Patient Rights & Responsibilities

Federal and state laws provide for specific patient rights. At South Shore Health, we recognize our responsibility to respect these rights as well as to inform you of them regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, veteran’s status, disability, status with regard to public assistance, membership or activity in a local commission, political affiliation or place of residence. The following summarizes both federal law and the Massachusetts Patients' Bill of Rights.

Follow the links to access the Patient Rights and Responsibilities document in: 

  • You have the right to obtain the name and specialty of the doctor or other person responsible for your care.
  • You have a right to the confidentiality of all records and communications concerning your medical history and treatment to the extent provided by law.
  • You have a right to prompt responses to all reasonable requests.
  • You have a right to request and receive an explanation as to the relationship, if any, of this healthcare facility and your doctor to any other healthcare facility or educational institution, insofar as any such relationship relates to your care.
  • You have a right to request and receive information about financial assistance and free health care.
  • You have a right to obtain a copy of any rules or regulations which may apply to your conduct as a patient.
  • You have a right upon request to inspect your medical records, request an amendment to, or receive an accounting of disclosures regarding personal health information, and for a reasonable fee, receive a copy of your record.
  • You have a right to receive a copy of your medical record free of charge 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 a right to refuse to be observed, examined or treated by students or any other staff without jeopardizing your access to care.
  • You have a right to refuse to participate as a research subject and to refuse any care or examination when the primary purpose is educational or informational rather than therapeutic.
  • You have a 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 a right to prompt life-saving treatment without discrimination due to economic status or source of payment.
  • You have the right to be offered emergency contraception and receive written information about emergency contraception if you are a female rape victim.
  • You have a right, if refused treatment for economic status or lack of a source of payment, to prompt and safe transfer to a facility that agrees to provide treatment.
  • You have a right to informed consent to the extent provided by law.
  • You have a right, if suffering from any form of breast cancer, to receive complete information on all alternative treatments that are medically viable.
  • You have a right, if you are a maternity patient, to receive information about the hospital's rate of cesarean sections and related statistics.
  • You have a right to request and receive an itemized explanation of your medical bill.
  • You have the right to be informed of your health status, be involved in care planning and treatment and be able to request or refuse treatment.  This right must not be construed as a mechanism to demand the provision of treatment or services deemed medically unnecessary or inappropriate.
  • You have the right to formulate advance directives and to have staff and practitioners who provide care comply with these directives.
  • You have the right to have a family member or representative of your choice and your own physician notified promptly of your admission to the hospital.
  • You have the right to access support services or protective services and to be free from all forms of abuse and harassment.
  • You have the right to be free from seclusion and restraints of any form that are not medically necessary or are used as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience, or retaliation by staff.
  • You have the right to have your consent obtained prior to any recording or filming of care treatment and services provided to you which is made for purposes other than the identification, diagnosis or treatment.
  • You have the right to be informed about outcomes or care, treatment, and services that have been provided including unanticipated outcomes.
  • You have the right to effective communication, request an interpreter, and receive information in a manner that you understand.
  • You have the right to effective management of pain symptoms.
  • You have the right to file a grievance and may contact:

Patient Experience Department
55 Fogg Road, Mailbox #50, South Weymouth, MA, 02190
Phone number: 781-624-8888, Email: patientexperience [at]

Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine
178 Albion Street, Suite 330 Wakefield, MA, 01880
Phone number: 781-876-8200 Fax number: 781-876-8381
Online: Submit a Complaint |

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Division of Health Care Facility Licensure and Certification
Complaint Intake Unit 67 Forest Street Marlborough, MA 01752
Phone number: 800-462-5540 or 617-753-8150 Fax number: 617-753-8165
On-line: File a complaint regarding a hospital |

[Or, if patient has Medicare]
Phone number: 888-319-8452 Fax number: 844-878-7921 Email: beneficiary.complaints [at] (beneficiary[dot]complaints[at]kepro[dot]com)

The Joint Commission
One Renaissance Boulevard
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181 Phone number: 630-792-5800
On-line: Report a Patient Safety Concern or File a Complaint | The Joint Commission

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Office for Civil Rights 200 Independence Avenue, SW Room 509F, HHH Building, Washington, D.C. 20201 Phone number: 1-800-368-1019 TDD: 1-800-537-7697
Online: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services - Office for Civil Rights (

By taking an active role in your own health care, you can help your caregivers best meet your needs. That is why we ask you and your family to share with us certain responsibilities. They include:

  • Letting us know your expectations about hospitalization and treatment.
  • Paying close attention to the care you are receiving. Making sure you are getting the right treatments and medications.
  • 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 medications 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 developed –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.
  • Following South Shore Health’s rules and regulations.
  • Speaking and acting in a respectful and safe manner.
  • Being considerate of South Shore Health’s staff and property, as well as other patients and their property.
  • Accepting outcomes if you and your family do not follow the care, treatment, and service plan.
  • Meeting any financial obligation agreed to with South Shore Health.