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Getting Care

Patient Rights & Responsibilities in a Culture of Excellence

Patient Rights

As a patient in the Military Health System, you have the right to:
  • Accurate, easily understood information so you can make informed decisions about your health plan, providers, and facilities.
  • A choice of healthcare providers that ensures your access to high-quality health care.
  • Emergency healthcare services when and where you need it. Coverage of emergency services is available without authorization if you have reason to believe your life is in danger or you would be seriously injured or disabled without immediate care.
  • Understand your diagnosis, treatment, or prognosis, as explained by your provider.
  • Fully participate in all decisions about your care. If you can’t make your own decisions, you have the right to be represented by someone else. This could be a family member or conservator.
  • Patients and their caregivers will be treated with courtesy and respect.
  • Considerate, respectful care from all members of the healthcare system. 

Patients are protected against discrimination based on:

  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • National origin
  • Religion      
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Mental or physical disability
  • Sexual orientation
  • Genetic information
  • Gender Identity
  • Culture
  • Language
  • Expression
  • Source of payment

Medical Care

Patients can expect and have the right to quality care and treatment that is consistent with available resources and generally accepted medical standards in a safe environment, including access to specialty care, second opinion, pain assessment, and management.

Refusal of treatment

Patients have the right to refuse treatment to the extent permitted by law and existing government regulations, and to be informed of the medical and administrative consequences of their refusal.

Charges for care

Patients have the right to understand the charges for their care and their obligation for payment. 

Privacy and security

Patients can expect privacy concerning their own medical care programs and information. Case discussions, consultation, examination, and treatment are confidential. Patients have rights, in accordance with and defined by *Federal law, to reasonable safeguards for the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of their protected health information, and similar rights for other Personally Identifiable Information, in electronic, written, and spoken form. These rights include the right to be informed when breaches of privacy occur, to the extent required by Federal law.

*DOD 5400.11-R (Reference (g)), Public Law 104-191(Reference (h)), and section 552a of title 5 U.S.C. (also known as “The Privacy Act of  1974, as amended”) (Reference (i))

Confidentiality of health information

Patients have the right to:
  • Communicate confidentially with your healthcare team and to have your confidential information protected by law. 
  • Review, copy, and request amendments to your medical records. 
  • A fair and efficient process for resolving differences with your health plan, healthcare providers, and the institutions that serve them.

The release of such medical information shall be only as authorized by current law and military regulations. It is protected by Department of Defense policy and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements which determine how your medical information can be used.


Patients have the right to choose and know, always, the identity, professional status, and professional credentials of their healthcare providers and personnel. This effort ensures sufficient access to appropriate high–quality healthcare in a Culture of Excellence.

Informed consent

Patients have the right to any and all necessary information in non-clinical terms to make knowledgeable decisions on consent or refusal for treatments, or participation in clinical trials or other research investigations. Such information is to include any and all complications, risks, benefits, ethical issues, and alternative treatments as may be available. 

Transfer and continuity of care

When medically permissible, a patient may be transferred to another medical facility only after he or she has received complete information and an explanation concerning the needs for and alternatives to such a transfer. 

Patient Responsibilities

Providing information

Patients are responsible for providing accurate and complete information about complaints, pain, past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications, and other matters relating to their health to the best of their knowledge. Patients are responsible for letting their healthcare provider know when they do not understand the diagnosis, treatment plan, and expectations.

Speak with courtesy and respect

Patients and visitors may not display behaviors or communication (written, verbal or electronic) that is aggressive, disrespectful, or inconsiderate. Unacceptable forms of communication include harassing, offensive, or intimidating statements, shouting, or yelling at patients or staff, threats of violence or destruction of property, or derogatory remarks based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), and national origin. 

Behave respectfully towards others

The National Capital Region Market follows a zero-tolerance policy for aggressive or violent behavior. Unacceptable behaviors include physical assault, arson, inflicting bodily harm, throwing objects, making menacing gestures, hitting, kicking, biting, screaming, spitting, pushing, or any other behavior that is intimidating or harassing to staff or patients.

Be respectful of property

Patients, family members, and visitors must be respectful and courteous of patients, hospital staff and other people’s property and equipment.

Dress appropriately

All patient and visitors are expected to be fully dressed including shirts and shoes. Please avoid wearing apparel with obscene language.

Use electronic devices courteously

Please be courteous with the use of your cell phone and other electronic devices. Headphones must be used when listening to music and speaker phone may not be used when taking phone calls. When interacting with any of our staff, please put your devices away. Set the ringer to vibrate before storing away. Photos and videos are not permitted except by authorized personnel. 

Infection Prevention Protocols

All patients and visitors will follow infection prevention protocols to help stop the spread of infectious diseases such as influenza (flu) and COVID-19. These protocols may include, but are not limited to, wearing a mask, washing, or sanitizing hands regularly, limiting movement outside of your assigned room, and restricting visitors.

Financial obligations

Patients are responsible for making a good-faith effort to meeting financial obligations incurred for their health care as promptly as possible.

Understanding treatment

Patients have the responsibility to be involved in healthcare decisions and disclose all relevant information and clearly communicating and/or alerting their wants and needs. Patients must work with their health care providers and/or healthcare staff, to develop and carry out their agreed–upon treatment plan. 

Compliance with prescribed treatment

Patients are responsible for adhering to the medical and nursing treatment plans, including follow–up care, recommended by healthcare providers. This includes keeping appointments on time and notifying medical treatment facility when appointments cannot be kept.

Refusing treatment

Patients are responsible for their actions if they refuse treatment or do not follow the practitioner’s instructions.

Medical records

Patients are responsible for returning medical records promptly to the medical treatment facility for appropriate filing and maintenance if records are transported by the patients for the purpose of medical appointments, consultations, or changes of duty location. All medical records documenting care provided by any medical treatment facility are the property of the U.S. Government.

Rules and regulations

Patients, family members, and visitors are expected to foster behaviors respectful to the rights and safety of others. Anyone subjected to or witness of disrespectful behaviors are encouraged to report it to hospital staff. Noncompliance can lead to removal from the facility or discharge from the practice.

Tobacco, alcohol, illegal substances, and weapons

All Alexander T. Augusta Military Medical Center facilities are tobacco free, including cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes, and chewing tobacco. Designated smoking areas are available outside of the hospital. Possession and use of illicit drugs and alcoholic beverages not allowed. Firearms and dangerous weapons are illegal and prohibited, except for persons authorized to be in possession of the weapon while on duty. All weapons are considered contraband and will be confiscated.

Patient comments

Patients have the responsibility to assist the Hospital Director in providing and promoting a Culture of Excellence and Patient- and Family-Centered Care by ensuring the best possible care to all beneficiaries. Patient recommendations, questions, compliments and/or complaints should be reported to Patient Relations at 571-231-4141. If concerns are not adequately resolved, patients have the right to contact The Joint Commission at 800-994-6610.

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