Patient Rights – New Jersey
As a New Jersey patient, you are guaranteed the following rights. These rights shall be explained to you upon the inception of treatment. Should you have any questions regarding these rights or how to exercise them, please ask your provider or another member of your care team.
1. The right to be informed of these rights, as evidenced by the client’s written acknowledgment or by documentation by staff in the clinical record that the client was offered a written copy of these rights and given a written or verbal explanation of these rights in terms the client could understand;
2. The right to be notified of any rules and policies the program has established governing client conduct in the facility;
3. The right to be informed of services available in the program, the names and professional status of the staff providing and/or responsible for the client’s care, and fees and related charges, including the payment, fee, deposit, and refund policy of the program and any charges for services not covered by sources of third-party payment or the program’s basic rate;
4. The right to be informed if the program has authorized other health care and educational institutions to participate in his or her treatment, the identity and function of these institutions, and to refuse to allow their participation in his or her treatment;
5. The right to receive from his or her physicians or clinical practitioner(s) an explanation of his or her complete medical/health condition or diagnosis, recommended treatment, treatment options, including the option of no treatment, risks(s) of treatment, and expected result(s), in terms that he or she understands;
- If, in the opinion of the medical director or director of substance abuse counseling, this information would be detrimental to the client’s health, or if the client is not capable of understanding the information, the explanation shall be provided to a family member, legal guardian or significant other, as available;
- Release of information to a family member, legal guardian or significant other, along with the reason for not informing the client directly, shall be documented in the client’s clinical record; and
- All consents to release information shall be signed by client or their parent, guardian or legally authorized representative;
6. The right to participate in the planning of his or her care and treatment, and to refuse medication and treatment;
- A client’s refusal of medication or treatment shall be documented in the client’s clinical record;
7. The right to participate in experimental research only when the client gives informed, written consent to such participation, or when a guardian or legally authorized representative gives such consent for an incompetent client in accordance with law, rule and regulation;
8. The right to voice grievances or recommend changes in policies and services to program staff, the governing authority, and/or outside representatives of his or her choice either individually or as group, free from restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal;
9. The right to be free from mental and physical abuse, exploitation, and from use of restraints;
- A client’s ordered medications shall not be withheld for failure to comply with facility rules or procedures, unless the decision is made to terminate the client in accordance with this chapter; medications may only be withheld when the facility medical staff determines that such action is medically indicated;
10. The right to confidential treatment of information about the client;
- Information in the client’s clinical record shall not be released to anyone outside the program without the client’s written approval to release the information in accordance with Federal statutes and rules for the Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Client Records at 42 U.S.C. 290dd-2, and 290ee-2, and 42 CFR Part 2 ??2.1 et seq., and the provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) at 45 CFR Parts 160 and 164, unless the release of the information is required and permitted by law, a third-party payment contract, a peer review, or the information is needed by DHS for statutorily authorized purposes; and
- The program may release data about the client for studies containing aggregated statistics only when the client’s identity is protected and masked;
11. The right to be treated with courtesy, consideration, respect, and with recognition of his or her dignity, individuality, and right to privacy, including, but not limited to, auditory and visual privacy;
- The client’s privacy also shall be respected when program staff are discussing the client with others;
12. The right to exercise civil and religious liberties, including the right to independent personal decisions;
- No religious beliefs or practices, or any attendance at religious services, shall be imposed upon any client;
13. The right to not be discriminated against because of age, race, religion, sex, nationality, sexual orientation, disability (including, but not limited to, blind, deaf, hard of hearing), or ability to pay; or to be deprived of any constitutional, civil, and/or legal rights.
- Programs shall not discriminate against clients taking medications as prescribed;
14. The right to be transferred or discharged only for medical reasons, for the client’s welfare, that of other clients or staff upon the written order of a physician or other licensed clinician, or for failure to pay required fees as agreed at time of admission (except as prohibited by sources of third-party payment);
- Transfers and discharges, and the reasons therefore, shall be documented in the client’s clinical record; and
- If a transfer or discharge on a non-emergency basis is planned by the outpatient substance use disorder treatment program, the client and his or her family shall be given at least 10 days advance notice of such transfer or discharge, except as otherwise provided for in 10:161B-6.4(c);
15. The right to be notified in writing, and to have the opportunity to appeal, an involuntary discharge; and
16. The right to have access to and obtain a copy of his or her clinical record, in accordance with the program’s policies and procedures and applicable Federal and State laws and rules.
PURPOSE: To establish the official position of PursueCare on patient grievances, the procedures by which a patient may file a formal complaint or grievance, or appeal a decision made by the organization’s staff members or treatment team and to assign specific responsibility for implementation of the policy.
LAST REVISION DATE: 7/31/2020
RESPONSIBLE PARTY: Medical Director
POLICY: PursueCare recognizes that all patients have a fundamental right to file a formal complaint, 24 hours per day, seven (7) days per week) specifying facts regarding dissatisfaction, discontentment, regret, pain, resentment, grief, or faultfinding of a perceived wrong with the goal of reaching an official determination) or grievance concerning services received at PursueCare clinics. Further, the organization recognizes its ethical and moral obligation to be fair, honest, and ethical in all matters of patient services. Therefore, it is the policy of PursueCare that formal grievance procedures shall be implemented for use by patients and will be explained to patients as part of their initial orientation to the program; and that the staff will assist any patient who desires to submit a grievance. Further, this policy specifically prohibits any reprisal, retaliation, or change in service delivery or the imposition of any barriers for any patient who chooses to file a grievance under the provisions of this policy. At the heart of this policy is the expectation that every patient and every staff member will attempt to resolve grievances at the lowest possible level within the organization; and that the grievance process will not be used to resolve trivial matters that could otherwise be resolved in the normal course of case management and service delivery. A fundamental part of this policy is the expectation that communications with patients during the grievance process will be honest, clear, concise, and more critically, expressed in terms that are understandable and appropriate to the patient’s individual needs.
PROCEDURES: The following procedures will also guide the organization, its patients, and staff in handling and processing patient grievances:
- As part of new patient orientation, the procedures for filing a complaint, grievance, or appeal will be thoroughly explained and done so in a manner that is understandable to the patient. When applicable, this explanation will also be provided to family members who may be involved in the patient’s treatment.
- Grievance forms are readily available to all patients and are provided on-demand to any patient who desires to file/submit a written grievance or complaint.
- Appropriate staff will always attempt to resolve complaints/issues before recommending that the matter be addressed with the Medical Director.
- If the Medical Director cannot resolve the matter to the satisfaction of the patient within two (2) working days, the patient must be informed by the staff of their right to discuss the matter. Additionally, the Medical Director will arrange a mutually agreeable time and date for the patient and Office Manager to meet and discuss the grievance and the patient’s concerns.
- If the patient is not satisfied with the Medical Director’s decision and/or explanation, the patient must be informed of their right to address the matter in writing or verbally with the executive management. The Medical Director their designee will assist the patient, if required and necessary, in drafting a written grievance to be forwarded to the responsible member of the executive team. The responsible team member will have (3) working days to review the grievance and inform patient of the results of the investigation of the complaint.
- If the patient remains dissatisfied with the organization’s response to the grievance, he/she will be advised by the Medical Director of their rights to seek additional redress through the State licensing/regulatory authority or other regulatory agency as applicable. If the patient chooses to exercise the option, the Medical Director shall ensure that the patient is provided with the name, address, and phone number of the State licensing/regulatory authority. Additionally, the patient will be provided, to the greatest extent possible and practical, with any assistance that might be needed in accessing the services of the state and/or other outside advocacy organizations.
- All patients shall be afforded the opportunity, upon request and at their own expense, to use the services of professional advocates or others in seeking redress for grievances. To the greatest extent possible and practical, staff members will assist the patient, if required, in accessing professional advocacy services.
- If any procedure stated herein conflicts with rules or regulations published by the State licensing/regulatory authority, the rules or regulations issued by the State licensing/regulatory authority will override this policy and shall prevail in the handling and processing of patient grievances.
- Authority is hereby conferred on Medical Directors to resolve patient grievances in the favor of the patient whenever possible but in full compliance with state and federal laws and regulations.
- Medical Directors are encouraged to consult or discuss patient complaints with the management or designee for resolution at any point in the process. In many instances, variances, exceptions, or alterations in treatment direction are possible within the scope of state and federal regulations and/or corporate policy.
- All grievances will be logged in a file/record and maintained by the Medical Director or designee. At least annually, and as a part of the organization’s end of year data collection effort, Medical Directors will forward a synopsis of all grievances filed to management to assist in the identification of any significant trends and identify areas of performance improvement.
- Grievance procedures will be explained to all patients in an understandable manner as part of the new patient orientation process.
As part of the organization’s year-end data collection and analysis effort, the organization will prepare a written summary of all formal grievances received during the year. This summary will include the identification of:
- Whether formal complaints were received.
- Any identified trends.
- Any changes that need to be made to operating procedures.
- Any revisions to written policies.
- Specific recommendations for quality improvement at either the clinic or corporate level.
- Any areas needing performance improvement.
- Any actions to be taken to address the improvements needed.
- Any actions already taken or changes made to improve performance.
State licensing/regulatory authority contact information
New Jersey State Department of Human Services
Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services
PO Box 700
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0700
Telephone: toll-free 1-877-712-1868