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Patient Advocacy

Patient Rights & Responsibilities

Patient’s Bill of Rights (PDF)

As a Boston Medical Center (BMC) patient you have the right to:

  • Polite, respectful treatment. BMC does not discriminate based on age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disabilities, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity and/or expression.
  • Prompt, life-saving treatment in the event of an emergency without regard to your ability to pay or to your economic status.
  • Adequate, prompt response to reasonable requests and your need for treatment, whenever possible.
  • Have your pain evaluated and managed.
  • Request the services of a pastor, chaplain or a clergy member of your religious preference and respect toward your religious, spiritual and cultural beliefs.
  • Services of a medical interpreter at no cost to you.
  • Reasonable privacy during medical treatments, medical care, and conversations.
  • Confidentiality of your medical history and treatment records to the extent provided by law.
  • Have your doctor or other provider explain the facts about your illness; your treatment options, benefits and risks of each option; and possible outcomes of each choice.
  • Accept or refuse treatment once you have learned about the benefit and risk of each option.
  • Work with your providers to develop and carry out a plan for your care.
  • Ask and receive names and specialties of any providers taking care of you.
  • Refuse to be observed, examined or treated by medical students or other staff members without risking your access to care and treatment.
  • Specify those to be allowed to visit you. BMC will limit visits by anyone deemed to pose a safety or health risk to you, other patients or staff.
  • Notification of your admission to BMC made to a family member or chosen representative and to your primary care physician.
  • The presence of your chosen support person unless it infringes on the rights of others or poses a safety or health risk to you, other patients or staff.
  • Complete an advance directive form (such as a Health Care Proxy or medical power of attorney), instructing BMC and your providers about your treatment choices and naming your designated “health care agent.” BMC will respect the wishes of your chosen health care agent in the event that you are unable to speak for yourself. If you have not named a health care agent and cannot speak for yourself, BMC will accept the assertion of your spouse or domestic partner, parent or other family member who claims to be your representative. If more than one professes to be your representative, BMC will request supporting documentation from each in order to make its determination.
  • Choose to enroll in a research study if invited. You also have the right not to enroll without affecting your medical care.

As a BMC patient you have the right to:

  • Request an inspection of your medical record or for a reasonable fee, to receive a copy of your record after you are discharged from the hospital.
  • Receive a copy of your medical record at no cost if the request supports a legal claim or appeal under the Social Security Act in any federal or state financial needs-based benefit program.
  • Have portions of your medical record sent to a physician at another institution at no charge to you, provided you complete the required request form.
  • Request in writing that an amendment or correction be made to your record if you believe it to be inaccurate. You will receive a response within 30 days.

As a BMC patient you have the right to request and receive:

  • Information about financial assistance and free health care.
  • Copies of itemized bills and other statements of charges submitted to third-party payers (insurance companies).

You have the right to:

  • Receive information about BMC’s policies, rules and regulations about your rights and responsibilities as a patient.
  • Request and receive information about the relationship of BMC and your providers with any other health care facility or educational institution as it relates to your care.
  • Contact the BMC Patient Advocacy office at 617.414.4970 to report concerns, problems or complaints about your care or service. If your concerns cannot be resolved by first talking with your providers, you may file a formal complaint or grievance. If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome, you may also contact:

The Massachusetts Board of
Registration in Medicine
200 Harvard Mill Square, Suite 330
Wakefield, MA 01880
800.377.0550 | 781.876.8200

MassPRO (If you have Medicare)
245 Winter Street,
Waltham, MA 02451

Massachusetts Department of
Public Health, Division of Health
Care Quality: Complaint Unit
99 Chauncy Street, 11th Floor
Boston, MA 02111
800.462.5540 | 617.753.8150

The Joint Commission
Office of Quality Monitoring
One Renaissance Boulevard
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181

BMC requests that as a patient you accept the responsibility to:

  • Arrive on time for scheduled appointments or telephone the provider’s office when you are not able to keep your scheduled appointment.
  • Provide accurate and complete information about your present complaints, past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications, advanced directives and other matters concerning your health or care.
  • Inform your providers if you do not understand instructions relating to your care or treatment or if you are unable to follow the instructions.
  • Be considerate of other patients.
  • Make sure your visitors at BMC are considerate of others with respect to noise, and that they adhere to posted visiting hours.
  • Observe BMC’s smoke-free campus rules.
  • Provide BMC with information about your insurance or financial coverage for hospital charges.
  • Accept responsibility for your actions if you refuse treatment or do not follow your provider’s instructions.

Revised January 2013 

Contact Us

Office of Patient Advocacy  
Boston Medical Center
One Boston Medical Place
Dowling Building, Ground Floor, Room 406B
Boston, MA 02118-2393

Call:  617.414.4970


Helpful Phone Numbers

Main Switchboard for
general information
Call: 617.638.8000

Medical Records
Call: 617.414.4213

Privacy Officer
1.800.586.2627, or email:

Patient Billing
Call: 617.638.6157

Call: 800.439.2370

More Helpful Phone Numbers


Learn More

Quick Links

BMC Connect for Patients
Provider Directory
Community Health Centers
Request Medical Records
Directions to BMC
BMC Campus Virtual Tour
Accessibility Information

Downloads (PDF)

BMC Campus Map
Inspire Newsletter
Patient’s Bill of Rights