Patient Rights and Privacy

We strive to preserve your rights as an individual. We also ask that you and your visitors be considerate of the rights of others.

Bill of rights

The Patients' Bill of Rights was first enacted into law as part of the Older Americans' Act of 1965. Following, NH codified its NH Patient's Bill of Rights in RSA 151:21. It applies to all individuals in hospitals, residential care facilities, nursing homes, and all other healthcare locations licensed under the provisions of RSA 151:21.

If you have questions about your rights as a patient, or if you would like a copy of the state statute that lists your rights, please contact Patient and Family Relations.

Learn about your rights and responsibilities as a patient at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinics, and Dartmouth Health below.

Patient rights

You have the right to:

Be treated with respect and dignity.

  • To feel safe while in the hospital.
  • To be called by the name and pronouns you choose.
  • To have your cultural background, spiritual and personal values, beliefs and preferences respected.
  • To NOT be treated differently because of your age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, financial status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

Have your own doctor and the person of your choice told when you are admitted to the hospital.

The person of your choice can be with you during your hospital stay as long as this does not interfere with the rights and safety of others or your agreed-upon plan of care.

Know the names of the doctors and staff on your care team.

You have the right to ask questions as well as for help, and to get clear and timely responses. We want you to ask questions and understand your care.

Know about what brought you to the hospital (your diagnosis), so you can take part in planning your care and treatment, understand your care choices, and know how they will affect your health and well-being.

  • You may ask to talk with different doctors about procedures, tests, and the results, as well as the medical outlook for your future.
  • You may say "no" to any care, tests or treatments, to the extent allowed by law.
  • You have the right to have things explained in your preferred language.
  • You have the right to get information in a manner you can understand and to have the person of your choice involved in making decisions.
  • You have the right to be part of making end-of-life decisions. We suggest that you complete Advance Directives to let us know how you want to be treated if you are not able to speak for yourself. You can choose a person to decide and speak for you.

Have as little pain as possible during your hospital stay, a test, or treatment.

  • We will plan with you how to manage pain and help you understand it.
  • We will check with you about how you are feeling and change the plan as needed to keep you as pain-free as possible.

Not be restrained or kept away from others unless we must take action to keep you and others safe.

A doctor may, in writing, set a specific and limited time frame for restraint to protect the patient or others from injury.

Expect reasonable privacy.

You may expect to talk with all members of your healthcare team with as much privacy as the situation allows. Anything you tell them will be shared ONLY with others who need to know to do their jobs.

Know what's in your medical records.

  • Your medical records are private.
  • You may look at your records and get a copy or summary within 30 days of your request. If we cannot meet this deadline, we will give you as much as possible and tell you when all your records will be ready. This will be within 60 days of your request. We may charge you a reasonable, cost-based fee for copies of your records.
  • We must report certain conditions even without your permission. These include: work-related contact with poisons or other harmful materials, child abuse and elder abuse.
  • In some cases involving concern about your care, we may share information in medical records with our lawyers and agents.
  • To have us send your records to another healthcare facility or provider please call the medical records office at one of our locations below:
    Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center
    Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinics Concord
    Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinics Manchester
    Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinics Nashua

Get written notice of how your health information will be used and shared in order for you to get the highest quality of care.

This is called our Notice of Privacy Practices. It contains patient rights and our legal duties regarding your health information. You may ask any staff member for a copy of this Notice.

If you are unhappy with your care, speak with any member of your healthcare team, Patient and Family Relations, or specially trained volunteers called Patient Voices Volunteers.

  • Your care will not be affected in any way.
  • We will listen and try to help solve your concern right away. If we cannot, we will try to do so within 7 days. You will be given:
    • A contact person.
    • Information on what to expect from us (including whom we will talk to on your behalf)
    • When you will hear back from us.
    • What we have learned.
  • Please refer to the NH Patients' Bill of Rights that can be found on our website.
  • If we cannot meet your needs, you can contact:

Be told fully about any research study in which you are asked to take part.

  • This discussion should take place before you agree to take part in the study.
  • If you are under age 18, your parent or guardian must give permission before any tests or treatments can be given as part of the research study.
  • You have the right to refuse to join a research study. If you refuse, it will not affect getting treatment here in the future

Get instructions you can understand before leaving the hospital.

These instructions will describe how you and your caregivers can help you recover and offer an ongoing healthcare plan for home.

Leave the hospital even if your doctor advises against it.

  • You may not leave if you have certain infectious diseases that could affect the health of others, OR if you are not able to provide for your own health and safety OR other people’s safety is at risk as defined by law.
  • You must sign a form saying the Medical Center is not responsible for any harm that comes to you as a result of leaving the facility.

Be told about services to help pay for your care to reduce concerns about paying your bill.

You have the right to look at your bills and have them explained. You can get this information from Patient Financial Services at 1-844-808-0730. This number is for Conifer Health Solutions, who will assist you on our behalf, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm.

Your responsibilities (what you must do) as a patient or family member

We ask that you take an active role in your own care to help your care team meet your needs. This is why we ask you and your family to share with us certain responsibilities.

You should:

Be honest and tell us all you know about your past and present health.

  • Share with your doctor or nurse if you think you are at risk, if your health has changed and the medicines you are taking.
  • Tell us about anything at home or work that may affect your ability to care for yourself, so we can direct you to resources that may help.
  • Tell us if you feel you cannot follow a plan of care or tell us when things do not seem to be going well so that, together, we can develop the right plan for you.
  • Fill out and tell us about your Advanced Directives (Living Will and/or Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare) so we know who will speak for you if you are unable to speak for yourself.

Ask questions about anything you do not understand, including your treatment plan or what is expected of you.

This includes making sure you understand the possible risks, benefits and side effects of your treatment.

Follow the plan developed by you and your treatment team.

If you have a concern about the plan, it is up to you to talk about it with your doctors and nurses.

Accept responsibility for your actions if you refuse treatment or do not follow instructions.

Your treatment plan may recommend that you take action about exercise, not smoking and eating a healthy diet.

Make a good faith effort to pay your medical bills in a timely fashion or ask for help to manage them.

  • We provide care for emergency medical conditions and medically necessary services despite inability to pay or eligibility for financial or government assistance.
  • We provide financial assistance to persons who have healthcare needs and are uninsured, underinsured, or ineligible for a government program or are otherwise unable to pay, for medically necessary care or emergency medical conditions based on the individual financial situation.
  • We will make reasonable efforts to determine whether a patient is eligible for financial assistance before starting collection actions.
  • For more information, please call 1-844-808-0730 or see our Financial Assistance Policy brochure.

Follow the rules and regulations of Dartmouth Health, including the no smoking, alcohol, firearms and weapon policies.

  • We are a totally smoke-free and tobacco-free campus.
  • Smoking is not allowed inside or outside the buildings on the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center campus or any of the Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinics locations (this includes adjoining sidewalks, parking lots, and driveways).
  • People can only smoke inside their car if parked on campus, except in the parking garage.
  • Alcoholic beverages and illicit drugs are not allowed to be brought to or consumed on our property by patients, families, or visitors.
  • We do not permit patients or visitors to carry or possess weapons. Weapons include firearms, knives, and mace (pepper spray). Please leave all of your weapons at home. Thank you.
  • This policy applies to everyone.

Take care and be kind and thoughtful at all times to the staff, other patients, visitors, and Dartmouth Health property.

  • Speak to caregivers with respect. If you are angry or upset about your care, you can get help from a staff member or Patient Relations.
  • Everyone expects all our spaces to feel safe, caring, and inclusive.
  • Words or actions that are not respectful, or are hostile, harassing or discriminatory are not welcome. Do NOT use or make:
    • Offensive comments about others’ race, accent, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or other personal traits and do NOT refuse to see a clinician or other staff member based on these personal traits.
    • Physical or verbal threats or assaults.
    • Sexual or vulgar words or actions.
  • Do NOT disrupt another patient’s care or experience.
  • Words or actions noted above may lead to patients being asked to go elsewhere for future non-emergency care. We will carefully consider all points of view before we make any decision.
  • If you see any of these behaviors or have them happen to you, please report it to a member of your care team.

If you have questions about your rights as a patient, or if you would like a copy of the New Hampshire state law which lists your rights, please call the Patient and Family Relations during business hours at 603-650-4429. After 5 pm and on weekends, call 603-650-5000 and ask for the House Supervisor.

Notice of privacy practices

This notice describes how medical information about you may be used and shared and how you can get access to this information.

See Notice of Privacy Practices on the Dartmouth Health website.