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What to Expect During Your Stay

Understanding expectations, rights and responsibilities

When you need hospital care, your doctors, nurses and other professionals at our hospital are committed to working with you and your family to meet your health care needs. Our goal is for you and your family to have the same excellent care and attention we would want for our families and ourselves.

Here are some basics about how you can expect to be treated during your hospital stay. They also cover what we will need from you to care for you better. If you have questions at any time, please ask. Your comfort and confidence in your care are very important to us.

High quality hospital care.

Our first priority is to provide you the care you need, when you need it, with skill, compassion and respect. Tell your caregivers if you have concerns about your care or if you have pain. You have the right to know the identity of doctors, nurses and others involved in your care, and you have the right to know when they are students, or other trainees.

A clean and safe environment.

Our hospital works hard to keep you safe. We use special policies and procedures to avoid mistakes in your care and keep you free from abuse or neglect. If anything unexpected and significant happens during your hospital stay, you will be told, and any resulting changes in your care will be discussed with you.

Involvement in your care.

You and your doctor often make decisions about your care before you go to the hospital. Other times, especially in emergencies, those decisions are made during your hospital stay. When decision-making takes place, it should include discussing your medical condition and information about medically appropriate treatment choices. To make informed decisions with your doctor, you need to understand:
• The benefits and risks of each treatment.
• Whether your treatment is experimental or part of a research study.
• What you can reasonably expect from your treatment and any long-term effects it might have on your quality of life.
• What you and your family will need to do after you leave the hospital.
• The financial consequences of using uncovered services or out-of-network providers.

Please tell your caregivers if you need more information about treatment choices.

Discussing your treatment plan.

When you enter the hospital, you sign a general consent to treatment. In some cases, such as surgery or other procedures, you may be asked to confirm in writing you understand what is planned and agree to it. This process protects your right to consent to or refuse a treatment. Your doctor will explain the medical consequences of refusing recommended treatment. This process also protects your right to decide if you want to participate in a research study.

Getting information from you.

Your caregivers need complete and correct information about your health and coverage so they can make good decisions about your care. This includes: 
• Past illnesses, surgeries or hospital stays.
• Past allergic reactions.
• Any medicines or dietary supplements (such as vitamins and herbs) that you are taking.
• Any network or admission requirements under your health plan.

Understanding your health care goals and values.

You may have health care goals and values or spiritual beliefs that are important to your well-being. They will be taken into account as much as possible throughout your hospital stay. Make sure your doctor, family and care team know your wishes.

Understanding who should make decisions when you cannot.

Upon admission, you will be asked if you have signed a health care power of attorney, “living will” or “advance directive” in the event you become unable to make health care decisions for yourself. You should give copies to your doctor, family and nurse or registration clerk. If you or your family members need help making difficult decisions, chaplains and others are available to assist. A brochure and sample copies of the forms are available in the Admissions Office at 835-4900 or on the nursing unit.

Protection of your privacy.

We respect the confidentiality of your relationship with your doctor and other caregivers, and the sensitive information about your health and health care which are part of those relationships. State and federal laws and hospital operating policies protect the privacy of your medical information. You will receive a Notice of Privacy Practices that describes the way we use, disclose and safeguard patient information. The notice explains how you can obtain a copy of information from our records about your care.

Preparing you and your family for when you leave the hospital.

Your doctor works with hospital staff and professionals in your community. You and your family also play an important role in your care. Your physician will write a discharge order, and your nurse will provide discharge instructions. The success of your treatment often depends on your efforts to follow medication, diet and therapy plans. Your family may need to help care for you at home.

You can expect us to help you identify sources of follow-up care.

Our Case Management Department can explain your health care choices and help you determine the best arrangement for you and your family. As long as you agree that we can share information about your care, we will coordinate our activities with your caregivers outside the hospital. You can also expect to receive information and, where possible, training about the self-care you will need when you go home.

For more information on discharge planning, see your nurse or call Case Management at 835-4544, 835-4565 or 835-4559.

Help with your bill and filing insurance claims.

Our staff will file claims for you with health care insurers or other programs such as Medicare and TennCare. We also will help your doctor with needed documentation. If you need help understanding your insurance coverage or health plan, start with your insurance company or health benefits manager. If you don’t have health coverage, we will try to help you and your family find financial help or make other arrangements. We need your help with collecting needed information and other requirements to obtain coverage or assistance.

After you are discharged from the hospital, you will receive a statement of your charges. You will also receive separate bills from your attending physician and possibly from other specialists for services like anesthesia, pathology and interpretive X-rays.

Hospital bills and insurance coverage are often confusing. If you have questions about your bill, please contact our Business Office at 835-3560.

Patient Concerns

Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge is a Joint Commission-accredited facility. Anyone who has concerns about the safety or quality of care at an accredited organization may share those concerns with the Joint Commission Office of Quality Monitoring by phone 1-800-994-6610 or by sending an e-mail to complaint@jointcommission.org.  We want you to have an excellent experience at Methodist Medical Center and welcome your concerns and comments.

Please feel free to share any issues with your physician, the nursing supervisor, and/or our Patient Representative. Your Patient Representative can be reached at (865) 835-5211.