Patient Rights and Responsibilities

University of Iowa Health Care is proud to provide expert medical care in an environment where you can expect:

  • Quality service
  • Personal respect
  • Consideration for your family and visitors

It is our hope that your experience here will be comfortable and beneficial.

Our patients have many rights and responsibilities. For a copy of this document or to share a concern, complaint, or grievance, please talk with any staff member or call the Patient Advocate 319-339-3653.

Regarding decision-making and advance directives, you have the right to:

  • Make informed decisions about your care or designate a representative to make decisions for you, if you are unable
  • Be informed about advance directives, such as a living will and durable power of attorney for health care decision-making
  • Set up advance directives and have them followed


Patients’ rights

Regarding your medical care, you have the right to:

  • Receive considerate and respectful care
  • Be treated with dignity
  • Be informed about your diagnosis, medical condition, and treatment in terms you can understand to the extent possible
  • Talk with your doctor and health care team about all procedures and the outcome of your care
  • Be informed about pain and pain relief
  • Have your pain assessed and managed
  • Get a timely response from your doctor or nurse when you report pain or discomfort
  • Ask for treatment
  • Refuse treatment to the extent permitted by law and to be informed of the possible outcomes of the refusal
  • Know the names and professional titles of your caregivers
  • Ask for a change of your health care provider
  • Request a second opinion from another UI Health Care provider or another provider outside of UI Health Care, if you choose
  • Receive medical care without discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, culture, language, socio-economic status, and gender identity or expression

Regarding your personal needs, you have the right to:

  • Personal privacy to the extent consistent with your care needs
  • Prompt, reasonable, and courteous responses to any request for services within the ability of the hospital
  • Care in a safe and secure environment; to be free from physical or mental abuse, harassment, and corporal punishment
  • Be free from restraint or seclusion, except when your own safety or the safety of others must be protected
  • Be free from restraint or seclusion of any form used as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience, or retaliation by staff
  • Use the services of an interpreter and have access to assistive devices, when needed. Ask staff to assist with this service
  • Sufficient, nutritious, and palatable food with consideration to religious and medical needs
  • Receive phone calls and written communication
  • Speak or meet with clergy or other spiritual advisors of your choice

Regarding your doctor, family, friends, or personal partner, you have the right to:

  • Have contact with family members, friends, and a partner (including a same sex partner)
  • Ask that your family or a representative of your choice be told about your admission to the hospital
  • Ask that your own doctor be told about your admission to the hospital
  • Receive visitors without discrimination based on age, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socio-economic status, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity

Regarding your records and bill, you have the right to:

  • Confidentiality of your clinical and personal records
  • Look at your medical records within the limits provided in the UI Health Care Privacy Notice
  • An explanation of all items on your bill

Regarding your discharge planning, you have the right to:

  • Be a part of your discharge planning from the time you are admitted
  • Be informed about your health care needs and planning for care after you leave the hospital
  • Work with staff in the Case Management Department by asking your care providers to contact the Case Manager, or other care providers as needed. They will help you with your transfer to another health care organization when you leave UI Health Care.

Regarding problem resolution, you have the right to:

  • Express concerns, complaints, or grievances about your care or service experience to hospital staff or a patient advocate
  • A written response to a grievance


Patients’ responsibilities

Regarding your medical care, you are responsible for:

  • Giving your health care team correct and complete information about all matters related to your health, such as medicines and past or present medical problems
  • Telling your health care team about changes in your condition or symptoms, including pain
  • Asking your doctor or nurse what to expect during a pain assessment and pain treatment options
  • Telling your doctor or nurse when you are having pain and asking for pain relief measures when your pain or discomfort first starts or does not get better after a treatment
  • Following the instructions and advice of your health care team. If you refuse treatment or do not follow the instructions or advice, you must accept the consequences of your decisions.
  • Identifying and reporting any safety concerns that may affect your care
  • Telling a member of your health care team if you do not understand information about your care or treatment
  • Telling your doctor, nurse, or other health care provider if you are not satisfied with any part of your care
  • Taking part in the planning of your care, as well as discharge planning
  • Providing timely information about your health insurance
  • Paying your bills or making arrangements with UI Health Care to meet your financial obligations in a timely manner
  • Keeping your scheduled appointments or canceling your appointments in advance, when possible

Regarding your personal behavior, you are responsible for:

  • Being considerate and cooperative
  • Being respectful of your care team
  • Being thoughtful of the rights of other patients and our staff
  • Accepting that bad language or behavior is not tolerated
  • Following the policies and procedures of UI Health Care


Your belongings

UI Health Care is not responsible or liable for your valuables or personal effects. You are responsible for safeguarding your possessions.

UI Health Care is not responsible for the care, storage, or replacement of valuables or personal effects if they are dropped, lost, or misplaced in bedding, on a food tray, wrapped in tissue, placed in a cup, or otherwise improperly stored.

Please leave valuables at home or send them home with a responsible adult for safekeeping.

Photograph, audio, and video recordings

Your care team may need to use photography, video, or audio recordings to document your clinical condition or for internal health care operations purposes.

If UI Health Care intends to use images for reasons other than clinical or operational purposes, we will obtain your written authorization.


Meeting your needs


All patient medical information, whether stored electronically, in the medical record, or obtained by any other means, is treated as private and confidential.

All UI Health Care staff take precautions to assure patient privacy and confidentiality.

Access to your medical record

Please talk with your health care team if you would like access to your medical record. The medical record is the property of UI Health Care. You have a right to look at a copy of your medical record when you request.

You can also get a copy of your medical record. There may be copying charges.

Please request in writing, or ask for and fill the "Authorization for Release of Protected Health Information” and mail it to:

University of Iowa Health Care

Release of Information Office

500 E. Market St.

Iowa City, IA 52245

Please call 319-339-3609 if you have questions on release of information or your medical records.

You may ask for an accounting of disclosures by calling the Joint Office for Compliance at 319-384-8282.

This is a list of the times we have shared your personal health information (PHI), who we shared it with, and why.

Complaints and grievances

UI Health Care staff members are responsible for listening to concerns from patients, families, and visitors.

Staff will do a review and give you a response about how the concern(s) were reviewed and actions that were taken to resolve them. Grievances may be submitted verbally or in writing.

People who express a concern, complaint, or grievance will not have their future access to care compromised in any way.

To share a concern, complaint, or grievance, please contact a patient advocate at:

Phone: 319-339-3653


*Mercy Iowa City is now University of Iowa Health Care. Email addresses are still in transition.

UI Health Care

500 E. Market St.

Iowa City, IA 52245


If you feel your concern about safety or quality of care provided in the hospital has not been addressed, other external groups you may contact include:


State Agency:

Department of Inspections and Appeals

Health and Safety Division/Complaint Unit

321 East 12th St., Des Moines, IA 50319

Phone: 877-686-0027


Accreditation Agency:

The Joint Commission

1 Renaissance Blvd., Oak Brook Terrace, IL 60181

Phone: 800-994-6670

Email: patientsafetyreport@jointcommission.


Medicare Quality of Care Complaints for coverage decisions or to appeal a premature discharge:

Livanta - Organization for Beneficiary Family Centered Care

10820 Guilford Road, Suite 202

Annapolis Junction, MD 20701

Phone: 888-755-5580


To address discrimination concerns, you may file a civil rights complaint with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
Office of Civil Rights

200 Independence Ave., SW

Room 509F, HHH Building Washington, DC 20201



The information on this web page applies to care delivered at the following locations.

  • 500 E. Market St, Iowa City, IA
  • 540 E. Jefferson St, Iowa City, IA
  • 2055 Oakdale Rd, Coralville, IA
  • 2769 Heartland Drive, Coralville, IA
  • 269 N 1st Avenue, Iowa City, IA
  • 2943 Northgate Dr., Iowa City, IA
  • 503 3rd St., Kalona, IA
  • 2104 Cedarwood Dr., Muscatine, IA
  • 510 W. Main, Solon, IA
  • 56 Cedar St., Tipton, IA
  • 206 Cookson Drive, West Branch, IA
  • 1401 Crees St., West Liberty, IA
  • 819 S. Highland St., Williamsburg, IA