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Patient Rights

As a patient at Mercy, or as the parent or legal guardian of a minor patient at Mercy, you have the following rights:

Respect and Nondiscrimination

You have the right to considerate, respectful and nondiscriminatory care from your physicians, nurses, health care professionals and other hospital employees. You have the right to:

  • Receive care in a safe setting.
  • Be treated kindly and respectfully by all hospital personnel.
  • Exercise cultural and spiritual beliefs that do not interfere with the well-being of others or the planned course of your medical therapy.
  • Be free from all forms of abuse or harassment.
  • Be free from restraint or seclusion of any form that is not medically necessary or that is used as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience or retaliation by staff.

Information Disclosure

You have the right to receive accurate and easily understood information about your health, treatment plan, health care professionals and facilities. If you speak a language other than English, have a physical or mental disability or simply do not understand something, assistance will be provided so that you can make informed decisions about your care. You have the right to:

  • Be informed of your rights before patient care is furnished or discontinued, whenever possible.
  • Receive information about your rights as a Medicare beneficiary upon admission.
  • Be informed of the hospital rules and regulations applicable to your conduct as a patient.
  • Expect that a family member or representative and a physician will be notified promptly upon your admission to the hospital.
  • Know the name, identity and professional status of any person providing health care services to you and to know who is primarily responsible for your care.
  • Receive complete and current information concerning your diagnosis in terms you can understand. As a patient, when it is not medically advisable for you to receive such information it will be given to an appropriate person on your behalf.
  • Receive an explanation of any proposed procedure or treatment, including a description of the nature and purpose of the procedure, known risks or serious side effects and treatment alternatives.
  • Know if your care involves any experimental methods of treatment. If so, you have the right to consent or refuse to participate.
  • Be informed about the type of pain to anticipate and pain relief measures.
  • Be informed by your practitioners of any health-related concerns or instructions for you to follow upon discharge from the hospital.
  • Examine your bill and receive an explanation of the charges regardless of the source of payment for your care.

Participation in Treatment Decisions

You have the right to know all of your treatment options and to participate in decisions about your care. Your spouse, partner, parents, agent or other individuals whom you have designated may represent you if you cannot make your own decisions. You have the right to:

  • Participate in developing and implementing your plan of care.
  • Make informed decisions about your care.
  • Accept medical care or refuse treatment to the extent permitted by law and to be informed of the medical consequences of such refusal.
  • Have advance directives, such as a Living Will or a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and have a health care team that complies with these directives (see section on “Advance Directives” for additional information).

Access to Emergency Services

You have the right to receive screening and stabilizing emergency services whenever and wherever needed if you have severe pain, symptoms or an injury that convinces you that your health is in serious jeopardy. You have the right to:

  • Receive evaluation, service and/or referral as indicated by the urgency of your situation; be given complete information regarding any decision to transfer you to another facility, if such a transfer is medically permissible; and understand the need for and alternatives to a transfer. The facility to which you will be transferred must first accept the transfer.

Pain Management Services

You have the right to pain prevention, relief and management services. You have the right to:

  • Discuss pain relief options with your physician and nurses and work with your health care team to develop a pain management plan.
  • Discuss any worries you have about taking pain medications with your physician and nurses.
  • Report pain at any time and have your pain assessed by health care professionals who believe you and respond quickly with pain management.
  • Notify your physician or nurses if your pain is not relieved and request that your pain relief medication be monitored and adjusted, if needed (see section on “Pain Management Services” for additional information).

Confidentiality and Disclosure of Health Information

You have the right to talk in confidence with health care providers and to have your health information protected. You have the right to review and copy your own medical record and request that your physician amend your record if it is not accurate, relevant or complete. You have the right to:

  • Have personal privacy concerning your own medical care program. Any discussion about your care, consultation among health care professionals about your condition, examination and treatment are confidential and should be conducted discreetly. Persons not directly involved in your care must have your permission to be present. Expect that all communications and clinical records pertaining to your care will be treated confidentially.
  • Access information contained in your medical records within a reasonable time frame.

Complaints and Appeals

You have the right to a fair, fast and objective review of any complaint you have against Mercy or your physician, nurse or other health care professional. This includes complaints about patient care and safety, waiting times, operating hours, the conduct of Mercy personnel and the adequacy of health care facilities.
You have the right to:

  • Use Mercy Medical Center’s complaint process to submit a written or verbal complaint/grievance to the Hospital Representative, available by calling (515) 643-2861, or to your health care practitioners. If necessary, your complaint/grievance will be forwarded to the Patient Grievance Committee for review. If you feel that your concerns about patient care and/or safety at Mercy have not been sufficiently addressed, you are encouraged to contact Mercy Administration at (515) 247-3222. If your concerns still cannot be resolved, you are encouraged to contact the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO) by calling (800) 994-6610 or e-mailing complaint@jcaho.org.
  • Receive a written response from Mercy regarding your grievance within 14 business days from the Patient Grievance Committee’s receipt of your complaint.
  • Refer quality of care concerns, premature discharge grievances or beneficiary complaints to the Iowa Foundation for Medical Care, which is the external peer review organization for hospitals in Iowa. You may send your concern in writing to the Iowa Foundation for Medical Care, 6000 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, IA 50266, or call (800) 752-7014.
  • File grievances regarding the quality of care you received as a dialysis or kidney transplant patient with ESRD Network #12, a not-for-profit corporation that serves as a liaison between end-stage renal disease health care providers and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. You may download a Patient Grievance Form from their Web site at www.network12.org or call (800) 444-9965.
  • Register complaints with the Health Facilities Division of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. You may submit your complaint in writing to the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, Health Facilities Division/Complaint Unit, Lucas State Office Building, 321 E. 12th Street, Des Moines, IA 50319-0083. You may also fax your complaint to (515) 281-7106 or call (877) 686-0027.
  • Contact JCAHO’s Office of Quality Monitoring to report any concerns or register complaints about Mercy by calling (800) 994-6610 or e-mailing complaint@jcaho.org.
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