which apply to patient conduct.
  • Maintain confidentiality of your medical records.
  • See or obtain copies of your medical records.
  • Receive an itemized bill for services you receive at the hospital.
  • Receive information of known financial resources including free health care for your care.

Your Responsibilities as a Patient

  • Be considerate of the rights of other patients and clinicians. Abusive or disrespectful behavior could result in your dismissal from the hospital or clinic.
  • Provide your healthcare team with a complete and accurate medical history including all medications you have been taking.
  • Provide advance directives in a valid format.
  • Keep appointments or reschedule in accordance with the hospital or office policy.
  • Be an active, involved, and informed member of your healthcare team. This includes:
    • Following the recommended treatment plan or tell your provider if you do not understand the plan or cannot follow it for any reason.
    • Asking questions until you understand treatments, procedures, and instructions.
    • Learning about possible risks of refusing a test or procedure.
    • Work with your provider to develop a pain-management plan, complying with provider orders regarding medication, and communicating concerns about pain management with your provider.
  • If you refuse treatment that prevents the provision of appropriate care in accordance with professional standards you are responsible for your actions. Additionally, our relationship with you may be terminated upon reasonable notice.
  • Assure that your financial obligations for care received are fulfilled promptly.
  • Communicate your comments, complaints, suggestions, and compliments to a staff member.
  • Observe the no smoking rules of this hospital and clinics.
  • Cooley Dickinson is not responsible for personal property brought on campus. This includes but is not limited to cash, cell phones, jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids, dentures, canes, wheelchairs, prostheses.

Patient Family Visitor Code of Conduct Policy

Please review the following systemwide policy regarding expectations for patients, family and visitors:


Concerns, Complaints, Grievances

  • Speak to your physician or nurse.
  • Speak to the department supervisor, team leader, nurse manager.
  • If your concerns cannot be resolved, contact Cooley Dickinson Patient and Family Relations at 413-582-4970 or via email at PatientRelations@cooleydickinson.org.
  • You also have the right to file a grievance or complaint with the following organizations:

Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Division of Health Care Quality
99 Chauncy Street, 2nd Floor
Boston, MA 02111

Massachusetts Board of Registration of Medicine
200 Harvard Mill Sq., Suite 330
Wakefield, MA 01880

Joint Commission, Office of Quality Monitoring
1 Renaissance Boulevard
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181

Non-Discrimination Policy

Cooley Dickinson Health Care (Cooley Dickinson) complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, citizenship, alienage, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, or disability. Cooley Dickinson does not exclude people or treat them differently because of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Cooley Dickinson provides free aids and services to people with disabilities to communicate effectively with us, such as:

  • Qualified sign language interpreters
  • Written information in other formats (large print, audio, accessible electronic formats, other formats)

Cooley Dickinson provides free language services to people whose primary language is not English, such as:

  • Qualified interpreters;
  • Access to more than 170 languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Khmer, Arabic, Polish, and Russian, among others; and
  • Information written in other languages.

If you need these services, email our Medical Interpreter Services Manager, or call 413-582-2203.

If you believe that Cooley Dickinson has failed to provide these services or discriminated in another way on the basis of race, color, national origin, citizenship, alienage, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, or disability, race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, you can file a grievance with:

Civil Rights Officer
Cooley Dickinson Health Care
30 Locust St.
Northampton, MA, 01061-5001
Phone: 413-582-2128
Fax: 413-582-2951

You can file a grievance in person or by mail, fax, or email. If you need help filing a grievance, the Civil Rights Officer is available to help.

You can also file a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights electronically through the Office for Civil Rights Complaint Portal or by mail or phone at:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Room 509F, HHH Building
Washington, DC 20201
1-800-368-1019 or 800-537-7697 (TDD)

Download a complaint form at the Office for Civil Rights website.

Your Rights and Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills

When you get emergency care or get treated by an out-of-network provider at an in-network hospital or ambulatory surgical center, you are protected from surprise billing or balance billing.

When you see a doctor or other health care provider, you may owe certain out-of-pocket costs, such as a copayment, coinsurance, and/or a deductible. You may have other costs or have to pay the entire bill if you see a provider or visit a health care facility that isn’t in your health plan’s network.

Effective 1/1/22

Read more about Your Rights and Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills


Notice for Use and Sharing of Protected Health Information

Click one of the links below to access our Notice for Use and Sharing of Protected Health Information as a member organization of Mass General Brigham. This notice describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed, and how you can get access to this information.

The federal Office of Civil Rights implemented the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to promote privacy and trust between patients and their health care providers. As part of these rules, all new patients seeing their health care provider upon their initial visit are required to sign an acknowledgement form to indicate that they have received the Privacy Notice. The Privacy Notice describes how the hospital/provider uses and shares your personal health information.

Statement About Doctors’ Relationships with Outside Companies (Industry)

Many Mass General Brigham doctors work closely with companies (industry) that make drugs, medical equipment or provide other products and services. When our doctors work with these companies, it results in the development of new and better ways to diagnose and treat illness, and benefits the health of the public.

Sometimes the companies pay Mass General Brigham or Mass General Brigham doctors for services, such as consulting or giving educational talks. Doctors may also own stock in these companies. We review all of these relationships to make sure our policy is followed so that your care is not affected in any way.

Information about these relationships is available at this website sponsored by the federal government. To learn more about the Partners policy and how Partners handles doctors’ relationships with outside companies, visit Mass General Brigham’s Office for Interactions with the Industry website.

If you have questions about these relationships, please ask your doctor or contact the Office for Interactions with Industry at phsoii@partners.org.