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Patient rights and responsibilities

Patient rights

Access - You have the right to:

  • Receive medically necessary treatment and the appropriate level of care regardless of age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, color, national origin, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or source of payment for care.
  • Other facility services for your needs, such as social services (including protective services), spiritual health services and financial counseling.
  • View your medical and billing records within a reasonable time frame as permitted by law and access, and request amendment to and obtain information on the disclosures of your medical records according to law and regulations.
  • Accept or refuse medical care and be informed of the possible consequences of any such decision.
  • Have a family member or representative of your choice and your own physician promptly notified of your admission to the hospital.
  • Receive interpreting services and auxiliary aids and services at no cost to you.

Respect - We will:

  • Listen to you and treat you with respect.
  • Respect your cultural and personal values, beliefs and preferences.
  • Talk with you and answer questions that you have about your plan of care.
  • Respect your right to confidentiality and the privacy of your medical records.
  • Tell you who we are, why we have entered your room and our role as a part of your care team.
  • Tell you why you are here and how we will be able to help you feel better.
  • Provide you with the highest level of privacy and dignity that we can.

Safety - We will:

  • Care for you in a safe and clean environment.
  • Protect you from all forms of abuse, neglect or harassment.
  • Provide care that is free from restraint or seclusion, except when restraint is needed to protect your safety or the safety of our staff.

Involvement in your care - You have the right to:

  • Receive communication in a way that is easy for you to understand.
  • Be involved in treatment decisions, your care and discharge plans, make informed decisions and be informed of unanticipated outcomes.
  • Have any concerns regarding care or treatment reviewed and addressed.
  • Have your pain managed.
  • Make end-of-life decisions and request that staff document and follow those requests.
  • Designate someone to speak on your behalf if you are unable to make decisions about your care.
  • Refuse to participate in research or experimental treatments and clinical trials.

Your visitors - You have the right to:

  • Have visitors of your choice, including a spouse, domestic partner, same-sex domestic partner, family member or friend.
  • Withdraw your consent to be visited by any visitor at any time.

All Patients and Visitors have a right to an environment free from threat of violence.
The following behaviors are not tolerated:

  • Foul, threatening, or inappropriate language.
  • Violent behaviors (physical and/or verbal) toward a family member, a patient, or staff.
  • Bringing a weapon into any UH facility.

To voice concerns

If you feel that we have not honored your rights as a patient, please notify your doctor or nurse so we can work together to resolve your concerns.

You may also contact Guest Services:
University Health Truman Medical Center: 816.404.3325
University Health Lakewood Medical Center: 816.404.7840
University Health Behavioral Health: 816.404.3326

You can file a grievance in person, by mail, email or fax.

2301 Holmes Street
Kansas City, MO 64108
816.404.3601 (fax)

You also have the option of contacting an outside organization with your concerns:

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
Health Standards and Licensure Section
P.O. Box 570
Jefferson City, MO 65102
573.751.6303 | 800.392.0210

Missouri Department of Mental Health
P.O. Box 687
Jefferson City, MO 65102

The Joint Commission

At, using the “Report a Safety Concern” link.

By mail to the:
Office of Quality and Patient Safety (OQPS)
The Joint Commission
1 Renaissance Boulevard
Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, 60181

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.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Ave., SW
Room 509F, HHH Building
Washington, D.C. 20201
800.368.1019 | 800.537.7697 (TTY/TDD)

Complaint forms are available at

Patient and visitor responsibilities

So that we can provide you with patient-centered, quality care and services, we ask that you always:

  • Keep the hospital a quiet and restful place.
  • Respect the rights, privacy and property of other patients and staff. Follow UH's rules and regulations, including the tobacco, alcohol-free and drug-free policy.
  • Refrain from foul, threatening or inappropriate language.
  • Refrain from hitting or threatening a family member, a patient or staff.
  • Refrain from bringing a weapon into the facility.
  • Ask questions of your healthcare team when you don't understand something.
  • Adhere to the care plan that your medical team has developed for you.
  • Be on time for your medical appointments or call in advance to reschedule.
  • Provide a copy of your advance directive at every visit.
  • Fulfill your financial obligations for your healthcare as promptly as possible.
  • Provide accurate and complete information in order for UH to receive payment for services.

HIPAA privacy program

University Health is committed to ensuring the privacy and security of our patients' health information. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) strengthens that commitment.

University Health provides you with the right:

  • To receive a Notice of Privacy Practices.
  • To obtain and inspect a copy of your health information.
  • To request that University Health amend health information for your records.
  • To receive an accounting of certain disclosures we have made of your health information.
  • To request that we restrict the use and disclosure of your health information.
  • To request how and where we may contact you about medical matters.
  • To receive a written notice of how we may use your health information.

HIPAA requires healthcare providers like University Health to follow certain rules to protect the privacy of patients' health information. For example, University Health employees are not allowed to access information on patients unless they need that information to perform their jobs. Our employees have been trained extensively on how to protect your information, whether that information is spoken, on paper or kept in a computer.

If you have a privacy concern, please call Barb Zubeck, director of Compliance and Audit Services, at 816.404.3485.

Making your healthcare decisions

Under federal and Missouri law, you have the right to accept or refuse medical care. You also have the right to decide in advance what medical treatments and procedures are provided to you.

An advance directive allows you to share your wishes about your future care with your doctor, caregivers, family and friends. Should you become seriously ill and unable to make medical decisions for yourself, your physician and family would use your advance directive to guide your medical treatment.

It is best to put your wishes in writing for your doctor and to discuss them with your family, clergy and loved ones. Here are three ways you can tell others of your wishes for future healthcare treatment:

  • Durable power of attorney for healthcare decisions – allows you to appoint another person (agent) to carry out your wishes about your healthcare treatment or to make decisions if you cannot make them for yourself.
  • Healthcare directive – covers your wishes to continue or stop treatment and any life-prolonging procedures, as well as any comfort measures and includes all medical conditions, not just "terminal illness."
  • Living will – is a statement of your wishes to be used only if you have a terminal illness. This allows you to stop treatment intended to prolong the dying process, but will not allow stopping of food or water.

Advance directives go into effect only in specific circumstances set out in the advance directive. It is a good idea to review your advance directive regularly and make any needed changes. Be sure to give copies to your doctor or nurse. During your inpatient stay in the hospital and when properly notified, it is the policy of University Health to honor your instructions as stated in your advance directive.

In the outpatient setting, problems that would negatively affect your healthcare are not expected. If a negative, unexpected event takes place during your outpatient visit and resuscitative measures are necessary, your advance directive will not be honored. If you have questions or concerns about this policy, please let your healthcare provider know and a discussion with your healthcare team will be scheduled.

It is not difficult to prepare a written advance directive. For more information, ask your doctor or nurse to contact a hospital social worker or call:

Social Work Services: 816.404.3200.
The Center for Practical Bioethics: 816.221.1100.

Ethics committee

There may be times when you or your family face difficult treatment choices. Our Ethics Committee is available as a resource. The committee can assist physicians, healthcare providers, patients and their families as they confront difficult decisions. The Ethics Committee can be consulted when caregivers, patients or families feel the need for help with ethical issues. Requests for assistance can be made through your physician or other members of the healthcare team.