Patient Rights & Responsibilities

At Western Maryland Health System, we want to encourage you to promote your own safety by being well informed and involved in your care. Because we want you to think of yourself as a partner in your care, we want you to know your rights, as well as your responsibilities during your stay. We invite you and your family to join us as active members of your care team.

Questions? Call 240-964-2196

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Right and Responsibilities

While you are here, you will receive more detailed notices about some of the rights you have as our hospital patient and how to exercise them. We are always interested in improving. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact our Patient and Safety Officer at 240-964-2196. To download a copy of the Western Maryland Health System Patient Rights and Responsibilities, click here.

Safe and Quality Care

You have the right to receive considerate, dignified, respectful and compassionate care regardless of your age, gender identity or expression, sex, sexual orientation, race, national origin, religion, culture, language, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, physical or mental disabilities.

You have the right to have someone remain with you for emotional support during your hospital stay, unless your visitor’s presence compromises your or others’ rights, safety or health. You have the right to refuse visitation at any time.

Visiting Guidelines

Visitors are welcome to see you 24 hours a day at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center. Due to the nature of care provided, there are defined visiting hours for the Behavioral Health Unit and the Special Care Nursery.

While visitors will no longer be asked to leave at 8:30 p.m., the main entrances to the hospital will be secured at this time. Anyone coming to the hospital between 8:30 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. should enter through the Emergency Department in order to receive a hospital-issued visitor’s badge from the WMHS Safety and Security staff.

The number of visitors is dependent on your needs and comfort.The
number of visitors may be restricted based on your needs at the
discretion of the nursing staff.

  • In the Perinatal Unit, only 4 visitors at a time are permitted.
  • Children under the age of 12 are welcome to visit, but must be accompanied by an adult, other than you, at all times and also be a sibling of the new baby.
  • Visitors with cold symptoms or gastrointestinal flu symptoms are encouraged not to visit.
  • Visitors should wash their hands before and after their visit.
  • Visitors may be asked to step out of the room for brief periods so that the staff can provide you with care.
  • WMHS may also restrict visitors for reasons such as, but not limited to legal restrictions (ex. restraining order or if you’re in legal custody) and behavior that is disruptive to the therapeutic environment.
  • ED visitation recommends two visitors per patient based on your condition.
    You have the right to have your pain assessed and to be involved in decisions about treating your pain.
  • You and your family have a right to have the WMHS honor psychosocial, spiritual, and cultural considerations that may influence the perception of illness.
  • If you feel your condition is becoming worse, ask your nurse to contact the Medical Evaluation Team. If you feel you are in immediate danger of a medical emergency dial “0” on any hospital phone and ask the operator to get the Medical Evaluation Team. The Medical Evaluation Team will arrive within a few minutes to assess your condition.
  • You have the right to voice complaints, grievances, or general concern about the care you or your loved one receives. Please know, providing this type of feedback will not negatively affect future care or treatment.

Western Maryland Health System actively gathers and values the feedback that you and the community give us. We evaluate all feedback provided and make improvements to address your concerns as appropriate.

Feedback Procedure

  • We recommend you discuss your concern directly with the staff member caring for you.
  • If you prefer to speak with an alternate member of our healthcare team, we then recommend that you reach out to speak with the unit or department supervisor.
  • If the unit or department supervisor is unavailable, or you prefer to speak with an alternate member of our healthcare team, you may connect with any of these additional WMHS resources:

Contact

Department of Patient Experience and Culture
Phone: 240-964-5673

Patient Safety Department
Phone: 240-964-8197

Corporate Compliance Hotline
Phone: 1-866-463-2246 (toll-free)

House Supervisor (on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
Phone: 240-964-7000

  • Feedback may be provided in writing, by phone, or in person.
  • WMHS will attempt to resolve all feedback as soon as possible.
  • Feedback will be acknowledged within 7 days.
  • If resolution will not occur within 7 days, a letter will be sent updating you on progress.
  • To notify WMHS in writing or if you are not satisfied with the feedback resolution, you may contact:

Patient Safety Department
Western Maryland Regional Medical Center
12500 Willowbrook Road, P.O. Box 539
Cumberland, MD 21501-0539
Phone: 240-964-8197

You may contact resources such as the relevant state authority or accreditation agency prior to notifying WMHS of your concern.

Maryland Department of Health and & Hygiene
Office of Health Care Quality Spring Group Hospital Center
Bland Bryant Building
55 Wade Avenue Catonsville, MD 21228
Phone: 877-402-8218

The Joint Commission
Office of Quality Monitoring
One Renaissance Boulevard
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
Phone: 800-994-6610

Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries may also contact:

KEPRO Quality Improvement Organization
Phone: 844-455-8708
TTY Number Info:
National: 800-855-2880
MD: 855-843-4776

Information, Communication & Decision Making

  • You and your representative have the right to communication that you can understand.
    • The hospital will provide sign language and foreign language interpreters, as needed, at no cost. Information given will be appropriate to your age, understanding, and language. If you have vision, speech, hearing, and/or other impairments, you have the right to receive additional aids to ensure your care needs are met.
  • You have the right to be told the names of your doctors, nurses, and all other healthcare team
    members directing and/or providing your care.
  • You have the right to have a family member or person of your choice and your own doctor notified promptly of your admission to the hospital.
  • You have the right to be informed of hospital policies and practices that relate to your care, treatment, rights and responsibilities.
  • You and your representative, with your permission, have the right to participate in decisions about your plan of care, your treatment, and services provided, including the right to accept, request or refuse treatment to the extent permitted by law and hospital policy
    • In case of such refusal, you and/or representative is entitled to be informed of the medical consequences of this action, other appropriate care and services that the hospital provides, or to be transferred to another hospital for care.
  • You and your representative have the right to be told by your doctor about your diagnosis and possible prognosis, the benefits and risks of treatment, and the expected outcome of treatment, including unexpected outcomes.
  • You have the right to give written informed consent before any non-emergency procedure begins.
  • You and your representative have the right to be involved in your discharge plan. You can expect to be told in a timely manner of your discharge, room change, transfer to another facility, or transfer to another level of care. Before your discharge, you can expect to receive information about follow-up care that you may need. You can request a discharge evaluation by contacting Care Coordination or your nurse.
  • You have the right to expect the hospital to refer and transfer you to another hospital when WMHS does not have the capability to provide necessary health care services or when you have so requested. You must also have the benefit of complete information and explanation concerning the need for, risks, benefits and alternatives to such a transfer.
  • You have the right to be informed of all services available in our facilities.
  • You have the right to care determinations and clinical decision making without regard for your ability to pay for those determinations or clinical decisions.
  • You have the right to know the immediate and long-term financial implications of treatment choices, insofar as they are known.
  • You have the right to be informed of the hospital’s charges for services and available payment methods.
  • You have the right to ask and be informed of the existence of business relationships among the hospital, educational institutions, other health care providers or payers that may influence your treatment and care.

Freedom from Abuse and Restraint

  • You have the right to receive care in a safe and secure environment free from all forms of abuse (mental, physical and verbal), neglect, or mistreatment.
  • You have the right to be free from physical/chemical restraints and seclusion in any form that is not medically required. When medically required, they will be safely implemented by trained staff.
  • You have the right to access protective and advocacy services in cases of abuse or neglect. The hospital will provide a list of these resources.

Privacy and Confidentiality

We respect the confidentiality of your relationship with your doctor and other caregivers, and the sensitive information about your health and health care are part of that relationship. State and federal laws and hospital operating policies protect the privacy of your medical information. Our Notice of Privacy Practices describes the ways that we can use, disclose, and safeguard your information.

View Privacy Notice

  • You can expect full consideration of your privacy and confidentiality in care discussions, exams, and treatments. You may ask for an escort during any type of exam.
  • The hospital may include limited information about you in our patient directory while you are in the hospital. This information could include: name, location, phone number, and one word about your general condition (ex. fair, good). You or your representative may restrict or prohibit your information in the directory upon request.
  • You can expect that all communication and records about your care are confidential, except in cases such as suspected abuse, public health risks (ex. infectious diseases, reactions to medications, problems with products), when disclosure is permitted or required by law or billing purposes.
    • Under certain circumstances, your information must be disclosed or reported to organizations such as health departments or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Such circumstances include, but are not limited to, cases of tuberculosis, viral meningitis and other types of infectious diseases.
  • You have the right to see or get a copy of your medical records and to have the information explained or interpreted as necessary, except when restricted by law. You may add information to your medical record by contacting the Medical Records Department at 240-964- 8444.
  • You have the right to request a list of people to whom your personal health information was disclosed.
  • You have the right to communicate with visitors. This may be in person, by mail, by telephone or by other forms of communication. Any restrictions on communication are evaluated for therapeutic effectiveness and are fully explained to you and your family.

Advance Directives & Self Determination

  • You have the right to agree or refuse to take part in medical research studies. You will have the study fully explained to you prior to consent. You may withdraw from a study at any time without impacting your access to standard care. If you decline to participate in research or experimentation, you are entitled to the most effective care that the hospital can otherwise provide.
  • You have the right to make an advance directive (such as a living will, health care proxy, or durable power of attorney for health care) and appoint someone to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable.
    • If you do not have an advance directive, we can provide you with information and help you complete one. You may contact Care Coordination at 240-964-1090, or you may access our website, http://www.wmhs.com/advance-directives.html, for more information.
    • The existence or lack of an advance directive does not determine your right to access care, treatment and services.
  • You have the right to timely information about hospital policy that may limit its ability to fully implement a legally valid advance directive. The hospital will honor the intent of an advance directive to the extent permitted by law and hospital policy.
  • You have the right to participate in the discussion of ethical questions that arise, including conflict resolution, withholding resuscitative services, foregoing or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment and participation in investigational studies or clinical trials. In resolving these conflicts or issues, you may contact our Ethics Committee at 240-964-8544 or 240-964-1920 after business hours.
  • You have the right to give or refuse consent for recordings, photographs, films, or other images to be produced or used for internal or external purposes other than identification, diagnosis, or treatment. You have the right to withdraw consent up until a reasonable time before the item is used.
  • The Patient Self-Determination Act and the Maryland Health Care Decision Act (1993) are laws intended to protect your right to make decisions about your medical care, including the right to accept or refuse treatment. WMHS supports and respects your fundamental right to make health care decisions if you are unable. For assistance in creating an Advance Directive or for more information, ask a member of your health care team.

Your Responsibilities

We recognize that the collaborative nature of health care requires you or other family members/surrogates to participate in their care. The effectiveness of care and your satisfaction with the course of treatment depends, in part, on the patient fulfilling certain responsibilities. WMHS recognizes that your responsibilities are to:

  • Provide information about past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications and other matters related to their health status.
  • Participate effectively in decision-making; you must be encouraged to take responsibility for requesting additional information or clarification about their health status or treatment when they do not fully understand information and instruction.
  • Ensure that the health care institution has a copy of their written advance directive if they have one.
  • Inform their physicians and other caregivers if they anticipate problems in following prescribed treatment.
  • Be a partner in the healthcare process and help facilitate the safe delivery of care.
  • Be aware of the hospital’s obligation to be reasonably efficient and equitable in providing care to other patients and the community. The hospital’s rules and regulations are designed to help the hospital meet this obligation.
  • Make reasonable accommodations to the needs of the hospital, other patients, medical staff, and hospital employees.
  • Provide necessary information for insurance claims and for working with the hospital to make payment arrangements, when necessary.
  • Recognize the impact of their lifestyle on their personal health.
  • Keep appointments, be on time, and call your healthcare provider if you cannot keep your appointments.

Corporate Compliance Hotline

Western Maryland Health strives to be fully compliant with all of the rules and regulations that govern the healthcare industry and to provide care and conduct its business in a manner consistent with our Mission, Vision, and Core Values.

To help us achieve these standards, we have a Corporate Responsibility Program that focuses on promoting good corporate citizenship, identifying high-risk areas, preventing and detecting ethical violations, and ensuring compliance with federal, state, and local laws. WMHS employees also are dedicated to following a high ethical standard of individual conduct.

If you suspect a violation of laws and regulations or unethical business practices at WMHS, please call our confidential Compliance Hotline at 866-463-2246. A confidential and anonymous service, the Compliance Hotline uses a voice mail system for disclosing information about potential ethical or legal violations.

Please provide a detailed description of your concern; you are not required to leave your name or telephone number. Your message will be retrieved and reviewed by our Compliance Officer for appropriate action.

The Compliance Hotline is available to take your call at any time of the day or night and any day of the week. We hope you will never have a reason to question the integrity of our practices at WMHS. However, if that reason should arise, we assure you that your concerns will be taken seriously and treated in a confidential and professional manner.