Office of Patient Advocacy

It is the goal of Massachusetts General Hospital to give you the care that is right for your illness and to help you to get well as soon as possible. We are committed to maintaining the rights, dignity and well-being of all patients.

  • If you have a problem that you cannot solve with your doctor, nurse or other caregiver, please call the Office of Patient Advocacy at 617-726-3370.

If you have any questions about these Rights and Responsibilities, or would like a complete set of the law called the Massachusetts Patient Bill of Rights, please call the Office of Patient Advocacy at 617-726-3370.

These Are Your Rights:

  • You have the right to be treated in a caring and polite way.
  • You have a right to know all the facts we have about your illness, treatments and possible outcomes. Your doctor or other health care giver will give these facts to you.
  • You have the right to know the name and specialty of the doctor responsible for your care.
  • You have the right to say yes to treatment. You also have the right to say no or refuse treatment
  • You have the right to agree to an advance directive, such as a health care proxy, which tells the hospital and doctor how you want to be treated and whom you want to make decisions for you if you cannot speak for yourself at the time. The person you choose in your proxy is your Health Care Agent.
  • You have the right to be examined in private by your doctor or other health care giver, and you have the right to talk to your doctor in private.
  • You have the right to look at your medical records and get a copy for a reasonable fee.
  • You have the right to take part in a research study if you are asked. You also have the right to say no if you do not want to take part.
  • You have the right to expect evaluation and treatment of pain.
  • You have the right to expect that we will try to get back to you as quickly as possible when you ask us to do something.
  • If you are a female rape victim of childbearing age, you have the right to be promptly offered emergency contraception upon request, and receive written information about emergency contraception.
  • You have the right to receive written notice of how your health information will be used and shared in order for you to receive the highest quality of care. This is called our Privacy Notice and it contains patient rights and our legal duties regarding your health information. You may request a copy of this Privacy Notice from any staff member.
  • You, your family, your significant other or your guardian have the right to report concerns about safety to your doctor, nurse or other health care giver or by calling our anonymous reporting line at 617-726-1446
  • You, your family, your significant other or your guardian have the right to tell us when something is wrong. This is called presenting a complaint. If you present a complaint, your care will not be affected in any way. If you have a problem that you cannot solve with your doctor, nurse or other caregiver, please call the Office of Patient Advocacy at 617-726-3370. If you send a complaint by fax, e-mail or written letter, OPA will acknowledge your communication within two business days.

  • A representative from OPA will contact you, review your complaint, and make every effort to resolve your concerns at that time. If your complaint cannot be resolved in a timely manner it will become a grievance. OPA will review and resolve the grievance within 10 business days. If other departments are involved in the review, every effort will be made to resolve the issue within 30 days. An OPA representative will communicate with you if there is no resolution within the above time frames. A letter will be sent to you with the resolution. A letter will be sent to you that will include the name of the hospital contact, steps taken for the review, results of the review, and the completion date.

  • You have the right to file a complaint with an outside agency. You can file a quality of care complaint to the Massachusetts Division of Healthcare Quality at 617-753-8150 or to The Joint Commission at 800-994-6610. If you think your civil rights have been violated, you can call the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office at 617-727-2200

The following is a list of your responsibilities in helping us give you the best care while you are in the hospital.

These Are Your Responsibilities:

  • Be honest with us and tell us all you know about your present illness, including other times you have been in the hospital, your health history, your current symptoms and anything else you know about your health that would help us treat you.
  • Tell us the medicines you are taking, including the strength and how often you take them. Include over the counter medications, dietary supplements and herbal products you take and/or alternative medicines or treatments that you receive. Talk about any allergies or reactions you have had to any medications
  • Follow the treatment plan recommended by the practitioner primarily responsible for your care
  • Ask your doctor or nurse when and how you will get the results of tests and procedures
  • Tell us if you do not understand what our staff is saying to you or if you do not understand what they are telling you to do; also please tell us if you think you will not be able to do what is asked of you during your care
  • Make sure you understand what will happen if you need surgery. Tell the surgeon, anesthesiologist and nurses if you have allergies or ever had a bad reaction to anesthesia
  • Make sure that you, the practitioner primarily responsible for your care and your surgeon all agree on exactly what will be done during the operation
  • Accept the responsibility for your actions if you refuse treatment or do not follow your practitioner’s instructions
  • Report unexpected changes in your condition to your doctor, nurse or other caregiver
  • Be considerate of the rights of other patients and hospital personnel and assist in the control of noise and the number of visitors
  • Follow hospital rules and regulations affecting patient care and conduct; including the no smoking policy.
  • Respect the property of others and of the hospital
  • Give the hospital all of the information they will need about the payment of your medical care
  • Ask questions if you do not understand instructions given to you at discharge about the treatment plan that you will use at home, including the medications that you will take and the activities that you can do

If you have any questions about any of this information, or would like a copy of the law called the Massachusetts Patient Bill of Rights, please call the Office of Patient Advocacy at 617-726-3370.