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 responsibilities as a patient.
ADVANCE DIRECTIVES/LIVING WILL
Taking charge of your health care: Maine’s law on Health Care Advance Directives
When you need medical care, you have the right to make choices about that care. But what if you are unable to tell caregivers what you want? The best way to stay in control of decisions about your care is to put your choices down in writing ahead of time. This is called an Advance Directive.
What is an Advance Directive? Under Maine Law, any spoken or written decision or instruction about the kind of health care you want in the future is called an Advance Directive. You can tell your family your wishes, but it is best to put it in writing. If you sign an Advance Directive, your family and your doctor will know who to talk to about your care and/or what kinds of treatment you want or don’t want when you are unable to decide for yourself.
Advance Directives are also sometimes called a “Living Will” or “Durable Health Care Power of Attorney.” If you have already signed such a document, be sure to give copies to your doctor, hospital and family.
In an emergency, you’ll receive care until the doctors can evaluate your condition and until they know your personal wishes regarding your care. If you do not have an Advance Directive, Maine law allows your doctor to ask your relatives – or others close to you – to make decisions about your care.
How can you learn more? We have information available to help you make a decision about Advance Directives. Just ask a member of your patient care team for an information packet. Should you still have questions, he or she can also arrange for someone to assist you.
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.
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? In accordance with Maine law, SMHC provides a price list of our most frequently provided healthcare services. Click here to view the price list. Copies of our price list are also available at the Cashier’s office or by calling the Patient Accounts Department at (207) 282-9080.
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.