Patient Rights


  • Your Rights and Responsibilities

    As a guest at Memorial University Medical Center, you have rights and responsibilities to ensure you receive the best possible care. We believe that patients who understand and participate in their healthcare achieve better results. Our patient and family centered care representatives can assist you when an additional voice is necessary. They will ask questions on your behalf, address any concerns you may have, and make sure your rights are being respected. Making a complaint will not jeopardize access to current care and/or future care or services. To contact a patient and family centered care representative, call 912-350-8581.  

    You have specific privacy rights that are outlined in our Notice of Privacy Practices.

    And, you have specific rights when it comes to financial assistance and payment. These are outlined in our Financial Assistance Policy and Procedures.

    Your rights and responsibilities also apply to your designated representative, guardian, next-of-kin, or (if a minor) your parent.

    Your Rights

    Financial Assistance
    Courteous treatment
    Confidentiality
    Privacy
    Access to care
    Hospital charges
    Information about treatment
    Consultation
    Participation in decisions about your care
    Refusal of treatment
    Transfer and continuity of care
    Communication with your healthcare provider
    Access to protective services
    Ethical decisions
    Personal safety
    Business practices

    Your Responsibilities

    Respect others' privacy
    Make informed decisions
    Ask for clear explanations
    Hospital rules and regulations
    Additional responsibilities
    Additional reporting resources
    Contact information

    Patient Rights

    Financial Assistance

    Memorial University Medical Center (MUMC) charges all of our patients in a standardized and uniform manner. The types of charges are determined by the care provided, and the amount of each charge is determined by a cost-to-charge calculation. These charges do not represent the actual amount that we will be paid for the care provided.

    MUMC contracts with insurance companies and third-party payers, including Medicare and Medicaid, for specific payment amounts. These insurance rates are much lower than the charge amounts, so we discount those charges to meet the contracted payment terms.

    Memorial's mission is to serve our community. We recognize that not all patients have insurance or can afford insurance. For this reason, MUMC offers a comprehensive financial assistance program for patients who have no health insurance as well as for those without the ability to pay. We will actively work with patients to help them qualify for state or federal financial assistance programs, such as Medicaid. For patients with no ability to pay as well as for those who do not qualify for state or federal financial assistance, MUMC provides a discount on charges similar to the discounts provided to an insurance company. The discount is applied using a sliding-scale that takes into consideration family size and income. MUMC also offers interest-free payment plans and will work with patients to combine hospital bills.

    Our goal is to provide the best and most appropriate care in the most affordable manner. If you have questions, please review our policy or call our financial assistance department at 912-350-7828. Thank you.

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    Courteous Treatment

    We respect your right to:

    • Be treated with dignity and respect. The care provided will not be affected by your race, creed, sex, national origin, handicap, age, type of illness, or economic status.
    • Be addressed in a manner that is comfortable to you.
    • Know your doctor and ask all personnel involved in your care to introduce themselves, state their positions, and explain what they are going to do for you.

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    Confidentiality

    You are assured confidential treatment of your medical record by state and federal law. These statutes and regulations control the release of information contained in your medical record. As a patient, your medical record will not be released to persons outside of Memorial University Medical Center unless you consent in writing. You have the right to review your clinical record. Your nurse can arrange this. Your medical record can be released:

    • To the doctor who referred you to Memorial University Medical Center.
    • If allowed by a court order.
    • To medical personnel in a medical emergency.
    • As necessary to facilitate complaint investigations and inspections by state and federal regulatory agencies.
    • If required by a third-party payer.
    • If otherwise required by federal or state law.
    • To qualified personnel for research, audit, or program evaluation, as long as you cannot be identified.

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    Privacy

    The team at Memorial University Medical Center strives to respect the privacy of all patients. Case discussions, examinations, and treatment are confidential and should be conducted discreetly. In addition, you have a right to:

    • Close the curtain around your bed or close the door when you want privacy.
    • Be given respect and privacy during personal hygiene activities.
    • Request confidential status to protect your identity as a hospitalized patient.

    When the hospital restricts a patient's visitors, mail, telephone calls, or other forms of communication, the restrictions are evaluated for their therapeutic effectiveness. Any restrictions on communication are fully explained to the patient and family, and are determined with their participation.

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    Access to Care

    Individuals shall be accorded impartial access to quality medical care, or accommodations that are available or medically indicated, regardless of race, creed, sex, national origin, handicap, age, or economic status.

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    Hospital Charges

    Regardless of the source or payment for your care, you have a right to request and receive an itemized bill and detailed explanation of the total bill for services rendered in the hospital.

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    Information About Treatment

    Your staff will describe the proposed treatment to you. You may choose to include any family members or friends in this discussion. You have the right to full information in understandable terms concerning:

    • Your diagnosis.
    • Alternative treatments.
    • The probable outcome.
    • The benefits and risk of each alternative.

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    Consultation

    You have the right to consult with a specialist at your own request and expense.

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    Participation in Decisions About Your Care

    We respect your rights:

    • To informed consent; to agree to treatment based on a full explanation of your disease, the risk and benefits of the proposed treatment, and alternative treatments.
    • To refuse a diagnostic procedure or treatment to the extent permitted by law; a physician will inform you of the medical consequences of your refusal of any drugs, treatment, or procedure.
    • To refuse to participate in medical training programs and research projects.
    • To effective pain management.
    • To have benefit from resources/services which will address your psychosocial and spiritual needs during the entire course of your illness. Ask your care team for the appropriate referrals.
    • To have benefit from resources/services which will address the patient and family needs during a terminal illness and the dying process.
    • For the procuring and donation of organs and other tissues according to the policies and procedures developed with the medical staff's participation.
    • To be informed of any financial arrangements that may be relevant to clinical decisions regarding your care. A copy of Memorial University Medical Center's policy relating to this issue is available to you upon request.

    You may be treated without consent if there is an emergency and immediate action must be taken. The consent of a legal guardian or nearest relative will be required if you are under 18, unconscious, or too sick to give consent.

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    Refusal of Treatment

    You may refuse treatment to the extent permitted by law. When refusal of treatment by you or your legally authorized representative prevents the provision of appropriate care in accordance with professional standards, the relationship with the patient may be terminated upon reasonable notice.

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    Transfer and Continuity of Care

    A patient may not be transferred to another facility or organization unless the patient has received a complete explanation of the need for the transfer and the alternatives to such a transfer and unless the transfer is acceptable to the other facility or organization. You have the right to be informed by the practitioner responsible for your healthcare, or the physician's delegate, of any continuing healthcare requirements following discharge from the hospital.

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    Communication With Your Healthcare Provider

    When a patient does not speak or understand the predominant language of the community or is limited by impaired hearing, he or she should have access, where possible, to an interpreter. This is particularly true when language barriers are a continuing problem. You may arrange for an interpreter by talking with your care team or by contacting the patient and family centered care department at 912-350-8581.

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    Access to Protective Services

    Protective services determine the need for protective intervention, correct hazardous living conditions or situations in which vulnerable adults are unable to care for themselves, and investigate evidence of neglect, abuse, or exploitation. Such services for children help families recognize the cause of any problems and strengthen parental ability to provide acceptable care. Protective services can include guardianship and advocacy services, conservatorship, state survey and certification agency, state licensure office, the state ombudsman program, the protection and advocacy network, and the Medicaid fraud control unit. For more information, contact your social worker.

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    Ethical Decisions

    We understand that you and your family may be faced with making critical treatment choices while you are here. We respect your right to make an individual decision that is based on your personal beliefs and values as well as on the available medical information. To assist you with the decision-making process, we suggest you consider the following issues:

    • Do you have all of the information you need to make a decision about your care?
    • In case you are unable to speak for yourself, have you designated someone who will speak for you?
    • Have you expressed your wishes about prolonged treatment to your physician and your family?
    • What assistance is available if you disagree with your care providers?

    Memorial University Medical Center's Bioethics Services Committee assists patients, families, and staff in thinking through ethical questions regarding care. Various healthcare professionals, such as social workers, chaplains, nurses, and doctors are available to meet with you, your family, and caregivers to help you resolve any concerns.

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    Personal Safety

    You have the right to reasonable safety insofar as hospital practices and hospital environment are concerned.

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    Business Practice

    Memorial University Medical Center will protect the integrity of clinical decision making, regardless of how the hospital compensates or shares financial risks with its leaders, managers, clinical staff, and licensed independent practitioners. Toward this end, patients may request and be provided a copy of Memorial University Medical Center's Code of Business Practice.

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    Patient Responsibilities

    Respect Others' Privacy

    It is important to be considerate of other patients by allowing them privacy, limiting your visitors, and maintaining a quiet atmosphere. Telephones, televisions, radios, and lights should be used in a manner agreeable to others.

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    Make Informed Decisions

    Because you are responsible for the decisions you make about your care, we encourage you to gather as much information as you need to make your decisions. You may be asked to consent in writing to certain tests, procedures, or operations. Ask as many questions as you need to fully understand each document you are asked to sign. If you change your mind or refuse a treatment, discuss your reasons with your physician.

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    Ask for Clear Explanations

    If the explanation of your medical problem or treatment plan is not clear, ask for the information you need. You may also want to ask:

    • Why is this treatment recommended?
    • What alternatives are available?
    • Is the treatment new or experimental?
    • How long will the treatment take?
    • What risks or side effects are involved?
    • What are the credentials of the person providing treatment?

    Once you and your physician have agreed upon your treatment plan, it is important that you follow that prescribed plan. Partial treatment will not be beneficial.

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    Hospital Rules and Regulations
    • Smoking is not allowed on any Memorial University Medical Center properties, inside or outside.
    • Know your health insurance benefits and be responsible for the prompt fulfillment of financial obligations for your healthcare.
    • Notify staff of personal property and ask to have anything of value locked up until you are discharged.
    • Write your name on any equipment or clothing you bring to the hospital.
    • Ask your family members or visitors to respect visiting hours and the rights of other patients.

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    Additional Responsibilities

    As a partner in your healthcare, we encourage you to consider the responsibility to:

    • Be honest -- Provide an accurate and complete medical history. Tell those who are caring for you exactly how you feel about the things that are happening to you.
    • Understand -- Know about your health problems. If you do not understand your illness or your treatment, ask your healthcare team to explain it to you.
    • Follow the treatment plan -- Advise the staff treating you if you feel unable to follow a certain treatment plan. You are responsible for your actions if you refuse treatment or do not follow your treatment plan.
    • Report changes -- Tell you doctors about any changes in your health.
    • Know your medications -- Know or write down the names and purposes of the medications you have taken recently.
    • Know your staff -- Try to know the names and positions of everyone who cares for you (doctors, nurses, orderlies, students, etc.). Also, know the names and addresses of your previous healthcare providers.

    If you have any concerns about the safety or quality of care provided at Memorial University Medical Center (MUMC), you are encouraged to contact the appropriate manager, a representative from patient and family centered care at 350-8581, or corporate ethics and compliance at 350-8681. Concerns may also be reported anonymously to our Ethics Line at 1-800-555-8497.

    It is our desire for all patients to have an excellent experience at MUMC and it is our goal to resolve any issues you may have during your stay. However, if you have any issues that you believe were not adequately addressed, we want you to know how to report those to the appropriate agency. Please be aware that a patient's independent rights of privacy must be honored. Accordingly, communications regarding protected health information may be limited and/or restricted directly to the patient and/or to the patient's legally authorized or appointed representative such as the parent of a minor or a person holding the patient's advance directive or living will (durable power of attorney for healthcare).

    • If you have an unresolved patient grievance, you may report it directly to the Georgia Department of Human Resources Complaint Department Unit, 2 Peachtree Street, NW, Suite 32-415, Atlanta, GA, 30303. or call 1-800-878-6442.
    • If you have a concern about safety or the quality of care, you may contact the Joint Commission by calling the Office of Quality Monitoring at 1-800-994-6610 or by sending an email to complaint@jointcommission.org.
    • If you believe that your privacy rights or protection of your personal health information has been violated, you may report this directly to the Office of Civil Rights, Region IV, Department of Health & Human Services, 61 Forsyth Street, Atlanta Federal Center, Suite 3B70, Atlanta, GA 30303-8909, or call 1-800-368-1019.
    • If you are a Medicare beneficiary and you are concerned about any issues related to your care or billing, you may contact Georgia Medicare directly by calling 1-877-567-3095.

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    Additional Reporting Resources

    Team Members, Physicians, and Others Who Provide Patient Care

    Any Team Member, physician, or care provider who has concerns about the safety or quality of care provided at Memorial University Medical Center is encouraged to contact the appropriate manager, risk management at 350-8253, or corporate ethics & compliance at 350-8681. Concerns may also be reported through a MAXSYS Occurrence Report or anonymously to the Ethics Line at 1-800-555-8497. If the person reporting the issue has properly confirmed that the concerns have not been adequately addressed by management, the individual may contact the Joint Commission without fear of reprisal by calling the Office of Quality Monitoring at 1-800-994-6610 or by email at complaint@jointcommission.org.

    Patients, Family Members, and Representatives

    If you have any concerns about the safety or quality of care provided at Memorial University Medical Center (MUMC), you are encouraged to contact the appropriate manager, a patient and family centered care representative at 350-8581, or corporate ethics & compliance at 350-8681. Concerns may also be reported anonymously to the Ethics Line at 1-800-555-8497.

    It is our desire for all patients to have an excellent experience at MUMC and it is our goal to resolve any issues you may have during your stay. However, if you have any issues that you believe were not adequately addressed, we want you to know how to report those to the appropriate agency.

    If you have an unresolved patient grievance, you may report this directly to the Georgia Department of Human Resources Complaint Department Unit, 2 Peachtree Street, NW, Suite 32-415, Atlanta, GA 30303, or call 1-800-878-6442.

    If you have an unresolved concern about the safety or quality of care, you may report this to the Joint Commission Office of Quality Monitoring at 1-800-994-6610 or send an email to complaint@jointcommission.org.

    Medicare recipients may report concerns regarding care or billing to Georgia Medicare at 1-877-567-3095.

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    Contact Information

    Memorial University Medical Center
    Patient and Family Centered Care Department
    P.O. Box 23089
    Savannah, GA 31403-3089
    912-350-8581

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