Patient Rights

I. Patients Have the Right to Caring, Respectful, Personal, Quality Care

A. Patients can expect:

  1. That health care providers at Spectrum Health will welcome, respect and serve all people regardless of ethnicity, color, gender, national origin, religion, disability, age, HIV status, sex, sexual orientation, race, or source of payment for services.  Patients will be treated in a manner consistent with their gender identity.
  2. Their care to be provided in a professional and respectful manner at all times.
  3. Sign and spoken language services, free of charge, if the patient has limited English proficiency or is hearing impaired.
  4. Treatment, services and referral as needed. If we cannot meet the patient’s medical needs, we will arrange a transfer to another facility. Referrals will be made only after the patient is given full information about why the transfer is needed and offered other choices for treatment if they choose not to be transferred. The facility receiving the patient must agree to accept the transfer.
  5. Every effort will be made to provide pastoral/spiritual care as desired from the patient’s pastor, priest, rabbi or other religious leader or from Spectrum Health’s pastoral care services, if available.
  6. To be told how to file complaints and settle disputes, arguments or conflicts. Resources include services such as Patient Relations, Ethics Committee and other regulatory agencies as required by law.
  7. To be able to use protective and advocacy services as needed.
  8. To have a family member or a representative of their choice and their physician notified promptly of their admission.
  9.  Equal access to communications and electronic and information technology for individuals with disabilities.

II. Patients Have the Right to Receive Information about Their Treatment and Health Care Team

A. The patient can expect the health team to provide:

  1. Clear explanations about diagnosis and treatment.
  2. Information about specific treatments or procedures, including their benefits and risks, and the medically reasonable options to these treatments.
  3. The name and professional title of the physician in charge of the patient’s care and the names and titles of other health care providers.
  4. Results of treatments, including unexpected results, from their physician or their designee.
  5. Access to their medical record. It is encouraged that the patient will review their record with their physician or designee. The patient also has the right to ask for and receive a copy of his or her own medical record for a fair fee.
  6. The patient’s chart or other personal health information to third parties only when approved by the patient (except as required or allowed by law for treatment, payment or health care operations).

III. Patients Have the Right to Make Decisions about Their Own Care

A. The patient or their legally designated representative can expect:

  1.  To participate and make decisions about their own health care and care planning.
  2. To be encouraged to take an active involvement in their care as a patient safety strategy.
  3. To have the choice to accept or refuse medical care and treatment to the extent allowed by law and to be told of the medical results of these decisions.
  4. The opportunity to complete an Advance Directive and know that it will be followed to the extent allowed by law. If asked, the hospital and care team can help the patient prepare the Advance Directive.
  5. To have the right to a second opinion with another physician, at their own request and expense.
  6. To seek the advice or opinion of the Ethics Committee.
  7. To make decisions to include or exclude any or all family members or significant others in the involvement of their care.
  8. To get information about end of life care.
  9. An explanation of their bill, financial assistance and payment options.  Patients also have a right to receive a copy of their bill, regardless of payer. 

IV. Patients Have the Right to be Comfortable and Safe

A. They can expect:

  1. To have care provided in a safe, secure and efficient environment, free from abuse and harassment. Chemical or physical restraints will only be used in emergencies to protect the patient and/or others.
  2. To have ongoing assessment of their pain and be involved in plans to manage pain. The patient can expect:
    • To have information about pain and pain relief options.
    • A concerned staff dedicated to preventing pain.
    • Health professionals who respond quickly to reports of pain.
  3. To receive care in a setting that maintains the patient’s dignity through personal space and clothing suited to their condition.
  4. To be told of the experimental nature of suggested procedures or treatments and have the right to refuse those treatments without affecting their care.
  5. A validation of their name and date of birth through a visual inspection (ID band or other documents) and verbal acknowledgement before any medical treatment or intervention is provided to the patient.
  6. To receive information about how to report concerns, including concerns about safety and to be encouraged to do so without retaliation.

V. Patients Have the Right to Have Privacy and Confidentiality

A. They can expect:

  1. To have personal privacy, including privacy of personal medical information.
  2. To have the right to refuse to talk with or see anyone not officially connected with the hospital. This includes visitors or others not directly involved in providing care.
  3. To have the use of a telephone for private conversations.
  4. To be interviewed and examined in a setting that provides reasonable privacy in sight and sound.
  5. To have a person of the same sex present during exams or procedures, if requested.
  6. To remain disrobed only as long as is needed for medical purposes.
  7. To be asked for written consent for any filming or recording to be used for any purpose other than identification, diagnosis and treatment. 

VI. Patient Responsibilities

A. The patient is responsible to:

  1. Provide a complete, accurate and honest medical history and information including:
    • Nature of your illness.
    • Past illnesses and hospitalizations.
    • Specific problems, symptoms, pain or concerns.
    • Medication (prescription, over the counter and herbal) history, (including dose and frequency), reactions to medications (foods and latex) and concerns.
    • Changes in your medical condition, as they happen.
  2. Speak up and ask questions if you do not understand the treatment plan and your role in the plan.
  3. Make informed decisions about your care.
  4. Follow the recommendations, advice and treatment course arranged between you and your health care team.
  5. Follow Spectrum Health’s rules about patient care and conduct to support quality care and a safe environment, such as:
    • Respecting the rights of other patients and Spectrum Health staff and property.
    • Following our tobacco-free environment policy.
    • Knowing the name of the physician in charge of your care.
  6. Provide complete, accurate and timely information about the sources of payment for the care provided and fulfill financial obligations in a timely manner. Emergency care will not be delayed while we gather this information.
  7. Accept and recognize responsibility for the medical results if you refuse treatment or do not follow the health care provider’s instructions.


VII. Concerns and Complaints

If a patient has a concern or complaint, we value hearing from them and encourage them to contact the Patient Relations Department. We will work with the patient and family to address and resolve their concerns. They also have the right to file a complaint at any time with The State of Michigan, The Joint Commission, Community Health Accreditation Partner, or the Office of Civil Rights. 

Spectrum Health Patient Relations

To contact the state licensing agency:
Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Bureau of Community and Health Systems
Health Facilities Division
P.O. Box 30664,
Lansing, MI 48909
State of Michigan Complaint Hotline:

To contact the organizations which deem Spectrum Health Hospitals to be accredited:

DNV GL (Spectrum Health Ludington only):

If you are not able to resolve or diffuse the issue with the organization’s patient advocate and want to take further action, please contact DNV GL:
On the Web: 
(Use the Hospital Complaint link on right side)
By email:
By phone: 866.496.9647
By mail: 
400 Techne Center Dr. 
Suite 100
Milford, OH 45150
Attn: Complaints

The Joint Commission (excluding Spectrum Health Ludington):
On the web:
(Use the “Report a Patient Safety Event” link in the “Action Center” on the home page of the website)
By fax: 630-792-5636
By mail: 
Office of Quality and Patient Safety
The Joint Commission
One Renaissance Boulevard
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181

To contact the office of civil rights:
Michigan Department of Civil Rights
350 Ottawa Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503