In New York State, all patients are guaranteed rights and protections that ensure the quality and safety of their healthcare. For a comprehensive list of all patients’ rights, please visit the New York State website.
As a patient in a hospital in New York State, you have the right, consistent with law, to:
- Understand and use these rights. If for any reason you do not understand or you need help, the hospital MUST provide assistance, including an interpreter.
- Receive treatment without discrimination as to race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, age or source of payment.
- Receive considerate and respectful care in a clean and safe environment free of unnecessary restraints.
- Receive emergency care if you need it.
- Be informed of the name and position of the doctor who will be in charge of your care in the hospital.
- Know the names, positions and functions of any hospital staff involved in your care and refuse their treatment, examination or observation.
- Identify a caregiver who will be included in your discharge planning and sharing of post-discharge care information or instruction.
- Receive complete information about your diagnosis, treatment and prognosis.
- Receive all the information that you need to give informed consent for any proposed procedure or treatment. This information shall include the possible risks and benefits of the procedure or treatment.
- Receive all the information you need to give informed consent for an order not to resuscitate. You also have the right to designate an individual to give this consent for you if you are too ill to do so. If you would like additional information, please ask for a copy of the pamphlet “Deciding About Health Care – A Guide for Patients and Families.”
- Refuse treatment and be told what effect this may have on your health.
- Refuse to take part in research. In deciding whether or not to participate, you have the right to a full explanation.
- Privacy while in the hospital and confidentiality of all information and records regarding your care.
- Participate in all decisions about your treatment and discharge from the hospital. The hospital must provide you with a written discharge plan and written description of how you can appeal your discharge.
- Review your medical record without charge and, obtain a copy of your medical record for which the hospital can charge a reasonable fee. You cannot be denied a copy solely because you cannot afford to pay.
- Receive an itemized bill and explanation of all charges.
- View a list of the hospital’s standard charges for items and services and the health plans the hospital participates with.
- Challenge an unexpected bill through the Independent Dispute Resolution process.
- Complain without fear of reprisals about the care and services you are receiving and to have the hospital respond to you and if you request it, a written response. If you are not satisfied with the hospital’s response, you can complain to the New York State Health Department. The hospital must provide you with the State Health Department telephone number.
- Authorize those family members and other adults who will be given priority to visit consistent with your ability to receive visitors.
- Make known your wishes in regard to anatomical gifts. Persons sixteen years of age or older may document their consent to donate their organs, eyes and/or tissues, upon their death, by enrolling in the NYS Donate Life Registry or by documenting their authorization for organ and/or tissue donation in writing in a number of ways (such as a health care proxy, will, donor card, or other signed paper). The health care proxy is available from the hospital.
As a parent, legal guardian or person with decision-making authority for a pediatric patient receiving care in this hospital, you have the right, consistent with the law, to the following:
1. To inform the hospital of the name of your child’s primary care provider, if known, and have this information documented in your child’s medical record.
2. To be assured our hospital will only admit pediatric patients to the extent consistent with our hospital’s ability to provide qualified staff, space and size appropriate equipment necessary for the unique needs of pediatric patients.
3. To allow at least one parent or guardian to remain with your child at all times, to the extent possible given your child’s health and safety needs.
4. That all test results completed during your child’s admission or emergency room visit be reviewed by a physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner who is familiar with your child’s presenting condition.
5. For your child not to be discharged from our hospital or emergency room until any tests that could reasonably be expected to yield critical value results are reviewed by a physician, physician assistant, and/or nurse practitioner and communicated to you or other decision makers, and your child, if appropriate. Critical value results are results that suggest a life-threatening or otherwise significant condition that requires immediate medical attention.
6. For your child not to be discharged from our hospital or emergency room until you or your child, if appropriate, receives a written discharge plan, which will also be verbally communicated to you and your child or other medical decision makers. The written discharge plan will specifically identify any critical results of laboratory or other diagnostic tests ordered during your child’s stay and will identify any other tests that have not yet been concluded.
7. To be provided critical value results and the discharge plan for your child in a manner that reasonably ensures that you, your child (if appropriate), or other medical decision
makers understand the health information provided in order to make appropriate health decisions.
8. For your child’s primary care provider, if known, to be provided all laboratory results of this hospitalization or emergency room visit.
9. To request information about the diagnosis or possible diagnoses that were considered during this episode of care and complications that could develop as well as information about any contact that was made with your child’s primary care provider.
10. To be provided, upon discharge of your child from the hospital or emergency department, with a phone number that you can call for advice in the event that complications or questions arise concerning your child’s condition.
Choosing how to feed her new baby is one of the important decisions a mother can make in preparing for her infant’s arrival. Doctors agree that for most women, breastfeeding is the safest and healthiest choice. It is your right to be informed about the benefits of breastfeeding, and to have your health care provider, maternal health care facility, and child day care facility encourage and support breastfeeding. You have the right to make your own choice about breastfeeding. Whether you choose to breastfeed or not, you have the rights listed below, regardless of your race, creed, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or source of payment for your health care.
Maternal health care facilities have a responsibility to ensure that you understand these rights. They must provide this information clearly for you, and must provide an interpreter, if necessary. These rights may be limited only in cases where your health or the health of your baby requires it.
If any of the following things are not medically right for you or your baby, you should be fully informed of the facts and be consulted.
(1) Before You Deliver:
If you attend prenatal childbirth education classes (those provided by the maternal health care facility and by all hospital clinics and diagnostic and treatment centers providing prenatal services in accordance with Article 28 of the Public Health Law), then you must receive the Breastfeeding Mothers’ Bill of Rights. Each maternal health care facility shall provide the maternity information leaflet, including the Breastfeeding Mothers’ Bill of Rights, to each patient or to the appointed personal representative at the time of prebooking or time of admission to a maternal health care facility.
You have the right to receive complete information about the benefits of breastfeeding for yourself and your baby. This will help you make an informed choice on how to feed your baby.
You have the right to receive information that is free of commercial interests and includes:
- How breastfeeding benefits you and your baby nutritionally, medically and emotionally;
- How to prepare yourself for breastfeeding;
- How to understand some of the problems you may face and how to solve them.
(2) In The Maternal Health Care Facility:
- You have the right to have your baby stay with you right after birth, whether you deliver vaginally or by cesarean section.
- You have the right to begin breastfeeding within one hour after birth.
- You have the right to get help from someone who is trained in breastfeeding.
- You have the right to have your baby not receive any bottle feeding or pacifiers.
- You have the right to know about and refuse any drugs that may dry up your milk.
- You have the right to have your baby in your room with you 24 hours a day.
- You have the right to breastfeed your baby at any time day or night.
- You have the right to know if your doctor or your baby’s pediatrician is advising against breastfeeding before any feeding decisions are made.
- You have the right to have a sign on your baby’s crib clearly stating that your baby is breastfeeding and that no bottle feeding of any type is to be offered.
- You have the right to receive full information about how you are doing with breastfeeding, and to get help on how to improve.
- You have the right to breastfeed your baby in the neonatal intensive care unit. If nursing is not possible, every attempt will be made to have your baby receive your pumped or expressed milk.
- If you – or your baby – are re-hospitalized in a maternal health care facility after the initial delivery stay, the hospital will make every effort to continue to support breastfeeding, and to provide hospital-grade electric pumps and rooming-in facilities.
- You have the right to get help from someone specially trained in breastfeeding support, if your baby has special needs.
- You have the right to have a family member or friend receive breastfeeding information from a staff member, if you request it.
(3) When You Leave The Maternal Health Care Facility:
- You have the right to printed breastfeeding information free of commercial material.
- You have the right, unless specially requested by you, and available at the facility, to be discharged from the facility without discharge packs containing infant formula, or formula coupons unless ordered by your baby’s health care provider.
- You have the right to get information about breastfeeding resources in your community, including information on availability of breastfeeding consultants, support groups, and breast pumps.
- You have the right to have the facility give you information to help you choose a medical provider for your baby, and to help you understand the importance of a follow-up appointment.
- You have the right to receive information about safely collecting and storing your breast milk.
- You have the right to breastfeed your baby in any location, public or private, where you are otherwise authorized to be. Complaints can be directed to the New York State Division of Human Rights.
- You have a right to breastfeed your baby at your place of employment or child day care center in an environment that does not discourage breastfeeding or the provision of breast milk.
- Under section 206-c of the Labor Law, for up to three years following childbirth, you have the right to take reasonable unpaid break time or to use paid break time or meal time each day, so that you can express breast milk at work. Your employer must make reasonable efforts to provide a room or another location, in close proximity to your work area, where you can express breast milk in private. Your employer may not discriminate against you based on your decision to express breast milk at work. Complaints can be directed to the New York State Department of Labor.
These are your rights. If the maternal health care facility does not honor these rights, you can seek help by contacting the New York State Department of Health, or by contacting the hospital complaint hotline at 1-800-804-5447; or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.