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Patient’s Rights

You may also view this page in Spanish.

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, age, disability, or sex. 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, contact Emma Aldana, Medical Interpreter Services Coordinator, at 413-582-2203. Or send an email.

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, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, you can file a grievance with Lori Kerwood, Civil Rights Coordinator, Cooley Dickinson Health Care, 30 Locust St., PO Box 5001, Northampton, Mass., 01061-5001; Phone: 413-582-2250; Fax: 413-582-2951. Or send an email.  You can file a grievance in person or by mail, fax, or email. If you need help filing a grievance, Lori Kerwood, Civil Rights Coordinator, 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, 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, DC 20201, 1-800-868-1019 or 800-537-7697 (TDD).

Complaint forms are available here:

Our organization is committed to:
  • Providing considerate care that safeguards the personal dignity of our patients and respects their cultural, psychosocial and spiritual values; and
  • Respecting and protecting the rights of our patients, as established by state and federal law and by professional standards without regard to age, color, national origin, citizenship status, physical or mental disability, race, religion, creed, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, marital status, educational background, economic status or source of payment, or status as a disabled veteran.
You have the right to:
  • A written copy of these rights when you are admitted to Cooley Dickinson Hospital
  • Freedom of choice in selection of a facility, physician or health service mode, except in emergencies, or as otherwise provided by contract or law, as long as the facility, physician or health service mode is able to accommodate you
  • Obtain, upon request, the name and specialty, if any, of the physician or other person responsible for your care or the coordination of your care
  • Confidentiality of all records and communications to the extent provided by law (see the Cooley Dickinson Health Care Corporation Notice of Privacy Practices)
  • Have all reasonable requests responded to promptly and adequately within the capacity of the facility
  • Obtain, upon request, an explanation of the relationship, if any, of our facility or your physician to any other health care facility or educational institution, including the physician’s ownership or financial interest, if any, in the facility or other health care facilities, to the extent that the relationship relates to your care or treatment
  • A copy of any rules or regulations of our facility that apply to your conduct as a patient
  • Receive, upon request, information about financial assistance and free health care
  • Inspect, upon request, your medical record and receive a copy of your medical record for a copying fee consistent with law or regulation. (No fee will be charged to you or your representative if you are an applicant or beneficiary under any provision of the Social Security Act or a federal or state financial needs-based benefit program and you provide reasonable documentation at the time of your request that the purpose of your request is to support a claim or appeal under any provision of those programs; the record will be provided within 30 days).
  • Refuse to be examined, observed, or treated by students or any other facility staff without jeopardizing access to psychiatric, psychological or other medical care and attention
  • Refuse to serve as a research subject and to refuse any care or examination when the primary purpose is educational or informational rather than therapeutic
  • Receive information, if asked to be a research subject, about the expected benefits, if any, of the proposed experimental treatment or procedure, the potential risks and discomforts, and alternative services that might prove advantageous to you
  • Privacy during medical treatment or other care within the capacity of our facility
  • A medical screening examination, necessary stabilizing treatment and, if necessary, appropriate transfer to another facility if you have a medical emergency or are in labor, even if you cannot pay, do not have medical insurance or are not entitled to Medicare or Medicaid
  • Prompt life-saving treatment in an emergency, whether or not you are already a patient of our facility, without discrimination on account of economic status or source of payment and without delaying treatment to discuss payment issues unless such delay will not impose material risk to your health
  • Be involved in all aspects of your care and, if you wish, to have your family participate in your care and decisions
  • Receive from your doctor understandable information that you need to make informed decisions about your medical care, including at least:
    • A description of the recommended treatment or procedure and medically viable alternatives, if any, and
    • The risks, benefits and likely outcomes of the proposed treatment and alternatives (including no treatment at all)
  • Voluntarily consent to, or refuse, treatment, including life-sustaining treatment, to the extent provided by law
  • Make an advance directive to direct your caregivers in the event that you become unable to make or communicate your health care decisions
  • Be informed about the outcomes of your care, including unanticipated outcomes
  • Appropriate assessment and management of pain
  • Receive (and have your physician receive), upon request, an itemized bill or statement reflecting all charges, payments and third-party reimbursements, and an explanation of the bill, regardless of the source of payment
  • See on an identification badge the first name, licensure status, if any, and staff position of all persons, including students, who examine, observe or treat you
  • Access protective services
  • Receive from your physician, if you have breast cancer, complete information on all alternative treatments which are medically viable; and
  • Receive from your physician, if you are planning to have an operation to insert a breast implant, information concerning the disadvantages and risks associated with breast implantation.
    • This information must be given at least 10 days before the breast implant operation, except in an emergency.
    • This information shall include, but not be limited to, the standardized written summary provided by the Department of Public Health.
    • You will be asked to sign a statement provided by the Department of Public Health, acknowledging that you received the standardized written summary.
If you are a maternity patient, you have a right, at the time of pre-admission, to receive complete information from Cooley Dickinson Hospital concerning our institutions:
  • Annual rates of primary cesarean sections, repeat cesarean sections and total cesarean sections
  • Annual percentage of women who have had successful vaginal deliveries after having a cesarean section
  • Annual percentage of deliveries in birthing rooms and labor-delivery-recovery or labor-delivery-recovery-postpartum rooms
  • Annual percentage of deliveries by certified nurse midwives
  • Annual percentage of deliveries that were continuously externally monitored only
  • Annual percentage of deliveries that were continuously internally monitored only
  • Annual percentage of deliveries that were monitored both internally and externally
  • Annual percentage of deliveries utilizing intravenous inductions, augmentation, forceps, episiotomies, anesthesia (spinal, epidural, general); and
  • Annual percentage of women breast-feeding upon discharge from our hospital.

Female patients who are victims of sexual assault of childbearing age have the right to receive information and administration of emergency contraception regardless of whether they report the alleged rape to the police.

All patients have the right to refuse the removal of their clothing unless there is compelling clinical evidence that they could harm themselves or others.

Cooley Dickinson Hospital welcomes information regarding any concerns about patient care and safety within our organization. You may communicate these concerns to any manager, nursing supervisor on duty; the Quality Manager at 413-582-4970; or the Risk Management Department at 413-582-2827. Resolution of concerns is a top priority for the Cooley Dickinson Hospital management.

If concerns cannot be resolved through the hospital you may contact any of the below authorities to report any concerns or to register complaints:

Department of Public Health
Division of Health Care Quality
99 Chauncy St., 2nd floor
Boston, MA 02111



Board of Registration in Medicine
200 Harvard Mills Square Suite 330
Wakefield, MA 01880



The Joint Commission
Office of Quality Monitoring



Patients of Cooley Dickinson Health Care Corporation have responsibilities as well. We bring these responsibilities to your attention in a spirit of cooperation between you and our organization.

As a patient, you have the responsibility to:
  • Provide, to the best of your knowledge, accurate and complete information about your present illness and symptoms, medications, hospitalizations, surgeries, past illnesses, and other matters relating to your health
  • Listen to explanations and ask questions to fully understand proposed treatment so that you can make informed decisions about your care
  • Follow your treatment plan, or tell your doctor or nurse if you do not understand the plan or cannot follow it for any reason
  • Understand that you are responsible for your actions if you refuse treatment
  • Respect the privacy of other patients and their need for a quiet atmosphere
  • Respect the property of other persons and our organization
  • Observe the “NO SMOKING” rules of our organization; and
  • Be prompt with payment or make appropriate arrangements for payment.
Notice of Privacy Practices

Click on the link below to access Cooley Dickinson’s Notice of Privacy Practices. This notice describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed, and how you can get access to this information.

Partners HealthCare Notice of Privacy Practices (English)

Partners HealthCare Notice of Privacy Practices (Spanish)

Partners HealthCare Notice of Privacy Practices (Portuguese)

Partners HealthCare Notice of Privacy Practices (Indonesian)

Partners HealthCare Notice of Privacy Practices (Vietnamese)