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Patient Rights & Financial Services

PATIENT BILL OF RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Your rights and responsibilities as a hospital patient:

We consider you a partner in your hospital care. When you are well informed, involved in your care, and talk openly with your doctor and other healthcare workers, you can help make your care as effective as possible. Southern Maine Health Care respects the personal preferences and values of each individual.

While you are a patient in the hospital, your rights include the following:

  • You have the right to considerate and respectful care in a safe environment, free from abuse and harassment.
  • You have the right to considerate and respectful care in a safe environment, free from discrimination based on age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression.
  • You have the right to an interpreter or other aids, if needed, to help you communicate.
  • You have the right to have your personal doctor and a family member or other person you choose notified that you have been admitted to the hospital.
  • You have the right to be well informed about your illness, possible treatments, and likely outcome.
  • You have a right to discuss this information with your doctor, and to help create and implement your plan of care. You have the right to know the names and roles of people treating you.
  • You have the right to be informed of unanticipated outcomes, adverse events and medical errors.
  • Healthcare facilities are prohibited from receiving payment for serious harm that results from preventable mistakes and adverse events as defined by state law (law effective July 18, 2008).
  • You have the right to know about pain and pain relief measures and to have caring, concerned and responsive staff who are committed to pain prevention and state-of-the-art pain management.
  • You have the right to consent to or refuse a treatment, as permitted by law, throughout your hospital stay. If you refuse a recommended treatment, you will receive other needed and available care.
  • You have the right to have an Advance Directive, such as a living will or healthcare proxy. These documents express your choices about your future or name someone to decide if you cannot speak for yourself. If you have a written Advance Directive, you should provide a copy to the hospital, your family and your doctor.
  • You have the right to privacy. The hospital, your doctor and others caring for you will protect your privacy as much as possible.
  • You have the right to expect that treatment records are kept confidential unless you have given permission to release information or when disclosure is required or permitted by law. When the hospital releases records to others, such as insurers, it emphasizes that the records are confidential.
  • You have the right to read your medical records and to have the information explained, request amendment to, and obtain information on disclosures of your health information, in accordance with law and regulation.
  • You have the right to expect that you will be in a safe environment and that SMHC will give you necessary health services to the best of its ability. Treatment, referral or transfer may be recommended. If transfer is recommended or requested, you will be informed of risks, benefits and alternatives. You will not be transferred until the other institution agrees to
    accept you.
  • You have the right to be free from restraints or seclusion unless necessary for medical reasons or for physical safety.
  • You have the right to know if this hospital has relationships with outside parties that may influence your treatment and care. These outside parties may be educational institutions, other healthcare providers or insurers.
  • You have the right to agree to or refuse to take part in research affecting your care. If you choose not to take part, you will receive the most effective care the hospital otherwise provides.
  • You have the right to be told of realistic care options when hospital care is no longer needed for you.
  • You have the right to know about hospital rules that affect you and your treatment, and about charges and payment methods.
  • You have the right to know about hospital resources, such as patient representatives or ethics committees, that can help you resolve problems and questions about your hospital stay.
  • You have the right to choose who may or may not visit you regardless of whether the visitor is legally related to you.
  • You have the right to receive visitors whom you designate, whether spouse, domestic partner (including same sex domestic partner), another family member or friend. You have the right to withdraw or deny such a consent at any time.
  • You have the right to have a family member, friend, or other support individual present with you during the course of your stay for emotional support. Note: The hospital allows for the presence of a support individual of the patient’s choice, unless the individual’s presence infringes on others’ rights, safety, or is medically or therapeutically contraindicated.
  • The hospital respects the patient’s cultural and personal values, beliefs, and preferences.
  • The hospital accommodates the patient’s right to religious and other spiritual services.

You have responsibilities as a patient.

  • You are responsible for giving information about your health, including past illnesses, hospital stays and use of medicine.
  • You are responsible for asking questions when you do not understand information or instructions.
  • You are responsible for following the care, service or treatment plan developed. If you believe you can’t follow through with your treatment, you are responsible for telling your doctor.
  • You are responsible for accepting the consequences if you do not follow the care, service or treatment plan.

MEDICAL RECORDS

While you are at an SMHC facility, your patient care team keeps a confidential record of your care. This record contains your medical history, details of your treatment, and the progress you have made while in the hospital. According to our hospital policy, all patients may obtain a copy of their record.

If you would like a copy of your records, please contact the Health Information Management Department; for the Sanford Medical Center (formerly Henrietta D. Goodall Hospital) at (207) 490-7356, for the Biddeford Medical Center (formerly Southern Maine Medical Center) please call (207) 294-5700. A form will need to be completed and signed.

When you are admitted to the hospital, the forms you are asked to sign allow SMHC to give information about your care to your insurance company, if they ask for it.

Your healthcare information is strictly private and will not be given without your prior approval. In an emergency situation, we may, however, give information necessary for the purposes of diagnosis, treatment or care to another healthcare provider or healthcare facility.

For information about your privacy rights, please see our Notice of Privacy Practices.

PAYMENT PROCEDURES

Our goal is to make the billing and payment process as easy for you as possible. Here are answers to several of the most frequently asked questions patients have about their bills.

Will SMHC bill my insurance? Yes, we will be happy to bill your insurance provider for you. If we need more information, we will contact you. If your insurance company asks you for more information, please respond as quickly as you can.

When will I get my bill? You won’t receive a bill from SMHC until after your insurance provider has looked at your claim and paid SMHC what your insurance plan will cover. They will also let us know how much you owe at this time. You’ll receive a statement every month for any account that has not been completely paid. However, if it makes it easier for you, we will be happy to combine accounts and send you one statement. If you would like a statement that lists every item owed on it, contact Customer Service at (207) 282-9080 and let them know.

What’s included in my inpatient room charge? The inpatient room charge includes professional nursing care, meals, permanent medical record services, housekeeping, laundry, maintenance, social services and discharge planning.

Other charges that might be on the bill include diagnostic services (x-ray, lab tests, etc.), medical supplies, medications, surgical procedures, therapy services (physical therapy, occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, etc.) or emergency services.

Are my doctor’s charges included in my bill? Your hospital bill will include the SMHC Emergency Department doctor, SMHC-employed hospitalist and SMHC-employed nurse anesthetist (CRNA) charges. Radiologist, pathologist and anesthesiologist charges are
NOT included on your hospital bill. These professionals will send you a separate bill for their services. Your personal doctor or surgeon will also bill you separately.

What does SMHC charge for procedures and services? MaineHealth provides payment information related to common medical procedures for insured patients or estimated charges for uninsured patients by visiting the Maine HealthCost website:

Where can I pay my bill? You can pay your bill by mail or online by clicking here. Send your check, money order or credit card information to:
Southern Maine Health Care
PO Box 626
Biddeford, ME 04005-0626

Be sure to put your account number on the check.

You can reach the Billing Department at (207) 282-9080, Monday through Friday from
8 am to 5 pm. After hours, weekends, or holidays, you can leave a voice mail message, and we will return your call as soon as possible on the next business day.

If you’d like to pay your bill in person, please stop by the Cashier’s Office located on the first floor of both medical centers. Our cashier offices are open Monday through Friday, except for some holidays. For your convenience, we accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express.

What if I can’t pay my bill? If you are unable to pay your bill in full, please contact Customer Service at (207) 282-9080 to discuss your options. We can work with you to set up a payment plan, or you may be eligible for free care or partial free care based on your income.


© Southern Maine Health Care     1 Medical Center Drive     Biddeford, Maine 04005 USA     Tel: (207) 283-7000

SMHC is a member of the MaineHealth System and a participant in the HealthInfoNet Health Information Exchange

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