Patient Bill of Rights

Your rights and responsibilities

We view health care as a partnership between you and your health care team. We respect your rights, values, and dignity. You will receive safe, high-quality medical care regardless of your race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, veteran status, or disability. In exchange, we ask that you recognize the responsibilities that come with being a patient, both for your own well-being, and that of your fellow patients and health care providers.

Below, we've listed your rights and responsibilities as a Duke Medicine patient. A Duke Medicine patient is anyone who is seen in the Duke University Health System, by Duke University affiliated physicians/Duke Primary Care, or by the Private Diagnostic Clinic.

Patient rights

You have the right to safe, high-quality, medical care, without discrimination, that is compassionate and respects your personal dignity, values, and beliefs.

You have the right to participate in and make decisions about your care and pain management, including refusing care, to the extent permitted by law. Your care provider (such as a doctor or nurse) will explain the medical consequences of refusing recommended treatment.

You have the right to have your illness, treatment, pain, alternatives, and outcomes explained in a way that you can understand. You have the right to an intepreter, if needed.

You have the right to know the name(s) and role(s) of your care team members. You have a right to ask for a second opinion.

You have the right to request that a family member, friend, and/or physician be notified that you are under our care.

You have the right to receive any visitors whom you designate, including, but not limited to, your spouse, a domestic partner (including a same-sex domestic partner), another family member, or a friend. You also have the right to withdraw or deny your consent to visitation at any time. In the event you are unable to designate who can visit, the person you have designated as your “support person” can make that designation. Hospital visitation will not be limited or denied based on race, color, national origin, disability, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression. However, it may become clinically, or otherwise reasonably necessary, due to a patient’s care, safety, or well-being, to impose restrictions on visitation. Reasons to limit visitation, if deemed necessary, may include, but are not limited to:

  • To prevent interference with certain treatments, particularly for substance abuse or mental health
  • Infection control 
  • The care of other patients
  • Disruptive, threatening, or violent behavior by a visitor 
  • The need for privacy
  • Space limitations or specific time period restrictions
  • Minimum age requirements (for child visitors)

You have the right to a complete explanation if you will be transferred to another facility or organization, including alternatives to the transfer.

You have the right to receive information about continuing your health care at the end of your visit.

You have the right to know the policies that affect your care and treatment.

You have the right to participate in research or decline to participate in research. You may decline at any time without compromising your access to care, treatment, and services.

You have the right to private and confidential treatments, communications, and medical records, to the extent permitted by law.

You have the right to receive information concerning your advance directives (living will, health care power of attorney, or mental health advance directives), and to have your advance directives respected, to the extent permitted by law.

You have the right to access your medical records in a reasonable timeframe, to the extent permitted by law.

You have the right to know about fees and to receive counseling on the availability of resources to help you pay for your health care.

You have the right to be free from restraints that are not medically required or are not being used appropriately.

You have the right to access advocacy or protective service agencies, and a right to be free from abuse.

You have the right to have your concerns and complaints addressed. Should you or your designated guardian, advocate, support person, or representative feel, at any time, that your rights as a patient have been violated -- or you wish to share a compliment, concern, or complaint -- please call the relevant number below. Sharing your concerns and complaints will not compromise your access to care, treatment, and services.

  • Duke University Hospital: 919-681-2020
  • Duke Raleigh Hospital: 919-954-3292
  • Duke Regional Hospital: 919-470-4747
  • Private Diagnostic Clinic: 919-684-6298
  • Duke Primary Care: 919-684-6298
  • Duke Home Care and Hospice: 919-620-3853
  • James E. Davis Ambulatory Surgical Center: 919-470-1000
  • NC Department of Health Service Regulation: 919-855-4500
    • Mental Health Branch: 919-855-3795
    • 2711 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699
  • The Joint Commission Office of Quality Monitoring: 800-994-6610, jointcommission.org

Patient responsibilities

You are responsible for providing us with as much information as possible about your health, medical history, and insurance benefits.

You are responsible for asking your care provider for help or clarification when you do not understand medical words or details about your care plan.

You are responsible for following your care plan. If you are unable/unwilling to follow your care plan, then you are responsible for telling your care team. Your care team will explain the medical outcomes of not following their recommended treatment. You are responsible for the outcomes of not following your care plan.

You are responsible for following your care facility’s rules and regulations.

You are responsible for acting in a manner that is respectful of other patients, staff, and facility property.

You are responsible for meeting your financial obligation to the facility.

PR501 Rev 3/12