Patients and Visitors

Patient Rights and Responsibilities

We recognize the autonomy of the people we serve by respecting your rights and responsibilities to make decisions about your care, treatment, and services.

In accessing and receiving care, treatment, and services, you have the right:

  • To receive reasonable care, treatment, and services on a nondiscriminatory basis pursuant to local, state, and federal laws, as well as within the capabilities and mission of Mercy Iowa City
  • To receive care, treatment, and services that respect your cultural, psychosocial, spiritual, and personal values, beliefs, and preferences.
  • To have respectful care, treatment, and services in regard to your own personal dignity, property, safety, and security.
  • To receive pastoral care and express spiritual beliefs and cultural practices as long as these do not harm others or interfere with treatment.
  • To receive written information on your rights while receiving care, treatment, or services from Mercy Iowa City.
  • To be informed within 24 hours of admission of the name of your physician or other practitioner
    primarily responsible for, and who will provide your care, treatment, and services.
  • To have qualified staff introduce themselves and explain their position and duties, as they are involved in the care, treatment, and services you receive
  • To be involved in decisions about your care, treatment, and services
  • To participate in the consideration of ethical issues and other dilemmas that arise in the provision of care, treatment, and services.
  • To be informed about the diagnosis, care, treatment, and service plans in terms that you–or your legal representative and family can understand.
  • To have interpretation and/or translation services as necessary for effective communication about receiving or refusing care, treatment, or services.
  • To receive effective communication about receiving care, treatment, and services with respect to your age, vision, speech, hearing, language, or cognitive abilities.
  • To receive appropriate assessment, education, and effective management of your pain.
  • To know that the effectiveness and safety of care, treatment, and services does not depend on your ability to pay.
  • To be informed of visitation rights, including any restriction due to your condition or other limitation. Visitors are subject to your consent and designation of who you will receive or deny, including, but not limited to, a spouse, domestic partner (including a same sex domestic partner), another family member, or a friend.
  • To receive an explanation of the financial implications of care, treatment, and service choices and an explanation of billing services.
  • To be informed of your medical condition and changes in your care, treatment, and services unless contraindicated and so documented in your medical record by your physician.
  • To access the information contained in the medical record upon written request within the limits of the law with access occurring only in the presence of a nurse or other designated employee or physician.
  • To have access, request amendment to, and receive an accounting of disclosures regarding your own health information as permitted under law.
  • To receive assistance in obtaining information for services to continue care after discharge.
  • To be given a listing of local and state advocacy groups that can provide you with protective and advocacy services.

In regard to personal privacy and confidentiality, you have the right

  • To personal privacy and confidentiality of information.
  • To receive assurance of reasonable safety, free from abuse, restraint, neglect, and exploitation from anyone, including staff, students, volunteers, other patients, visitors, and family members
  • To gain or withhold informed consent to produce or use recordings, films, or other images of the patient for purposes other than his or her care.
  • To be informed of research, investigation, clinical trials, and educational activities that you can decide to participate in or refuse. Your participation, refusal, or discontinuing participation will not compromise access to care, treatment, and services.
  • To communicate, associate, and meet publicly and privately with any person of your choice, unless to do so would infringe upon the rights of other patients, or the desire not do so is indicated by you or your physician for therapeutic reasons.
  • To send and receive unopened mail and to have reasonable access to a telephone to receive and place confidential calls.
  • To be informed of and participate in the decision to restrict communication when indicated.
  • To have your legal representative approve care, treatment, and service decisions.
  • To have family members be involved in your care, treatment, and service decisions, as appropriate and as allowed by law, with your permission or that of your surrogate decision maker.
  • To exclude any or all family members from participating in care, treatment, and service decisions.
  • To expect that the confidentiality of your medical record and the information that it contains will be maintained. Access and disclosure will be limited to individuals caring for you, responsible for relevant quality improvement activities, or as required by law or regulation.

In regard to advance health care directives and end of life decisions, you have the right:

  • To be informed upon admission to the extent to which Mercy Iowa City is able, unable, or unwilling to honor an advance directive.
  • To be informed and involved in making decisions regarding the acceptance or refusal of care, treatment, or services and the right to formulate advance directives as provided by Iowa law. Care will not be compromised based on your refusal of care, treatment, or services. Mercy Iowa City honors and respects advance directives, as well as the right not to have an advance directive.
  • To request and receive assistance in formulating an advance directive.
  • To review and revise advance directives. To expect health care professionals and designated representatives to honor your advance directives, living will, and/or durable power of attorney for health care as duly executed by Iowa law within the limits of the law and Mercy’s capabilities.
  • To designate a surrogate decision maker, as allowed by law, in the event that you cannot make decisions, are not legally responsible, or cannot communicate your wishes regarding your care, treatment, and services. The surrogate decision maker, as allowed by law, has the right to accept or refuse care, treatment, and services on your behalf.
  • To accept or refuse medical or surgical treatment including life-sustaining treatment or withholding resuscitative services to the extent permitted by law and to be informed of medical consequences of your refusal.
  • To receive written information about your right to accept or refuse medical or surgical treatment including life-sustaining treatment or withholding resuscitative services.
  • To retain optimal comfort and dignity during end of life care through the identification and treatment of symptoms that can respond to treatment as desired by you or your surrogate decision maker.

In the resolution of concerns, you have the right:

  • To freely voice concerns, complaints, and carerelated conflicts and recommend changes without being subject to coercion, punishment, reprisal, or unreasonable interruption of care, treatment, and services. If an issue needs resolution, contact the Patient Representative at 319-688-7054 or toll-free at 888-771-0874.
  • To expect reasonable response to your requests for care, needs, concerns, care-related conflicts, and/or complaints.
  • To appeal grievances to an external agency by contacting Division of Health Facilities, Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, Lucas State Office Building, Des Moines, Iowa 50319, phone 515-281-4115.
  • To voice concerns regarding patient care or safety by contacting Office of Quality Monitoring of Joint Commission, 800-994-6610 or by email at
  • To request consultation of another physician.
  • To ask questions of your physicians and other health care providers.
  • To ask and be informed of business relationships among the hospital, other providers, or payers that may influence your care, treatment, and services.

Your participation in your care is very important. As a patient, you have the following responsibilities:

  • To provide accurate and complete information about your present condition, pain status, medication use, past illnesses and hospitalizations, and other matters that relate to your health and care.
  • To report perceived risks in your care and unexpected changes in your condition. This can help the health care team understand your environmentand provide feedback about service needs and expectations.
  • To attempt to understand the care, treatment, and services offered or provided by asking questions and seeking clarifications about your diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, discharge instructions, and what is expected of you.
  • To report changes in your condition, including pain, to staff members caring for you.
  • To follow the treatment plan and care instructions as recommended by your health care team. Refusing to accept a plan for care, treatment, or services or to follow the physician’s instructions is your decision. The consequences of refusal are your responsibility.
  • To honor the rights of other patients and visitors for confidentiality, privacy, and a peaceful environment.
  • To provide accurate information regarding health insurance.
  • To ensure that the financial obligations for your care, treatment, and services are promptly met or arrangements are made with Mercy Iowa City’s Financial Planning and Assistance Program.
  • To observe the rules and regulations of Mercy Iowa City regarding care, treatment, and services.
  • To conduct yourself in a manner that is respectful of hospital staff, visitors, and property.


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