skip to Cookie NoticeSkip to contents

Header Skipped.

Patient and Visitor Information

Patient Rights and Responsibilities

To view this information in Spanish, click here (PDF).

Federal and state law provide for specific patient rights. At Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, we recognize our responsibility to respect these rights as well as to inform you of them. This summarizes both federal law and the Massachusetts Patients’ Bill of Rights.

  • You have the right to get the name and specialty of the doctor or other person responsible for your care.
  • You have the right to confidentiality of all records and communications concerning your medical history and treatment to the extent provided by law.
  • You have the right to a prompt response to all reasonable requests.
  • You have the right to request and receive an explanation as to the relationship, if any, of this hospital and your doctor to any other health care facility or educational institution, insofar as any such relationship relates to your care.
  • You have the right to request and receive information about financial assistance and free health care.
  • You have the right to get a copy of any rules or regulations of this hospital that may apply to your conduct as a patient.
  • You have the right upon request to inspect your medical records, request a change or receive an accounting of disclosures regarding personal health information, and for a reasonable fee, receive a copy of your record.
  • You have the right to get a copy of your medical record free if you show that your request is to support a claim or appeal under any provisions of the Social Security Act in any federal or state financial needs based benefit program.
  • You have the right to refuse to be observed, examined or treated by students or any other staff without threatening your access to care.
  • You have the right to refuse to participate as a research subject.
  • You have the right to personal dignity and, to the extent reasonably possible, to privacy during medical treatment and other care.
  • You have the right to have your cultural, psychosocial, spiritual and personal values, beliefs and preferences respected.
  • You have the right to request pastoral and other spiritual services.
  • You have the right to pain management.
  • You have the right to quick life-saving treatment without discrimination due to economic status or source of payment.
  • You have the right, if you are a female rape victim of childbearing age, to receive medically and factually written information prepared by the Commissioner of Public Health about emergency contraception, to be promptly offered emergency contraception and to be provided with emergency contraception upon request.
  • You have the right, if refused treatment for economic status or lack of a source of payment, to quick and safe transfer to a facility that agrees to provide treatment.
  • You have the right to informed consent to the extent provided by law.
  • You have the right, if suffering from any form of breast cancer, to complete information on all alternative treatments that are medically possible.
  • You have the right to request and receive an itemized explanation of your medical bill.
  • You (or your representatives) have the right to participate in the creation and practice of your care plan. The hospital recognizes the health benefits provided by the presence of loved ones while patients are in the hospital. We welcome one designated family member or support person to stay with the patient at any time. This designated support person’s visits would only be limited by the patient’s need for medical care or treatments, rest, privacy and patient preference. A support person may be a spouse, adult child, parent, close relative, friend, domestic partner or different sex or same sex significant other.
  • You have the right to discharge planning evaluation and to participate in the development of your discharge plan.
  • You have the right to make informed decisions regarding your care or to have those decisions carried out by your representative as permitted by state law. The right to make informed decisions includes being informed about your health status, being involved in care planning and treatment and being able to request or refuse treatment.
  • You have the right to create an advance directive which may include giving someone the right to make decisions about your care to a representative, as well as choosing a support person.
  • You have the right to quick notification of a family member or representative of your choice when you are admitted to the hospital.

Your Responsibilities as a Patient

By taking an active role in your own health care, you can help your caregivers best meet your needs. That is why you and your family are asked to share in certain responsibilities with the hospital. These include the responsibility for:

  • Letting us know your expectations about hospitalization and treatment.
  • Asking questions and making sure you understand any instructions given to you so that you can safely care for yourself when you leave the hospital or doctor’s office.
  • Being open and honest with us about your health history, including all medicines you are taking and any legal or illegal addictive substances you use.
  • Telling us about any situation at home or work that may affect your ability to care for yourself, so that we can direct you to resources that can help.
  • Letting us know if you feel you cannot follow a plan of care that has been prescribed – or telling us when things do not seem to be going well – so that, together, we can develop the right plan of care for you.
  • Appointing a health care proxy and completing an advanced care directive, so that we can know what kind of care you wish to have should you become unable to tell us.
  • Expressing concerns to your caregivers in a respectful manner (if you need more help or are angry or upset about your care, a Patient Family Relations representative can help you).
  • Being honest with us about your financial needs so that we may connect you to resources that can help cover your medical expenses.
  • Letting us know if you have objections to students or researchers participating in your care.
  • Being considerate of Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital staff and property and other patients and their property.

It is the policy of Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital to treat all patients and not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, citizenship, alienage, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age or disability.

Submit an Issue or Concern

Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital is committed to responding to patient's issues or concerns about patient care and safety. We encourage patients and families to contact Patient's Relations at 617-983-4507 if there is an issue or concern. If the concern is not resolved through this process, you have the right to file a grievance and you may contact any of the following agencies:

Massachusetts Department of Health
Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality

67 Forest Street
Marlborough, MA 01752

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

The Joint Commission
Visit (click Report a Patient Safety Event in the Action Center section of their website), by fax (630-792-5636) or by mail: Office of Quality Monitoring, One Renaissance Boulevard, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights
Electronically file a civil rights complaint through the Office for Civil Rights Complaint Portal at, by mail at:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW Room 509F, HHH Building
Washington, D.C. 20201
1-800-368-1019 or 800-537-7697 (TDD).
Complaint forms are available at:

Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital

Offering comprehensive medical, surgical and psychiatric care as well as complete emergency, ambulatory and diagnostic services to residents of southwest Boston and the surrounding suburbs.

Learn more about BWFH