Patient Bill of Rights

Patient Bill of Rights Under New Jersey Laws

Your Rights As A Patient

As a patient in a New Jersey hospital, you have the right to:

Medical Care

  • Receive an under­stand­able expla­na­tion from your physi­cian of your complete medical condi­tion including recom­mended treat­ment, expected results, risks and reason­able 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.
  • Give informed written consent prior to the start of spec­i­fied, nonemer­gency medical proce­dures or treat­ments only after your physi­cian has explained—in terms you can understand—specific details about the recom­mended proce­dure or treat­ment, the risks, time to recover and reason­able medical alternatives.
  • Be informed of the hospital’s written poli­cies and proce­dures regarding life-saving methods and the use or with­drawal of life-support.
  • Refuse medica­tion and treat­ment to the extent permitted by law and to be informed of the medical conse­quences of refusal.
  • Be included in exper­i­mental research only when you have given informed consent to participate.
  • Choose your own private profes­sional nurse and to contract directly for this care during hospi­tal­iza­tion. You can request from the hospital a list of local non-profit profes­sional nurses asso­ci­a­tion registries that refer nurses.
  • Receive appro­priate assess­ment and treat­ment for pain.


  • Be trans­ferred to another facility only if the current hospital is unable to provide the level of appro­priate medical care or if the transfer is requested by you or your next of kin or guardian.
  • Receive from a physi­cian in advance an expla­na­tion of the reasons for transfer including alter­na­tives, veri­fi­ca­tion of accep­tance from the receiving facility, and assur­ance that the move will not worsen your medical condition.

Communication and Information

  • Be treated with cour­tesy, consid­er­a­tion and respect for your dignity and individuality.
  • Know the names and func­tions of all physi­cians and other health care profes­sionals directly caring for you.
  • Expe­di­tiously receive the services of a trans­lator or inter­preter, if needed, to commu­ni­cate with the hospital staff.
  • Be informed of the names, titles, and duties of other health care profes­sionals and educa­tional insti­tu­tions that partic­i­pate in your treat­ment. You have the right to refuse to allow their participation.
  • Be advised in writing of the hospital’s rules regarding the conduct of patients and visitors.
  • Receive a summary of your rights as a patient, including the name(s) and phone number(s) of the hospital staff to whom to direct ques­tions or complaints about possible viola­tions of your rights. If at least 10% of the hospital’s service area speaks your native language, you can receive a copy of the summary in your native language.

Medical Records

  • Have prompt access to your medical records. If your physi­cian feels that this access is detri­mental to your health, your next of kin or guardian has a right to see your records.
  • Obtain a copy of your medical records for a reason­able fee within 30 days after submit­ting a written request to the hospital.

Cost of Hospital Care

  • Receive a copy of the hospital charges, an item­ized bill, if requested, and an explanation.
  • Appeal any charges and receive an expla­na­tion of the appeals process.
  • Obtain the hospital’s help in securing public assis­tance and private health care bene­fits to which you may be entitled.

Discharge Planning

  • Be informed about any need for follow-up care and receive assis­tance in obtaining this care required after your discharge from the hospital.
  • Receive suffi­cient time before discharge to arrange for follow-up care after hospitalization.
  • Be informed by the hospital about the discharge appeal process.

Privacy and Confidentiality

  • Be provided with phys­ical privacy during medical treat­ment and personal hygiene func­tions, unless you need assistance.
  • Be assured confi­den­tiality about your patient stay. Your medical and finan­cial records shall not be released to anyone outside the hospital without your approval, unless you are trans­ferred to another facility that requires the infor­ma­tion, or release of the infor­ma­tion is required and permitted by law.
  • Have access to indi­vidual storage space for your private use and to safe­guard your prop­erty if unable to assume that responsibility.

Freedom from Abuse and Restraints

  • Be free from phys­ical and mental abuse.
  • Be free from restraints unless autho­rized by a physi­cian for a limited period of time to protect your safety or the safety of others.

Civil Rights

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

Questions, Complaints and Appeals

  • Ask ques­tions or file griev­ances about patient rights with a desig­nated hospital staff member and receive a response within a reason­able period.
  • Be provided, by the hospital, with contact infor­ma­tion for the New Jersey Depart­ment of Health and Senior Services unit that handles ques­tions and complaints.