Patient Bill of Rights

One of the goals of Palisades Medical Center is to provide health care services in a manner that is patient-centered, responsive to physician expectations, accessible to all, and attentive to the patients' social and emotional needs as well as the patient's right for independence of expression, decision, action and personal dignity. In 1990, the State of New Jersey adopted a Patient Bill of Rights that Palisades Medical Center has been practicing ever since. Palisades Medical Center is dedicated to these principles!

Every Palisades Medical Center patient has the right to:

  • Receive the care and health services that the hospital is required to provide under rules adopted by the New Jersey State Department of Health;
  • Treatment without discrimination based on race, age, religion, national origin, sex, sexual preferences, handicap, diagnosis, ability to pay, or source of payment;
  • Retain and exercise, as fully as possible, all constitutional, civil, and legal rights entitled to by law;
  • Be informed of the names and functions of all physicians and other health care professionals who are providing direct care to the patient. These people will identify themselves by introduction or by wearing a name tag;
  • Receive the services of a translator or interpreter to facilitate communication;
  • Receive an explanation of the patient's complete medical condition, recommended treatment, risk(s) of the treatment, expected results, and reasonable medical alternatives. When it is not medically advisable to give such information to the patient, or when the patient is not capable of understanding it, the explanation will be given to an appropriate person on the patient's behalf, and will be documented in the patient’s medical record;
  • Give informed, written consent before the start of non-emergency procedures or treatments only after a physician has explained, in terms that are understandable to the patient, specific details about the recommended procedure or treatment, the risks involved, the possible duration of incapacitation, and reasonable medical alternatives. If the patient is incapable of giving informed, written consent, consent shall be sought from an appropriate person or through an advance directive. If the patient does not give written consent, a physician will enter an explanation in the patient’s medical record;
  • Refuse medication and treatment after the possible consequences have been explained in terms the patient understands, except in life-threatening situations and when medication or treatment is required by law;
  • Participate in experimental research only when informed, written consent is given;
  • Be informed if the hospital has authorized other health care and educational institutions to participate in the patient's treatment. The patient also has the right to know the identity and function of these institutions, and may refuse to allow such participation;
  • Be informed of the hospital's policies and procedures regarding life-saving methods and the use or withdrawal of life-support mechanisms. Upon request, these policies will be made available;
  • Be informed by the attending physician and other health care providers about continuing health care requirements. The patient also has the right to receive assistance from the physician and appropriate hospital staff in arranging for required follow-up care after discharge;
  • Receive sufficient time before discharge to arrange for health care needs after hospitalization;
  • Be informed about any discharge appeal process to which the patient is entitled by law;
  • Be transferred to another facility ONLY for one of the following reasons: 1) this hospital is unable to provide the type or level of medical care appropriate for the patient's needs; 2) the transfer is requested by the patient or responsible party;
  • Receive from a physician an explanation for the transfer and information about alternatives;
  • Be treated with courtesy, consideration and respect;
  • Freedom from physical and mental abuse;
  • Freedom from restraints, unless they are authorized by a physician for a limited period of time to protect the patient or others from injury;
  • Have physical privacy during medical treatment and personal hygiene functions, unless the patient needs assistance;
  • Confidential treatment of information about the patient. Information in the patient's records will not be released to anyone outside the hospital without the patient's approval, unless another health care facility to which the patient was transferred requires it, or unless release of the information is required and permitted by law, a third-party payment contract, a medical peer review, or the New Jersey State Department of Health;
  • Receive a copy of the hospital payment rates, regardless of source of payment. Upon request, an itemized bill, and an explanation of the charges, will be provided, as well as an explanation of the procedures to follow to appeal charges;
  • Be advised in writing of the hospital rules and regulations that apply to the conduct of patients and visitors;
  • Have prompt access to the information contained in the medical record, unless a physician prohibits such access as detrimental to the patient's health, and explains the reason in the medical record. In that case, the patient’s next of kin or guardian will have the right to see the record;• Obtain a copy of the medical record, at a reasonable fee, within 30 days of a written request to the hospital unless access has been medically contraindicated. The medical record will be made available to a legally authorized representative of the patient or the patient's physician;
  • Have access to individual storage space in the patient's room for private use. If the patient is unable to assume responsibility for personal items, the items will be safeguarded until the patient or next of kin is able to assume responsibility;
  • Receive a summary of these patient rights and any additional hospital policies and procedures involving patient rights and responsibilities. (Complete copies of these rights shall be available for review at nurse stations and other patient care registration areas in the hospital.)
  • Present grievances to a representative of the hospital and to receive answers within a reasonable period of time. The hospital is also required to provide the patient or guardian with the telephone numbers of government agencies to which complaints can be made or questions asked, including the New Jersey Department of Health Complaint Hotline at 1 (800) 792-9770;
  • Be assisted in obtaining public assistance and private health care benefits to which the patient may be entitled;
  • Contract directly with a New Jersey licensed registered professional nurse of the patient's choosing for private professional nursing care during hospitalization. Upon request, the patient will be provided with a list of local nonprofit professional nurses association registries that refer nurses for private care.

Patient Responsibilities

Every patient also has certain responsibilities. Patients are responsible for:

  • Providing accurate and complete information about present complaints, past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications and other matters relating to the patient's health. The patient has the responsibility to report unexpected changes in condition and to indicate whether the proposed course of action is clearly understood;
  • Following the treatment plan recommended by the practitioner primarily responsible for the patient's care; for keeping appointments and, when unable to do so for any reason, for notifying the responsible physician or hospital;
  • Their own actions if treatment is refused or if the physician's instructions are not followed;
  • Assuring that the financial obligations of their health care are fulfilled as promptly as possible;
  • Following hospital rules and regulations affecting patient care and conduct;
  • Being considerate of the rights of other patients and hospital personnel and for assisting in the control of noise, smoking, and the number of visitors and for being respectful of the property of other persons and of the hospital;
  • Complying with the hospital's no smoking policy and for informing visitors, friends, family and relatives who may visit not to smoke anywhere in the hospital.

Complaint Process

Patients who believe their rights have been violated, or have suggestions as to how we may improve services, may file a written suggestion or complaint to:

Office of the President
Palisades Medical Center
7600 River Road
North Bergen, NJ 07047

A written response to the suggestion or complaint will be sent to the patient or the patient's designee. If you or your designee wish to discuss your concern, please call the Office of the President, at (201) 854-5001.

If you have concerns regarding safety or quality of care, or if your concerns have not been resolved through our Complaint Process, you may call Joint Commission at (800) 994-6610.