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M.S.A. §144.651

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Health Care Bill of Rights

The purpose of the Health Care Bill of Rights is to promote the interests and well being of patients.  A health care facility cannot require a patient to waive any of the rights listed as a condition of admission.  A guardian or any interested person may seek enforcement of these rights on behalf of the patient.

This section defines a patient as a person admitted to an inpatient facility for longer than 24 hours for diagnosis or treatment of physical or mental condition, a person receiving health care services at an outpatient surgical center, a minor admitted to a residential program, or a patient receiving mental health treatment on an outpatient basis or through a community support program or other community program.  This section also applies to residents, defined as a person admitted to a nonacute care facility due to prolonged mental or physical disability, recovery from an illness or advanced age. 

Information About Rights:

Patients must be told about their legal rights during admission and should receive a written statement of the rights and responsibilities and about various organizations that work on patient advocacy.  The health care facility must make reasonable accommodations for patients who do not speak English as a primary language. 

Information About Treatment:

Patients have the right to be treated with courtesy and have a right to appropriate treatment for their particular condition.  Patients should be given the contact information about their doctor (physician responsible for coordinating care) in writing.  Patients who receive care from an outside provider should be given complete information about the identity of the provider.  Patients must be given complete information about their diagnosis, treatment, alternatives, risks and prognosis.  The information should be put into terms easily understood by the patient.   There is a specific provision that the doctor must inform those diagnosed with breast cancer about all alternative treatments.

Patient Participation in Planning:

Patients should have the right to participate in the planning of their healthcare, including discussion of treatment and alternatives.  If a patient is unconscious, the provider should make a reasonable attempt to contact family.  The facility should allow the family member to participate in the treatment planning.  The facility should take reasonable steps to ascertain whether the patient has an “advance directive,” by examining the personal effects of the patient and by examining the patient’s medical records.

Continuity of Care:

Patients have the right to be cared for with regularity  and continuity of staff, as allowed by the facility.  Patients have the right to have their questions and requests answered promptly.

Right to Refuse Care:

Patients can refuse treatment, but must be informed of the consequences of not having the treatment.

Experimental Studies:  Patient must give written, informed consent prior to participating in an experimental research study.  Patients have the right to refuse to participate in the study.  Consent or refusal to participate in a  research study must be noted in the patient’s medical record. 

Freedom from Maltreatment:

Patients should be free from maltreatment, defined as intentional and nontherapeutic infliction of pain or injury in a persistent course intended to produce mental or emotional distress.

Treatment Privacy:

Patients should have the right to privacy as it relates to their personal care.  Case discussions, treatment and consultations must be confidential. 

Confidentiality of Records:

Patients should be assured of confidentiality in treatment and of their records and can refuse to release the records to an individual outside the facility.  Residents must be informed if outside providers have requested their records.  Copies of medical records must be made available to all patients and residents.

Disclosure of Services Available:

Patients must be informed about the services available in the facility’s basic charge and the services that require an additional charge.  The facility is obligated to obtain information to see if Medicare or other medical assistance program will pay for the additional service. 

Personal Privacy:

Patients and residents have the right to every consideration of their privacy individuality, and cultural identity as related to social and mental well-being. 

Communication Privacy:

Patients can communicate and associate with anyone of their choosing.  They should have access to writing materials at their expense, and be able to send mail without interference.  Patients should have access to a telephone, where they can make and receive calls privately.  If there is a federal law that prohibits the unauthorized disclosure of patient presence in the facility, the patient or guardian can authorize disclosure of the patient’s presence in the facility. 


Patients and residents have the right to recommend changes in policies or grievances to facility staff without feeling restricted.  There should be a notice of the grievance process and a consumer protection number placed in a conspicuous place in the facility. 

Personal Property:

Patients may retain and use their personal property unless doing so infringes upon the rights of other patients or if it comes in the way of medical machines.  The facility must have a central locked depository or provide the patient with an individual lock box. 

Services for the Facility:

Patients or residents must not perform labor or other services for the facility unless they are part of treatment or related to a goal noted in the patient’s medical record.

Choice of Supplier:

Residents are allowed to buy or rent supplies from suppliers outside of the per diem rate given by the facility, and they must fulfill the patient’s medical or treatment needs.

Financial Affairs:

Competent residents may manage their own financial transactions or be given an accounting once a quarter if they give financial responsibility to someone else.

Right to Associate:

Patients have the right to have visitors and participate in religious, political or commercial activities and community groups as long as these activities do not interfere with the rights of other patients. 

Advisory Councils:

Residents and their families have the right to organize and form advisory councils.  The facility must provide space for such meetings.  They may make recommendations or requests to a designated staff person from the facility.

Married Residents:

A resident who is married has a right to privacy when the spouse visits.  If both are residents of the facility, they have a right to share a room.

Transfers and Discharges:

Residents cannot be discharged or transferred for no reason.  Notice of transfer or discharge must be given at least 30 days in advance.  The resident has a right to dispute the transfer or discharge. 

Protection and Advocacy Services:

Patients and residents must have the right to access protection and advocacy services, including the right to private communication with the protection or advocacy service group. 

Isolation and Restraints:

A minor patient in a residential facility has the right to be free from physical restraints and isolation except for in emergency situations. 

Treatment Plan:

A minor patient in a residential facility has the right to have a written treatment plan that outlines the behavioral problem, goals and procedures to minimize the time spent in an inpatient facility.


Family members of residents have the right to allow the use of physical restraints on residents of facilities in order to treat the resident’s medical conditions. 

Related Laws:  M.S.A. §144.652

Current as of June 2015