Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
New Brunswick • Somerset

Patient Rights

As a patient in Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, you have the following rights under NJAC 8:43G-4.

Legal Rights

  • To treatment and medical services without discrimination based on age, religion, national origin, sex, sexual preferences, handicap, diagnosis, ability to pay, or source of payment.
  • To exercise all your constitutional, civil, and legal rights.

Medical Care

  • To receive the care and health services that the hospital is required to provide.
  • To receive an understandable explanation from your physician of your complete medical condition, recommended treatment, expected results, risks involved, and reasonable medical alternatives. If your physician believes that some of this information would be detrimental to your health or beyond your ability to understand, the explanation must be given to your next of kin or guardian
  • To give informed, written consent prior to the start of specified, non-emergency medical procedures or treatments. Your physician should explain to you – in words you understand – specific details about the recommended procedure or treatment, any risks involved, time required for recovery, and any reasonable medical alternatives.
  • To refuse medication and treatment after possible consequences of this decision have been explained clearly to you, unless the situation is life threatening or the procedure is required by law.
  • To be included in experimental research only if you give informed, written consent. You have the right to refuse to participate.

Pain Management

  • To pain relief.
  • To have appropriate assessment and ongoing reassessment of pain.
  • To have appropriate management of pain taking into account personal, cultural, spiritual and/or ethnic beliefs.
  • To receive information and education regarding pain, management of pain, potential limitations and potential side effects of pain treatment.

Communication & Information

  • To be informed of the names and functions of all health care professionals providing you with personal care.
  • To receive, as soon as possible, the services of a translator or interpreter if you need one to help you communicate with the hospital’s health care personnel.
  • To be informed of the names and functions of any outside health care and education institutions involved in your treatment. You may refuse to allow their participation.
  • To receive, upon request, the hospital’s written policies and procedures regarding life-saving methods and the use of withdrawal of life support mechanisms.
  • To be advised in writing of the hospital’s rules regarding the conduct of patients and visitors.
  • To receive a summary of your patient rights that includes the name and phone number of the hospital staff member to whom you can ask questions or complain about any possible violation of your rights.

Medical Records

  • To have prompt access to the information in your medical record. If your physician feels that this access is detrimental to your health, your next of kin or guardian has a right to see your record.
  • To obtain a copy of your medical record, at a reasonable fee, within 30 days after written request to the hospital.

Cost of Hospital Care

  • To receive a copy of the hospital payment rates. If you request an itemized bill, the hospital must provide one and answer any questions you may have. You have a right to appeal any changes.
  • To be informed by the hospital if part or all of your bill will not be covered by insurance. The hospital is required to help you obtain any public assistance and private health care benefits to which you may be entitled.

Privacy & Confidentiality

  • To have physical privacy during medical treatment and personal hygiene functions, unless you need assistance.
  • To confidential treatment of information about you. Information in your records will not be released to anyone outside the hospital without your approval, unless it is required by law.

Freedom from Abuse & Restraints

  • To freedom from physical and mental abuse.
  • To freedom from restraints, unless they are authorized by a physician for a limited period of time to protect the safety of you or others.

Transfers

  • To be transferred to another facility only when you or your family has made the request, or in instances where the transferring hospital is unable to provide you with the care you need.
  • To receive an advanced explanation from a physician of the reasons for your transfer and possible alternatives.

Personal Needs

  • To be treated with courtesy, consideration, and respect for your dignity and individuality.
  • To have access to storage space in your room for private use. The hospital must also have a system to safeguard your personal property.

Private Duty Nursing

  • To contract directly with a New Jersey licensed registered professional nurse of the patient’s choosing for private professional nursing care during his or her hospitalization. A registered professional nurse so contracted shall adhere to hospital policies and procedures so long as these requirements are the same for private duty and regularly employed nurses. The hospital, upon request, shall provide the patient or designee with a list of local non-profit professional nursing association registries that refer nurses for private professional nursing care.

Discharge Planning

  • To receive information and assistance from your attending physician and other health care providers if you need to arrange for continuing health care after your discharge from the hospital.
  • To receive sufficient time before discharge to arrange for continuing health care needs.
  • To be informed by the hospital about any appeal process to which you are entitled by law if you disagree with the hospital’s discharge plans.

Questions & Complaints

  • To present questions or grievances to a designated hospital staff member (Patient Advocate, extension 2430) and to receive a response in a reasonable period of time. The hospital must provide you with the address and telephone number of the New Jersey Department of Health agency that handles questions and complaints. You may directly contact the NJ Department of Health complaint hotline at 1-800-792-9770 or write to:

New Jersey Department of  Health & Senior Services Complaint Program
PO Box 367
Trenton, NJ 08625

The list of patient rights is an abbreviated summary of the current New Jersey law and regulations governing the rights of the hospital patients. For more complete information, consult NJ Department of Health regulations at NJAC 8:43G-4 or Public Law 1989-Chapter 170, available through your hospital.