House Passes Patient Bill Of Rights Legislation

It heads to the State Senate.


Annapolis, Md (KM) After four years of trying, patient bill of rights legislation has passed the Maryland House of Delegates. The vote on Monday was unanimous. “I am absolutely delighted this, assuming it passes on the Senate side as well, will be a major victory for consumer rights groups,” says Frederick County Delegate Karen Lewis Young (D), the bill’s sponsor.

She says this legislation updates¬† the current patient bill of rights which dates back to 1978. “Basically, there are now 24 rights, and they are more in tuned with the kinds of things that patients need¬† today when they are admitted to a hospital,” says Young.

Some of those rights require a hospitals to inform patients of their bill of rights, post them in a conspicuous place and train staff on the patients bill of rights.; “If a patient doesn’t speak English, they would get some assistance,” says Young.

“A patient must receive considerate, respectful and compassionate care, safe environment,” she says. “If there are any tests, the patient has to agree. The patient would be free from restraints unless it’s needed for safety.”

Delegate Young says while she was working to get this legislation passed over the past four years, it ran into some strong opposition.”The Hospital Association resisted, and they are a very strong group,” she says. “They felt it wasn’t necessary.”

Many hospitals have patient bills of rights, says Young, but they’re often inconsistent from one hospital to the other. “For example, Frederick Memorial Hospital has a patient bill of rights with only 12 rights. So this will double it.”

The legislation updating the patient bill of rights now heads to the State Senate.


By Kevin McManus