NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FOR WEEK OF JANUARY 30th, 2017
TITLE: DELEGATE PAT McDONOUGH SUPPORTS NEW PATIENTS’ RIGHTS ACT
More than 650,000 patients are admitted to Maryland hospitals a year and millions more are seen as outpatients or in emergency rooms. Unfortunately, Maryland hospitals rank at the very bottom in the United States and are tied with Nevada in 50th place according to a national patient satisfaction survey conducted by the federal government.
Twenty (20) other states have a comprehensive and transparent bill of rights for patients. Currently, Maryland has a 1978 law containing only two sentences and the rights are not listed! Instead the law refers to a joint commission which withholds information from the patient. The 1978 law states that the hospital will “make available” a list of rights to the patient only if they ask for them. Many patients never know they have rights.
The current law lacks detail and transparency. Analysis of online patients’ rights shows a huge variability among hospitals. The rights vary from hospital to hospital. The grievance and complaint process is broken. Complaints filed to the joint commission or the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene are routinely returned back to the hospitals to investigate themselves. Amazingly, the patient is not allowed to see the results of these investigations.
The New Patients’ Bill of Rights lists those rights in plain language. It will require that patients will receive a written copy of their rights and the rights must be posted in a visible location. The staff must be trained annually about patients’ rights and the rights must be applied consistently among all hospitals.
Delegate McDonough stated, “I am proud to be the first co-sponsor of this important legislation that will protect all Marylanders when they are in their most vulnerable time of life. It is embarrassing and unacceptable that our state would be last in the nation in the protection and safety of our patients. Marylanders are proud of the hospitals and health care institutions we have in our state, but there was a regrettable lack of quality when it comes to the rights of patients and this problem will finally be fixed with the new legislation,” Delegate McDonough concluded.