Patients & Visitors > PatientRights
Patient Rights & Responsibilities

WRNMMC is deeply committed to providing equitable, compassionate and high quality care to all our patients and will not discriminate based on race, national origin, color, religion, age, rank, disability, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity.

Your Rights as a Patient at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

WRNMMC Respects, Protects and Promotes Patient Rights

  1. To Receive Quality Care
    You have the right to receive quality medical and dental care and treatment. If you are an inpatient at Walter Reed Bethesda, and we cannot provide the care you require, you will be transferred to another facility if medically advisable.
  2. To Receive Explanations of Care
    You have the right to receive an explanation regarding your diagnosis, treatment, medical procedures, and prognosis (what to expect), in terms you can understand. When it is not medically advisable to provide this information to you, it will be relayed to appropriate family members or your designated decision maker.
  3. To Receive Pain Management
    You have the right to be treated for alleviation of pain and discomfort consistent with accepted medical and safety practices.
  4. To Participate in Your Care
    You have the right to be involved in all aspects of your care, including treatment decisions. If you are incapable, a member of your family or your designated decision-maker will be allowed to participate in these decisions.
  5. To Provide Informed Consent
    You have the right to receive the necessary information to make knowledgeable decisions regarding consent or refusal of treatment. The information will include details regarding possible complications, risks, benefits, and any alternative treatments available. Communications will be in a manner and terms you understand. You have the right to give or withhold informed consent and produce or use recordings, film, or other images of the patient for purposes other than for his or her care.
  6. To Know the Identity of Health Care Staff
    You have the right to know the identity and professional status of health care personnel, as well as the name of the health care provider primarily responsible for your care.
  7. To Understand Rules and Regulations
    You have the right to be informed of our rules and regulations relating to patient or visitor conduct (such as rules prohibiting smoking), and should expect compliance with those rules from other individuals.
  8. To Refuse Treatment
    You have the right to refuse treatment to the extent permitted by law and to be informed of the consequences of your refusal.
  9. To Receive Respectful Treatment
    You have the right to respectful treatment and considerate care, with recognition of your personal dignity.
  10. To Be Provided Privacy, Security and Safety
    You have the right, within law and military regulations, to security, personal privacy and confidentiality of information regarding your medical treatment. You also have the right to receive care in a secure, safe environment and to access protective services, if necessary.
  11. To Express Your Feelings
    You have the right to express your feelings, such as fear, anxiety or sadness. You will be provided emotional support from staff, including the counsel of clergy, a social worker or mental health professional, if necessary. You and your family will be allowed to express spiritual beliefs and cultural practices as long as they do not harm others or interfere with treatment.
  12. To Arrange for an Advance Directive
    You have the right to formulate an Advance Directive. An Advance Directive is a “living will” or written plan that states the treatments or life support measures you wish to accept or refuse if you become incapable of making such decisions. In this written document, you can name a person (proxy) to make decisions for you if you become unable to do so. If you do not have an Advance Directive, please ask to speak to your provider.
  13. To Refuse Participation in Research
    You have the right to be advised if we propose to engage in, or perform research associated with your care. You will be provided a description of the expected benefits, potential discomforts, risks, alternative services, and a full explanation of all procedures to be followed. You also have the right to refuse to participate in any research programs and to drop out at any time. Your refusal to participate will not compromise your care or access to services.
  14. To Receive Visitors and Communications
    You have the right to receive visitors and to communicate by mail and telephone. Any restrictions on visitors or communication will be fully explained to you and your family.
  15. To Voice Your Concerns
    You have the right to voice concerns or complaints regarding your experience as a patient at Walter Reed Bethesda. You also are entitled to information about all available mechanisms for the initiation, review, and resolution of any complaints or concerns. Please direct any concerns or questions to the Customer Advocate in your clinic or to the Customer Advocacy Office.

Your Responsibilities as a Patient at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
  1. To Provide Information About Your Health
    It is your responsibility to provide, to the best of your knowledge, accurate and complete information about past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications, and other matters relating to your health. It is up to you to let your health care provider know if you have any questions or concerns about your treatment.
  2. To Provide Information About Advance Directives
    If you have a written Advance Directive (a “living will” or written plan stating what treatments or life-support measures you wish to refuse or accept if you become incapable of making such decisions), it is your responsibility to bring a copy to your physician. An Advance Directive can also be used for you to give another person the right to make decisions on your behalf.
  3. To Follow Walter Reed Bethesda Rules and Regulations
    You are responsible for following all WRNMMC rules and regulations affecting patient care and conduct. Smoking is permitted only in designated areas outside the hospital. This rule should be followed by all patients, relatives and visitors.
  4. To Comply with Recommended Medical Care
    It is your responsibility to comply with your provider's recommended treatment plan. This includes all recommended medications, treatments, and follow-up care. It is your responsibility to accept the consequences of your care decisions, including any decision not to comply with provider recommendations.
  5. To Be Respectful and Considerate of Others
    You are expected to be considerate and respectful of our property, the rights and properties of other patients and health care personnel, and to assist in the control of noise, smoking, and compliance of visitors’ rules and regulations. Support mutual consideration and respect by maintaining civil language and conduct in interactions with staff.
  6. To Meet All Financial Responsibilities
    It is your responsibility to meet all financial obligations. You are expected to report third party payer or other health insurance coverage to help prevent any unnecessary costs.
  7. To Arrive on Time for Appointments
    It is your responsibility to be on time for appointments, and to notify us if you cannot keep a scheduled appointment.
  8. To Return Medical Records
    In the case that your medical records are given to you for appointments or consultations, it is your responsibility to ensure that these records are promptly returned to the Medical Center (Walter Reed Bethesda) for appropriate filing and maintenance. The medical record, including x-rays, is the property of Walter Reed Bethesda and is maintained for the benefit of the patient and the medical staff who is required to safeguard the information in the record against loss, defacement, tampering or use by unauthorized persons. Patients are not authorized to maintain their medical record, but are allowed to request and obtain copies of their medical record.
  9. To ask questions or acknowledge when you do not understand the treatment course or care decision.

    WRNMMC is accredited by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.