St. Mary's Sacred Heart

(706) 356-7800
367 Clear Creek Parkway  •  Lavonia, GA 30553

Patient Rights

As a patient, you have the right to:

  1. Be informed of your rights in advance of receiving care. When appropriate, this information is given to you or your representative
  2. Be treated with dignity and respect.
  3. Have information provided in a manner he or she understands according to age, language and ability to understand.
  4. Access interpreters and translation services or other alternative communication needs as requested.
  5. Have alternative means, such as written materials, signs or interpreters, to communicate appropriately.
  6. Have a family member, spouse, domestic partner or friend present for emotional support during the course of your stay.
  7. To designate persons who may or may not visit them during their hospital stay.
  8. Be free from discrimination based on age, race, color, national origin, religion, culture, language, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and physical or mental disability.
  9. Have a family member or representative and your own physician notified promptly upon admission to the hospital, if requested.
  10. Have accurate assessment and effective treatment of pain.
  11. Participate in all aspects of the development and implementation of your plan of care.
  12. Know the identity and professional status of individuals providing service and know which physician or other practitioner is primarily responsible for your care.
  13. Be informed of your health status in order to give consent prior to the start of procedures for treatment, and have the right to refuse care, treatment, and services in accordance with applicable law and regulations.
  14. Request, at your expense, consultation with specialists.
  15. Receive reasonable continuity of care, when appropriate, and be informed by physicians and other caregivers of available and realistic patient care options when hospital care is no longer appropriate.
  16. Be transferred to another facility, if medically necessary and permissible, or when patient so requests, after complete explanation to you of the need for such a transfer, including the need, risks, benefits and alternatives to transfer. The institution and the physician to which you are to be transferred must first have accepted you for transfer. You have the right to expect that services needed and ordered by the physician will be available. You have a right to information that will assist in recovery after discharge from the hospital.
  17. Formulate advance directives including choosing a patient representative or a healthcare agent to speak on their behalf.
  18. To review or receive St. Mary’s Advance Directive policy.
  19. Have practitioners and staff provide care that is consistent with these advance directives and if ethical issues arise, have the right to access St. Mary’s Ethics Committee.
  20. Express concerns/grievances about your care. You have the freedom to express your concerns/grievances and to recommend improvements without being subjected to coercion, discrimination, reprisals or unreasonable interruptions to your care, treatment or services.
  21. To seek internal review of a concern/grievance, contact 706-356-7821.
  1. To seek external review of a concern/grievance, you may contact:


  • Georgia Department of Community Health, Division of Healthcare Facility Regulation, DCH Complaint Intake Unit, Two Peachtree Street, N.W., Suite 31-447, Atlanta, GA 30303-3159 or by telephone (800) 878-6442.
  • The Joint Commission, Office of Quality Monitoring, One Renaissance Boulevard, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181, by phone (800) 994-6610, or by email The Joint Commission does not address individual billing issues, payment disputes, labor relations issues or individual clinical management of patients.


  1. Receive care in a safe setting, free from mental, physical, sexual and verbal abuse, neglect and exploitation.
  2. Be free from restraints and seclusion of any form used as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience or retaliation by staff.
  3. Express your beliefs and cultural practices as long as they do not harm others or violate state, federal or local laws.
  4. Wear personal clothing and other religious articles or symbols as long as they do not interfere with diagnostic procedures or treatment.
  5. Be interviewed and examined in privacy, and to have someone of your own gender be present, if requested; assured privacy during personal hygiene activities.
  6. Have your communication needs addressed.
  7. Have your care and treatment handled confidentially and be assured that your medical record will be read only by authorized individuals.
  8. Have easy access to the information contained within your medical record and request an amendment to your medical record. If requested, information must be provided within a reasonable time frame.
  9. Be informed of, and consent to recording or filming made for purposes other than security or the identification, diagnosis, or treatment of a medical condition.
  10. Refuse or accept participation in any experimental, educational or research activities involved in your treatment.
  11. Receive information on how to obtain protective services from state agencies.
  12. Request and receive an itemized explanation of your total bill for services rendered.
  13. Be informed of charges and receive counseling on the availability of known financial resources for healthcare.

Patient Responsibilities

All patients and parents of pediatric or neonate patients have the responsibility to:


  1. Give caregivers accurate and complete information about present complaints, past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications, advance directives and other matters relative to health.
  2. Ask about and understand what medical treatments you are to receive.
  3. Ask for pain relief when pain first begins, to report when pain is not relieved, and discuss your pain management plan and pain relief options with your doctor and nurses.
  4. Follow the treatment plan recommended by the practitioner primarily responsible for your care.
  5. Abide by St. Mary’s policies.
  6. Respect the rights and professional integrity of those providing care.
  7. Be considerate of the rights of other patients and hospital personnel, and assist in the control of noise and the number of visitors.
  8. Respect the property of other persons and of St. Mary’s.
  9. Pay for services not covered by a third party payor at the time the services are rendered.
  10. Observe St. Mary’s tobacco-free and smoke-free policy.
  11. Take precautions for personal valuables and belongings by either leaving them at home or asking St. Mary’s staff to provide a safe depository during your hospital stay.

Code of Ethics

St. Mary's Health Care System


  1. Maintains professional codes of conduct that are in agreement with the mission, philosophy and policies of the System.
  2. Treats all patients with dignity, respect, and courtesy. Patients and their families are involved in decisions regarding the patient's care to the fullest extent possible.
  3. Maintains an interdisciplinary approach to patient care delivery to help meet the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of the patient.
  4. Markets itself to the community in a manner consistent with its mission and capabilities.
  5. Admits, transfers, and discharges patients on the basis of service capability and not on the basis of payment source.
  6. Maintains a billing system which assures patients are charged a fair and competitive price for services rendered, are billed accurately for services rendered, and can receive information concerning the costs relative to their care.
  7. Maintains an Ethics Committee that provides consultative, educational, and policy development and review services to employees, patients, and families.
  8. Maintains a policy for disclosing, addressing, and resolving conflicts of interest that members of its governing body might develop during the normal course of business. Attention is also given to the potential conflicts related to referral sources, vendors, competing health care services and investments.
  9. Provides fair and equitably administered employee compensation and benefits.
  10. Maintains documented contractual agreements with other service providers, educational institutions and payors which enhance the ethical delivery of patient care and service.
  11. Takes a leadership role in enhancing public health and continuity of care in the community.
  12. Caregivers order tests, treatments, and other interventions based on individual patient needs regardless of how the hospital compensates or shares financial risk with leaders, managers, clinical staff, and licensed practitioners.
  13. Patients with longer lengths of stay will not be requested or required to perform any task not directly related to the plan of care.

About St. Mary’s Ethics Committee:

  • St. Mary’s Ethics Committee consists of hospital staff, medical staff and community representatives who can be helpful in facilitating a resolution to ethical questions, problems and conflicts.
  • For questions, suggestions, compliments, complaints or ethical issues, please contact 706-356-7821.
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