Patient Bill of Rights at the UVM Medical Center

The University of Vermont Medical Center is committed to giving you the best care while respecting your rights.  Consistent with Vermont laws that give patients specific legal rights, while you’re at the UVM Medical Center:

  • We will treat you with consideration and respect.
  • An attending physician will coordinate your care from admission through discharge.  The attending physician 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 give you the information necessary to make an informed decision.
  • 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 what they do.  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 if you are Deaf or hard of hearing, or if you have any difficulties speaking or understanding English.  
  • 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.

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 exhibit respectful demeanor, speech and behavior toward other patients, visitors and all UVMMC employees. 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, ancestry, culture, physical or intellectual disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or expression, language, military status, national origin, race, religion, or sexual orientation. 
It is not our practice to reassign clinicians, learners or staff based on patient requests that are motivated by race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity of the clinician, learner or staff. 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.

Questions and Complaints

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

Office of Patient and Family Advocacy
The University of Vermont Medical Center
111 Colchester Avenue
Burlington, VT 05401

You can always call the following agencies for assistance:

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
Office of Professional Regulation
(Concerns about licensed health care professionals other than physicians or nurses)
89 Main Street, 3rd Floor
Montpelier, VT 05620-3402

Vermont Board of Health
(Hospital complaints)
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 05676-2060
Main phone number: 802-241-0480
Main Fax: 802-241-0343

Survey & Certificate Intake/Complaint: 888-700-5330
Direct Fax: for Complaint Unit: 802-241-0383
ahs [dot] dailscintakeatvermont [dot] gov

The Joint Commission
(Concerns about quality or safety)
One Renaissance Boulevard
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
Toll-free: 800-994-6610
Joint Commission Website

Other Resources

University of Vermont Medical Center has many resources available to help you and your family.  Our main telephone number is 802-847-0000.  You can also call individual departments for help:

Advance directives (including living wills and durable powers of attorney for health care)
  • Call the Department of Case Management & Social Work at 802-847-3553

Clinical ethics consultations

  • Call the operator at 802-847-0000 and ask them to page the Clinical Ethics Consultation Service

Medical records at The University of Vermont Medical Center

  • Contact your attending physician or call the Health Information Management Department at 802-847-2846

Nurse staffing and patient census information

  • Ask at the nursing station on your unit or call 802-847-7999

Concerns about patient abuse

  • Call the Department of Case Management & Social Work at 802-847-3553

Language Access Services

  • Call Language Access Services at 802-847-5826

General concerns about care

  • Call the Office of Patient & Family Advocacy at 802-847-3500

Financial assistance or questions about bills

  • Call 802-847-8000 or toll-free 800-639-2719

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 the UVM Medical Center’s policies, or more information about our services or resources, please visit our web site or call the Department of Patient and Family Advocacy at 802-847-3500.