It’s always important to have a thorough discussion with your healthcare provider prior to receiving treatment. This gives you the opportunity to ask questions about treatment, length of treatment, and most importantly, what your rights are. Many healthcare providers will review your rights with you, your loved one, or friend prior to treatment. In some cases, you may need to ask the person discussing your rights to detail everything. Of course, you don’t want to make anyone’s job more difficult, but you do what to safeguard yourself or loved one. 

As a result of the Affordable Care Act, patients now have the right to make informed choices about both their medical and mental health care. Patients are also able to give healthcare providers informed consent (permission to care for them) before accepting healthcare. This Act puts patients more in the driver’s seat and provides consumers with increased autonomy. Some clauses have already been included in our healthcare system as of 2010, while others will be incorporated more slowly.

The Affordable Care Act provides 3 major benefits to consumers of healthcare:

  1. Extended healthcare coverage for your children
  2. Removing insurance company barriers
  3. Increased chance for coverage with a pre-existing condition


With potential advances and changes in healthcare, it is important that you know what your rights are as a patient. Here is a list of rights that you have:

  1. Taking part in treatment decisions: You have the right to accept or reject treatment.
  2. Confidentiality: You have a moral and legal right to privacy. See my previous article.
  3. Request of records: Every patient or client has the right to request their records and know what their diagnosis is.
  4. Complain: Every patient or client has the right to report things they didn’t particularly like in their treatment.
  5. Refuse medication: Every patient or client has the right to refuse medication. However, in some cases medication may be forced where your life or the life of your loved one or friend is in danger. Because of the right to refuse meds, therapists often see multiple cases of poor medication adherence.


For fact sheets and FAQ’s on Patient Bill of Rights, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Center’s for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Also check into: “A patient’s guide to the HIPAA privacy rule” for further information.


All the best




Creative Commons License photo credit: Martin Lundgren


Reference (2012). Patient’s bill of rights. Retrieved February 1, 2013, from (2010). The Affordable Care Act’s new patient bill of rights. Retrieved February 1, 2013, from 

MedLinePlus. (2013). Patient Rights. Retrieved February 1, 2013, from



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    Last reviewed: 16 Mar 2013

APA Reference
Hill, T. (2013). When Your Loved One Needs Care: Patient Rights. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 1, 2015, from


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