Patient Bill of Rights

Learn about the rights and responsibilities patients have when it comes to health and the health care services you receive.

As a patient, you are a critical player on your health care team. You have both rights and responsibilities when it comes to health and the health care services you receive.

Electronic version (September 2023): PDF iconPatient Bill of Rights.pdf

PURPOSE: To provide consistent language and guidelines for each of The University of Vermont Health Network (UVMHN) hospital located in Vermont that meets regulatory and legal requirements.

The University of Vermont Health Network is committed to ongoing, careful and meaningful action in the effort to create a culture that is equitable, diverse and inclusive for our employees, patients and the communities we serve. This includes respect for all regardless of age, race, skin color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, ethnicity, culture, place of birth, national origin, HIV status, religion, marital status, language, socioeconomic status, physical or mental disability, protected veteran status or obligation for service in the armed forces.  Consistent with Vermont laws that give patients specific legal rights, while you’re at Central Vermont Medical Center:

  • We will treat you with consideration and respect, including calling you by your preferred name and pronouns.
  • An attending physician will coordinate your care from admission through discharge. The attending physician or delegate will explain your diagnosis, possible treatment, expected outcomes, and continuing health care needs to you or, if that is not possible, to a family member or person close to you.
  • Except in emergencies, we will treat you only if you give us your permission. We will offer the information necessary to make an informed decision, including the medical consequences of refusal of care.
  • You have the right to refuse treatment, except in exceptional circumstances.
  • We will respect your privacy. You can always have another person present during an examination.  Only people directly involved in your care will be present unless you give others permission to be there.
  • You can wear your own clothes, except when they interfere with your medical care.
  • Your medical information will be kept confidential. In general, we will only share it with others if you give us permission or as otherwise permitted by law.
  • The people taking care of you will tell you who they are and about any professional roles they hold relevant to your care. You can also ask to know who is responsible for a particular treatment or procedure.
  • Consistent with your care needs, we will try to accommodate your request for another room in our hospital.
  • You may be moved to another hospital only if medically permissible, the other hospital accepts you for transfer, and you have been given complete information about the need for and alternatives to transfer.
  • We will ask your permission if any part of your care involves research. You can always say no.
  • We will use restraints or seclusion only if they are necessary to ensure physical safety, and if no less restrictive intervention is possible.
  • Family and friends are an important part of your recovery, and visiting hours are usually flexible.  For children and dying patients, families may visit any time.
  • We will provide an interpreter to facilitate effective and collaborative communication, as needed and/or requested. This applies if you are Deaf or hearing impaired, an English Language Learner, or in need of Health Literacy support.
  • We will treat your pain promptly and professionally.
  • We will tell you about any hospice and palliative care services that may be available.
  • We will post the number of nursing staff working on your unit. We will also post the number of patients there.
  • You will have access to our resources, including ethics and palliative care consultations, if you need help in any way, including making difficult health care decisions.
  • Your hospital bill will be understandable and specific. We will provide you with information about financial assistance that may be available, and about our billing and collection practices.

As a patient, to ensure you get the best care possible in a trusting clinical environment, it is your responsibility to:

  • Help us get to know you. We understand it can be hard to talk about private health issues, but we hope you will feel comfortable sharing your story with us. As health care professionals, we are here to provide the best possible care, without judgment.
  • Let us know if you have questions or concerns about your care. We want to know so we can help. If you don’t understand something or if you have any questions about your care, please let us know.
  • Keep your appointments. This will allow us to give you our full attention. If you cannot keep your appointment, please let us know ahead of time so we can help someone else instead.
  • Treat others with respect. It can be stressful to be sick, or to have a loved one who is sick. We care, and we want to help. In return we ask that you be respectful toward other patients, visitors and all staff. Disrespectful or threatening behavior will not be tolerated and could lead to termination of non-emergent care and/or separation from the clinical site. This includes but is not limited to disrespectful reference to a person’s age, race, skin color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, ethnicity, culture, place of birth, national origin, HIV status, religion, marital status, language, socioeconomic status, physical or mental disability, protected veteran status or obligation for service in the armed forces.
  • Respect and adhere to the policies restricting items brought into the hospital. These restrictions are designed to help keep you safe.

It is not our practice to reassign clinicians, learners or staff based on patient requests that are motivated by the identities of the clinician, learner or staff, such as, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. In selected circumstances, we will give careful consideration to clinician, learner or staff reassignment based on the patient’s religion, prior history of trauma and/or other personal factors that motivate a request that is not inappropriately biased. Careful consideration of factors such as clinical urgency, staffing availability, engagement with support services and the details of the request will be made on a case-by-case basis.

If you have any questions about your rights and responsibilities, ask your physician, nurse, social worker, case manager, or other hospital representative.


If you have questions or complaints about your stay, please contact our Patient and Family Services Office. They will listen to your concerns and work with you to address them.


PO Box 547, Barre, VT 05641


Vermont Board of Medical Practice (Concerns about physicians)

Vermont Department of Health
108 Cherry Street, P.O. Box 70
Burlington, VT  05402-0070
802-657-4220 or toll-free 800-745-7371

Vermont Board of Nursing (Concerns about nurses)

Office of Professional Regulation
89 Main Street, 3rd Floor
Montpelier, VT  05620-3402

Vermont Secretary of State (Concerns about licensed health care)

Office of Professional Regulation professionals other than physicians or nurses)
89 Main Street, 3rd Floor
Montpelier, VT  05620-3402

Vermont Board of Health (Concerns about facilities)

Vermont Department of Health
108 Cherry Street, P.O. Box 70
Burlington, VT  05402-0070
Toll-free 800-464-4343

Division of Licensing and Protection (Concerns about regulatory compliance)

HC 2 South
280 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671-2060
Main phone number: 802-241-0480
Main Fax: 802-241-0343
Survey & Certification Intake/Complaint: 1-888-700-5330
Direct Fax for Complaint Unit: 1-802-241-0383

The Joint Commission (Concerns about hospital quality or safety)

One Renaissance Boulevard
Oakbrook Terrace, IL  60181


The University of Vermont Health Network hospitals and agency have many resources available to help you and your family. Our main telephone number is 844-886-4325. You can also call individual departments for help, for instance regarding:


(Includes living wills and durable powers of attorney for health care)
Call Care Management at 802-371-4357.


Notify the covering provider, nurse, or Care Manager of an Ethics Consult request, or Call PAS (802-847-2700) and ask for a representative from CVMC Ethics.


Call the Health Information Management Department at 802-371-4213. For Radiology images, call 802-371-4252.


Ask at the nursing station on your unit or call 802-371-4289


Ask for the Administrative Nurse Coordinator, or Contact Patient and Family Services at 802-371-4350 or


Call Network Language Access Services Monday – Friday from 8:00 am – 4:30 pm

requests should be submitted via email to: For short notice or urgent requests, call 802-847-5826.

Requests outside of normal business hours

(Monday-Friday 8:00 am – 4:30 pm) should call PAS at 802-847-2700.


Patient and Family Services Office



Call 802-847-8000

If you would like a complete copy of Vermont’s laws on hospital patients’ rights, more detailed information about any of your rights or responsibilities under Central Vermont Medical Center’s policies, or more information about our services or resources, please view the Patients Bill of Rights or call the Patient and Family Services Office at 802-371-4350,