Regulatory & JC Notices

Joint Commission Public Notice

Healtcare Proxy Law

What is a Health Care Proxy?

The Health Care Proxy is a simple legal document that allows you to name someone you know and trust to make or communicate those decisions. It will be important to discuss your wishes and values regarding medical treatment, including life-sustaining measures with the person who will be making decisions on your behalf. If your Agent does not have this information, then your Agent is to make decisions based on his or her assessment of your best interests. Your Agent cannot act for you until your doctor determines, in writing, that you lack the ability to make health care decisions.

Who is eligible?

Under the Health Care Proxy Law, any competent adult 18 years or over may appoint a Health Care Agent. There are some restrictions on who can serve as Health Care Agent and who can be a witness. These are explained in the instructions for completing a Health Care Proxy. There are no fees or public filing requirements.

How do you complete a Health Care Proxy?

When you or your representative registers you for admission to the hospital, you will be given a Health Care Proxy Form. If you are not being admitted, you may request a Health Care Proxy Form from the Admitting Office or the Social Work & Discharge Planning Department. 

Patient Rights

As a patient in any hospital you have many rights, some provided by law, others extended in recognition of your dignity and self respect as a human being.
While a patient at Falmouth Hospital you have a right to:

  • Expect care to be delivered that is considerate and respectful. Ask for the name and specialty, if any, of the physician or other person responsible for your care or the coordination of your care, and to ask for a different physician if such is within the capacity of this hospital to provide.
  • Patients and, when appropriate, their families are informed about the outcomes of care including unanticipated outcomes.
  • Patients have the right to appropriate assessment and management of pain.
  • Be told by your physician complete current information concerning your diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis in terms and language you can be reasonably expected to understand. When it is not medically advisable to give such information to you, it will be made available to an appropriate person in your behalf. Should you be suffering from any form of breast cancer, such information shall include all alternative treatments which are medically viable.
  • Expect confidentiality of all hospital records and communications to the full extent provided by law.
  • Have all reasonable requests responded to promptly and adequately within the capacity of this hospital to respond.
  • Ask about any relationships of this hospital or your physician to any other health care facility or educational institution insofar as it relates to your care or treatment.
  • Ask for a copy of any rules or regulations which apply to your conduct as a patient.
  • Ask for any information which the hospital has available relative to financial assistance and free health care.
  • Ask to inspect your hospital medical; records and receive a copy thereof. The fee for such a copy will be determined by the rate of copying expense.
  • Refuse to be examined, observed or treated by students or any other hospital staff without jeopardizing access to psychiatric, psychological or other medical care attention.
  • Refuse to serve as a research subject and to reuse any care or examination when the primary purpose is educational or informational rather than therapeutic.
  • Privacy during medical treatment or other rendering of care with the capacity of this hospital to provide.
  • Prompt life saving treatment in an emergency without discrimination on account of economic status or source of payment and without delaying treatment for purposes of prior discussion of the source payment unless such delay can be imposed without material risk to your health. This right also extends to those seeking treatment in the emergency room of this hospital.
  • Informed consent to the extent provided by law.
  • Ask to examine and receive an explanation of your bill including laboratory charges, pharmaceutical charges, and third-party credits, regardless of the course of payment.
  • Expect care that includes consideration of the psychosocial, spiritual and cultural variables that influence the perceptions of illness.
  • Expect assistance with executing a Massachusetts Health Care Proxy and to expect the proxy will be reviewed upon admission and/or transfer to the critical care unit.

The Patients Bill of Rights was adopted as a section of the Massachusetts General Law, Chapter III, a copy of which is available for your inspection upon request.

Patient and Family Responsibilities

Adapted for the Accreditation Manual for Hospital, 1999, Joint Commission of Accreditation of Health Care Organizations.
As a patient or family member, you have the responsibility to:

  • Provide, to the best of your knowledge, accurate and complete information about present complaints, past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications and other matters relating to the patient's health.
  • Report to your doctor or nurse any changes in your condition or symptoms of pain - they need to know to make appropriate changes.
  • Make it known whether you clearly understand a contemplated course of action and what is expected of you.
  • Follow the treatment plan developed with the doctor primarily responsible for your care. This may include following the instructions of nurses and allied health personnel as they carry out the coordinated plan of care, implement your doctor's orders, and enforce the applicable hospital rules and regulations.
  • You should express concerns you have about following the proposed treatment plan.
  • Accept the consequences if you fail to follow the practitioner's instructions.
  • Keep appointments and, when unable to do so for any reason, notify your doctor or the hospital.
  • Assure that the financial obligations of your health care are fulfilled as promptly as possible.
  • Follow hospital rules and regulations affecting your care and conduct.
  • Act with consideration and respect in being considerate of the rights of other patients and hospital personnel, to assist in the control of noise.
  • Follow no smoking on campus rules and control the number of visitors, and respect the property of other people and the hospital.
  • Be responsible for your actions if you refuse treatment or do not follow the practitioner's (doctors or health teams) instructions.

Case Managers or Social Workers can assist you in the appeals process with your insurance company.

Complaints may be filed with:

  • Falmouth Hospital, 100 Ter Heun Drive, Falmouth, MA 02540, Quality Management Advocacy/Concern Line, Tele: 508-457-3948. or 508-457-3517
  • Advocacy Office, Patient Protection Unit, Division of Health Care Quality, 80 Boylston Street, 11th Floor, Boston, MA 02116 Tele:617-753-8000, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., or call 800-462-5540 24 hours a day.
  • Board of Registration of Medicine, 10 West Street, 2nd Floor, Boston, MA 02111. Tele: 617-727-1788.
    Department of Public Health, 10 West Street, 5th Floor, Boston, MA 01222. Tele: 617-753-8000.
  • Joint Commission’s Office of Quality Monitoring, Tele: 1-800-994-6610 or by e-mail at

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