Mesothelioma patient rights extend beyond your legal court case for asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma patient rights extend into the medical treatment you receive and how your insurance provider handles your claims.
Mesothelioma Patient Rights – the Basics
As you learn how to deal with the healthcare system, it’s important to remember that you legally have mesothelioma patient rights that protect your privacy and access to your medical records. You also have the right to expect respectful and considerate treatment from your doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers. If you feel that your legal or personal rights are not being respected, you can explore other healthcare providers or ask the help of a family member or friend to advocate on your behalf.
The First Patient Bill of Rights Still Stands
Mesothelioma patient rights are based on the original bill of rights created for all medical patients. In 1973, the American Hospital Association (AHA) drafted a bill of rights outlining what people being treated for all illnesses should expect to receive from their hospitals, doctors, and nurses. The AHA still encourages hospitals and healthcare organizations across the country to comply with this same bill of rights, and in many states patients’ rights are legally binding.
According to the AHA’s Patient’s Bill of Rights, you are entitled to:
- receive care that is respectful and considerate
- be given complete, accurate information in straightforward language about your diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment plan
- make decisions about your treatment, and refuse treatment
- expect privacy and confidentiality about your diagnosis and treatment
- review and keep a copy of your medical records, and have them explained to you
- have access to resources for resolving grievances, disputes, and conflicts
- be informed of and understand your rights as a patient at the facility
For more information, contact the American Hospital Association at their toll-free number: 1-800-242-2626 or go to their website: www.aha.org
Mesothelioma Patient Rights Boosted By The Consumer Bill of Rights
Mesothelioma patient rights received a boost from the Consumer Bill of Rights and Responsibilities that was adopted by the US Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry in 1998.
This bill of rights applies to the insurance plans for federal employees and many other health insurance plans. Even Medicare and Medicaid stand by many of its values. This bill of rights addresses 7 key areas:
- Information for patients
You have the right to accurate and easy-to-understand information about your health plan, health care professionals, and health care facilities. If you speak another language, have a physical or mental disability, or just don’t understand something, you should receive help so you can make informed health care decisions.
- Choice of providers and plans
You have the right to choose health care providers who can give you high-quality health care when you need it.
- Access to emergency services
If you have severe pain, an injury, or sudden illness that makes you believe your health is in danger, you have the right to be screened and stabilized using emergency services. You should be able to use these services whenever and wherever you need them, even if they’re out of your network, without needing to wait for authorization and without any financial penalty.
- Taking part in treatment decisions
You have the right to be informed about your treatment options and take part in decisions about your care. You have the right to ask about the pros and cons of any treatment, including no treatment at all. As long as you are able to make sound decisions, you have the right to refuse any test or treatment.
- Respect and non-discrimination
You have a right to considerate, respectful care from your doctors, health plan representatives, and other health care providers without discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, or source of payment.
- Confidentiality (privacy) of health information
You have the right to talk privately with health care providers and have your health care information protected. You also have the right to read and copy your own medical records. You have the right to ask that your doctor change your record if it’s not correct, relevant, or complete.
- Complaints and appeals
You have the right to a fair, fast, and objective review of any complaint you have against your health plan, doctors, hospitals, or other health care personnel. This includes complaints about waiting times, operating hours, the actions of health care personnel, and the adequacy of health care facilities.
Mesothelioma Patient Rights and the Affordable Care Act
Mesothelioma patient rights were further enhanced by a new Patient’s Bill of Rights created in 2010 along with the Affordable Care Act. This bill of rights was designed to give all patients new protections in dealing with insurance companies. Here are some of them:
- annual and lifetime dollar limits to coverage of essential benefits have been removed. (Essential benefits include doctor and specialist visits, home and hospice services, emergency services, hospitalization, chronic disease management, laboratory services and prescription drugs)
- you can get health insurance in spite of pre-existing medical conditions
- you have the right to an easy-to-understand summary of benefits and coverage
- you’re entitled to certain preventive screening without paying extra fees or co-pays
- if your plan denies payment for a medical treatment or service, you must be told why and how to appeal the decision
- you have the right to appeal the payment decisions of private health plans. You also have the right to a review by an independent organization if the company still doesn’t want to pay
- premium increases of more than 10% must be explained and clearly justified
In order to be as well informed as possible, begin by understanding the basic concepts of your patient rights and be aware how the first patient bill of rights impacts your journey through the healthcare system. Most critical to protecting your patient rights is an understanding of the seven key areas of the Consumer Bill of Rights. With this information at hand, you and your family can make vital decisions with the utmost confidence.