Patient Rights

As a natural outgrowth of our organizational values and mission, the board of directors, medical staff, and employees of Saint Francis Medical Center jointly affirm and recognize the following rights and responsibilities of patients. These rights and responsibilities apply to all patients, including neonatal, pediatric and adult. If you have any questions regarding this information, please ask your healthcare provider to contact a supervisor or manager:

Access to Care

As a patient, you have the right to impartial care and treatment that is available in our Medical Center regardless of race, creed, national origin, sex, age or financial status. Patients can freely voice complaints and recommend changes without being subject to coercion, discrimination, reprisal, or unreasonable interruption of care, treatment and service.

Respect and Dignity

  • You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect at all times and under all circumstances.
  • You have the right to pastoral counseling and spiritual care services.
  • You have the right to have your cultural, psychosocial, spiritual, and personal values, beliefs, and preferences respected.
  • You may wear appropriate clothing and religious or other symbolic items as long as they do not interfere with diagnostic procedures or treatments.

Pain Management

You can expect information about pain and pain relief measures, health professionals who respond quickly to reports of pain, and state-of-the-art pain management.

Privacy and Confidentiality

You have the right, within the law, to personal and medical information privacy. You may refuse to talk to or see anyone not officially connected with Saint Francis Medical Center, including visitors or persons officially connected with Saint Francis Medical Center but not directly involved in your care.

You can expect that your medical records will be treated as confidential information and that only those persons who are directly involved in your care or in monitoring it will have access to your records. Only your written authorization can change this.

  • You or your surrogate decision-maker has the right to consent to or refuse proposed treatment.
  • You also have the right to consult with a specialist and to know about alternative methods of treatment and the probable outcomes.
  • You have the right to be informed if the Medical Center proposes to engage in or perform human experimentation affecting your care or treatment.
  • You have the right to refuse to participate in such research projects.


You have the right to receive information in your preferred method of communication (written, verbal, communication boards, etc.). This can include interpretation and translation services as needed at no cost. This also includes providing you with needed help if you have vision, speech, hearing or cognitive impairments.

Protective Services

You or your family may feel there is a need for protective services (i.e., guardianship, conservatorship, child or adult protective services). If you have a complaint you wish to file, the medical center will provide you with a list of those names, addresses, and phone numbers and will assist you in any way they can.

Personal Safety

You have the right to reasonable safety as far as Medical Center practices and environment are concerned.

Ethics Committee

Sometimes patients, families and staff have difficult choices and ethical questions they need to talk about (e.g., questions on end-of-life care) or issues related to your rights and responsibilities (e.g., safety, pain management, confidentiality). Members of the Ethics Committee are available to address difficult ethical issues. To access the Ethics Committee, ask your healthcare provider to contact a supervisor or manager.


You have the right to information regarding the identity and professional status of the physician treating you. You, your surrogate decision maker, or when appropriate, your family, have the right to discuss the outcome of all procedures with your physician. This explanation should be sufficiently clear for you to understand. You also have the right to participate in planning your care and to know the risks involved. If we are unable to give you this information, it should be given to person(s) legally authorized to receive it. You have the right to be included in any discussions/decisions regarding ethical issues in your care.

Transfer and Continuity of Care

You have the right to participate in your discharge planning, including available service options and a choice of agencies that provide those services. You have the right not to be transferred to another facility unless the reason for it and the alternatives have been explained to you and unless the next facility agrees to accept you. You have the right to be instructed in your continued self-care before your discharge from Saint Francis Medical Center.

Discharge Planning

Patients have the right to request assistance with discharge planning by calling 573-331-5339 prior to leaving Saint Francis Medical Center. On weekends and holidays, please call the Medical Center’s operator by dialing “0” or 573-331-3000 and asking for the shift administrator. The shift administrator will contact a social worker to assist with the discharge process.

Medical Center Charges

You have the right to receive an itemized bill and explanation of charges. You also have the right to notice of termination of a third party payer’s reimbursement.

Medical Center Rules and Regulations

You have the right to be free from abuse, harassment, neglect or exploitation. You also have the right to know Medical Center rules and regulations for patient care and for handling complaints.

Patient Complaints and Grievances

You have the right to be informed of the Medical Center’s patient complaint and grievance policies and procedures and who to contact to assist in resolution of a concern. You also have the right to file a complaint or grievance and to expect prompt resolution.

A patient complaint is a concern related to quality of care, safety or services rendered that can be resolved promptly with staff present. We encourage you to inform us of any complaint you may have while you are in our care so it will be addressed in a timely manner. If you have a complaint, you are encouraged to notify your nurse or other provider who will work to resolve your concern.

A patient grievance is a complaint that cannot be resolved at the time it is brought to the Medical Center’s attention by staff present and can be in verbal or written form. If you feel your complaint has not been resolved promptly, you may file a grievance by contacting Justin Davison, President and Chief Financial Officer, Saint Francis Healthcare System, at 573-331-5128. You may also reach out to the Patient Care Concerns Hotline at 573-331-3927. If you would llke to put your grievance in writing, you may send it to 211 Saint Francis Drive, Cape Girardeau, MO 63703. You will be notified that your grievance has been received, and it will be investigated. In addition, you will receive a written response once the grievance has been resolved. All information regarding your complaint and resolution will be kept confidential and will not compromise the care you will receive.

If you have a grievance with this facility, you may report it at any time to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, P.O. Box 570, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0570 or call 573-751-6303. You may also contact The Joint Commission, 1 Renaissance Boulevard, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181 or call 630-792-5000.

Notice of Nondiscrimination

Please see our Notice of Nondiscrimination

Provision of Information

  • As a patient, you have the responsibility to provide information about your present and past illnesses and treatments.
  • You have the responsibility to communicate whether or not you understand the treatment plan designed for you.
  • You and your family are responsible for reporting unexpected changes in your condition to the responsible practitioner.

Reporting Pain

You have the responsibility to discuss relief options with doctors and nurses, help the doctors and nurses assess pain, and tell the doctors and nurses if your pain is not relieved.

Respect and Consideration

You have the responsibility to respect other patients and the personnel involved in your care and treatment. You are responsible for being respectful of the property of other persons and Saint Francis Medical Center.

Compliance with Instructions

You have the responsibility to participate in the teaching and treatment plan recommended by the personnel who care for you. You and your family are responsible for following the treatment plan developed with your practitioners.

You should express any concerns you have about your ability to follow the proposed course of treatment. The Medical Center, in turn, will make every effort to adapt the treatment plan to your specific needs and limitations.

You and your family should understand the consequences of failing to follow the recommended course of treatment or of using other treatments. If you or your family refuses treatment or fails to follow the practitioner’s instructions, you are responsible for the outcome.

Sometimes disagreements occur about a course of treatment. Usually these disagreements can be talked through and resolved. However, if they continue, you should talk to your physician or care coordinator. They can assist you in finding other resolutions.

Medical Center Charges

You are responsible for meeting the financial obligations of your health care as promptly as possible.

Advance Directives

People everywhere are facing decisions about issues such as life support, nutrition and resuscitation efforts for themselves and family members. Saint Francis knows the importance of such issues. We would like to provide you with some information to help answer questions you might have.

Stating Your Wishes in Writing

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling states all competent people can refuse medical treatment. This includes life-prolonging procedures. This ruling also gives you the right to name someone else to make these decisions for you, if you cannot make them for yourself. An advance directive is a paper, such as a living will or durable power of attorney, for healthcare. This allows you to let others know what you would want if you could not speak for yourself. If properly enacted, your advance directive should be honored in any state according to that state’s law and Medical Center policy.

Patients interested in information on advance directives should notify their nurse or contact Pastoral Care at 573-331-5146.


The doctors, nurses and clinical staff at Saint Francis Medical Center are dedicated to keeping patients healthy by providing very good care. To provide feedback, or if you’d like to let us know about an area where Saint Francis does not meet a need or where room exists for improvement, please call 573-331-3927.

If your concern is not resolved, you may contact Department of Health and Senior Services, P.O. Box 570, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0570 (573-751-6303), or The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, 1 Renaissance Blvd., Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181 (800-994-6610).

For more information, please see our Patient Rights, Responsibilities, Advance Directives and Financial Assistance brochure.