Berkshire Health Systems - The region's leading provider of comprehensive health care services
Berkshire Medical Center Northern Berkshire Campus of BMC Fairview Hospital Berkshire VNA & Hospice Long Term Care
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Patient Rights & Responsibilities

In compliance with Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter III, Section 70E, every patient is entitled to a written notice of his/her established rights and responsibilities. 

Privacy and Confidentiality

  • You have the right to privacy.
  • All communications and records pertaining to your care will be treated as confidential, except in cases of abuse and public health hazards.
  • You may review your record. Your physician or nurse will assist you with this.
  • You will be examined in private and may request a person of your sex to be present during the exam. Every effort will be made to accommodate your request.
  • You have the right to know the identity of those providing care.  


  • You are encouraged to seek information and to ask for explanations of your condition, diagnosis and prognosis, and any treatment offered.
  • In the case of breast cancer patients, you have the right to information about alternative treatments.
  • You have the right to be informed of hospital polices and practices as they relate to patient care, treatment, and responsibilities.
  • You have the right to receive an itemized bill and an itemized explanation of all charges. 

Care and Treatment

  • You will receive impartial access to treatment or admission regardless of race, creed, ethnicity, language spoken, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, nationality, religion or source of payment.
  • You have the right to accept or refuse care. If you refuse treatment, you will be told what effect this may have on your health.
  • You may refuse to be a research subject or to be examined or treated when not for a therapeutic purpose.
  • You may refuse to talk with or see anyone not officially connected with the hospital.
  • You have the right to refuse to be examined, observed, or treated by students (without jeopardizing care).
  • You have the right to prompt lifesaving treatment in an emergency situation, regardless of ability to pay. 


  • If you cannot speak or understand English, interpreter services will be available.
  • If you are deaf or hard of hearing, a sign language interpreter will be requested through the Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
  • You have the right to have all reasonable requests responded to within the capacity of the staff and hospital. 

Complaint Process

  • You have the right to complain without fear of reprisal. This process can be initiated by you, your family, or significant others. Please contact the nursing director or clinical leader of your nursing unit, or Patient Relations at 413-447-2466.
  • In addition, you have the right to report your concerns to the Board of Registration in medicine or to the Department of Public Health’s Office for Patient Protection at 1-800-436-7757 (Hotline), or the Joint Commission’s Office of Quality Monitoring at 1-800-994-6610 or
  • The patient has the right to access an internal grievance process and also to appeal to an external agency. (The information provided to the patient must include the phone number and address of the appropriate state agency and the manner in which patients could refer quality of care issues to the appropriate peer review organization). 

Additional Rights (In accordance with HCFACOP Rule 482.13)

  • The patient has the right to expect that a family member or representative and physician will be notified promptly of the patient’s admission to the hospital, unless the patient requests this not be done.
  • The patient has the right to designate virtually anyone – a family member, a domestic partner, representative, friend or other individual to be present with the patient for emotional support.
  • The patient has the right to receive care in a safe setting, free from abuse or harassment.
  • The patient has the right to unrestricted access to communication, visitors, mail, telephone calls, unless clinically contraindicated. Any restrictions are explained fully to the patient.
  • The patient has reasonable access to his or her medical records.
  • The patient has the right to be free from restraints or seclusion imposed as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience, or retaliation by staff.
  • The patient has the right to have issues related to care at the end of life addressed with sensitivity.
  • The patient has the right to have his or her rights protected during research, investigation, and clinical trials involving human subjects.
  • The patient has the right to access pastoral care and spiritual services. 

Patient Responsibilities

  • Provide accurate and complete information about present complaints, past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications, and other matters relating to your health. Report any unexpected change in your condition to your doctor or nurse.
  • Cooperate with all hospital personnel who care for you, following their instructions and asking questions when you do not understand directions.
  • Be responsible for your own actions if you refuse treatment or do not follow the instructions of those providing care.
  • Comply with your physician's recommendations regarding your follow-up care, including keeping appointments.
  • Provide information regarding the existence of your Advance Directive.
  • Provide a valid copy of your Advance Directive for inclusion into your medical record.
  • Be considerate of other patients and hospital personnel, and seeing that your visitors are considerate.
  • Observe rules about noise, no smoking and the number of visitors.
  • Be respectful of others, their property, and the hospital's property.
  • Leave your valuable personal items at home or send them home with family if possible.
  • Share your concerns, complaints, and suggestions so we may continually improve our care.
  • Pay your bills or respond to questions about your bills, provide information for insurance processing, and assure that your financial obligations are promptly fulfilled to the extent of your ability.

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