Patient's Bill of Rights

This position statement was archived on 11/7/2012 because it is now a standard of practice.


  • All patients, regardless of health care plan, should have access to emergency services and timely access to specialists without prior approval.
  • All patients should receive information related to clinical trials and non-formulary drugs to assure the best health outcome.
  • A timely, independent external review should be conducted when services are denied. Consumers should have the ability to seek compensation from the insurer in cases that involve injury or death due to limits of the plan.
  • Insurers should not determine the patient's treatment plan.
  • Patients, families, and members of the health care team are responsible for making informed health care decisions.


Since 1997, the U.S. Congress has been attempting to pass a patient's bill of rights related to managed care and other health insurance plans. The most recent legislation, which did not survive its referral to committee, was introduced by Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) as the Patient's Bill of Rights Act of 2005 (S.1012) ( However, numerous state agencies and professional associations have adopted bills of rights for specific populations of health care consumers. Replacing its former Patients' Bill of Rights, the American Hospital Association initiated The Patient Care Partnership to inform patients of their rights and responsibilities during a hospital stay.


AMSN supports legislation that affirms the rights of the patient, and encourages the medical-surgical nurse to be knowledgeable regarding issues that impact health care quality and availability.


A Patient's Bill of Rights is a statement containing the fundamental rights of a recipient of medical care.


American Hospital Association. (2008). The patient care partnership. Retrieved October 12, 2009, from (2005). S.1012: Patients' Bill of Rights Act of 2005. Retrieved October 12, 2009, from