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975 East Third Street
Chattanooga, TN 37403
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Patient's Rights

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We are pleased you have chosen Erlanger Health System as your healthcare provider. We have a code of medical practice that all staff members and volunteers follow. We recognize the equal value of each individual we serve, and our promise to you is that you will receive respectful and compassionate care. We promote trust, support and care for each other by sharing the same mission, vision and values.

Our Healthcare Mission: To improve the lives of the people we touch.

Our Healthcare Vision: To be recognized locally, regionally and nationally as a premiere healthcare system.


Patient Rights

You, the patient, have the right to:

  • Competent, safe, considerate, respectful and dignified care
  • Be informed of your condition (diagnosis, recommended treatment and prognosis)
  • Be involved in care planning and treatment
  • Consent to all treatment
  • Refuse treatment and drugs and refuse any experimental treatment and drugs as regards your care
  • Be informed of risks, benefits and alternatives to treatment
  • A second opinion
  • Formulate and have honored an Advance Directive
  • Know about the Do Not Resuscitate policy
  • Privacy in treatment and personal care
  • Confidentiality including your medical records
  • Review your medical records and have them explained to you by your physician
  • Know hospital rules
  • Know about hospital resources including: patient representatives and the Ethics Committee and other ways to voice concerns
  • Have a family member and your physician notified of your admission
  • Wear appropriate personal clothing, religious or other symbolic items which do not interfere with prescribed treatment or procedures
  • Receive care in a safe setting and to be free from mental or physical abuse of harassment
  • Have your guardian or legal designee exercise your rights when you are unable to do so or if you are a minor
  • Access to your health information (Protected Health Information and options to modify such information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • Have your pain assessed and managed when you are admitted and throughout your hospital stay

To help us keep our promises to you and to help us with your care, please:

  • Cooperate to the best of your ability with your plan of care as developed by your healthcare providers
  • Provide honest and complete information about your health status
  • Give us feedback (questions, comments or concerns) about your met or unmet needs for further evaluation
  • Follow hospital guidelines to protect yourself and others
  • Keep your scheduled appointments as able, to notify your healthcare provider of any changes
  • Know that financial information may be required and that you may ask about financial assistance
  • Respect others.

The Patient's Bill of Rights is emphasized within Erlanger because we are dedicated to giving our patients the best care possible while protecting their dignity as human beings. If you feel you or your child are not being treated fairly or properly, you have the right to discuss this with your doctor or nurse.

Erlanger has an Ethics Committee that supports patients, families, hospital staff and physicians. This committee provides educational opportunities, assists in the development of guidelines and reviews individual patient cases. The Ethics Committee serves only as an advisory body. The committee does not make patient care decisions, nor does it have any enforcement power for its recommendations, but is a confidential forum to help resolve ethical conflicts. Requests can be made at any time by any individual who has a concern about an existing or potential ethical issue related to medical care. To initiate an ethics consult or to express any concerns, please contact an Administrative Representative/House Supervisor at Ext. 6168.

You have the right to complain to State Agency if Erlanger has been unwilling to address a problem. If you wish to do this, call (865) 588-5656 for the East Tennessee Office of the Department of Health.

NOTE: The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hospital Authority (Erlanger Health System) complies with the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975. No individual shall, on the grounds of race, sex, color, creed, national origin, age or handicap be kept from participating, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise discriminated against, under any programs or services offered by the Authority.

If you have a complaint regarding Title VI regulations or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, you may contact the Erlanger Human Resources Vice President at (423) 778-7403.


Advance Directives and Organ Donation

As noted in the patient rights listed on preceding pages, you have the right to be involved in your healthcare plan and make choices about your healthcare treatment. Sometimes, medical care cannot cure a deadly illness or injury. You have the right to stop or prevent treatment if you do not believe it is beneficial. These instructions are known as an Advance Directive. They should be written and discussed with your family and medical team. Your Advance Directive may include end-of-life treatment choices that provide direction to your family and medical team to assure that your care is provided with dignity, comfort and the support of your loved ones. This document explains how to give instructions to your doctors to help you avoid medical treatment that you may not want.

What is an Advance Directive?
Advance Directives are documents that express your wishes if you are very ill or unconscious and cannot speak for yourself. By completing an Advance Directive before you are very ill or injured, you let your doctor and family know what you want.

What does the law say about Advance Directives?
The Federal Patient Self-Determination Act of 1990 and the 2004 Tennessee Healthcare Decision Act describe your rights to accept and/or refuse treatment. These acts require all healthcare providers to give you written information like this, to ask you if you have advance directives and to write down your answers. If you have an advance directive, bring it with you when you check in to the hospital. Someone here must put a copy of it in your patient record. You can also ask someone questions about advance directives. Blank forms are available on request when your check into the hospital.

Why should I complete an Advance Directive?
Without an Advance Directive, your family or friends could have a hard time making decisions for you, and your doctors might not know who should make the decisions for you. Signing an Advance Directive is a gift for your loved ones, making it easier for them to carry out your wishes and helping them ensure you get treatment that is right for you.

Do I have to complete an Advance Directive?
No. No one can force you to complete an Advance Directive. You cannot be denied care because you do not have an Advance Directive.

Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama Advance Directives
In Tennessee, we have two kinds of Advance Directives. An Advance Care Plan (called a Living Will) lets you write down your choices. An Appointment of Healthcare Agent (Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare or Healthcare Proxy) lets you assign a family member, friend, or other person to make decisions for you when you cannot. If you have an Advance Directive that is properly completed in another state, Erlanger will honor it.
Georgia and Alabama have their own Advance Directive forms.
To obtain copies of all these forms after you check into the hospital, ask your caregiver or contact the Erlanger Case Management Office at (423) 778-7654. After hours and weekends, call the Erlanger Administrative Representatives/House Supervisors at (423) 778-6168.


Living Will/Advance Care Plan

What is a Living Will/Advance Care Plan?
This is a legal form that lets you say you don't want to be kept alive in certain situations or that you do wish to be kept alive if at all possible. Unlike a normal will, a Living Will/Advance Care Plan says nothing about who gets your money when you pass away. It does allow you to avoid certain treatments, if that is your wish, and to make decisions about your medical care.

What treatments can I refuse?
You can choose to refuse many medical and surgical treatments, including food and water. In the Tennessee Advance Care Plan form we provided in this booklet, you can choose to avoid: (please see form for details)

  • CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation)
  • Life Support/Other Artificial Support
  • Treatment of New Conditions
  • Tube Feeding/IV Fluids

If you want, you can add other choices to the form. Talk with your doctor about other treatments you might want to refuse.

Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare/Appointment of Healthcare Agent

What is a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare/Appointment of Healthcare Agent?
Here's how it works: You name a person to make healthcare decisions for you in the event you cannot speak for yourself. This person is called your agent. Your agent should be someone you trust and know well. Talk with your agent. Explain in detail what care you would want if you were sick or hurt. A healthcare agent can agree to refuse or take away any kind treatment. Make sure they understand your choices and are prepared to carry out your wishes. That way, your agent can make the right choices for you.

Please note: A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare or Appointment of Healthcare Agent doesn't allow someone to make financial decisions for you.

How can I make sure that people know about my Advance Directives?
The simplest way is to make copies. Give copies to your doctor, your family and close friends and to your healthcare agent. Bring a copy whenever you go into the hospital, a nursing facility or to a new doctor.

What else should I know about Advance Directives?
When executing a written advance care plan in Tennessee:

  • Advance Directives may be witnessed by two witnesses or notarized
  • Healthcare center employees may act as one of the witnesses
  • Witnesses may not be the agent (attorney-in-fact) and at least one may not be related to the patient in any manner nor entitled to any portion of the principal's (patient's) estate upon his/her death.
  • Anyone wishing to complete an Advance Directive must be at least 18 years of age.

Organ Donation

Can I use these forms to become an organ donor?
The Tennessee Advance Care Plan lets you decide in advance to become an organ and tissue donor. Indicate your choice in the section on the form. Make sure your family understands your decision. This is important because without a clear expression of your decision, your gift could be lost.

For complete information about organ and tissue donation, please contact Tennessee Donor Services at (423) 756-5736.

Thank you for reading this information. You don't need a lawyer to complete these forms, but if you need legal advice, please contact an attorney.