JUNE 11, 2010
Minnesota Senator Yvonne Prettner Solon and Minnesota Senate Counsel Katie Cavanor wrote to Dennis Laurion to discuss the legislative intent of the Minnesota Patient Bill of Rights
[This text is copied from Exhibits AA-196, AA-197, and AA-198 of the Minnesota Defamation Lawsuit of David McKee, MD, V. Dennis K. Laurion, Minnesota Sixth Judicial District Case 69DU-CV-10-1706, Filed June 9, 2010.]
Yvonne Prettner Solon State Senator State Capitol Room G-9 St. Paul, MN 55155 June 11,2010 Dear Mr. Laurion: Thank you for contacting me to share your story. I am very concerned about the manner in which you say your father was treated. I am sorry your family had this experience. The Minnesota Patient Bill of Rights was enacted to "promote the interests and well being of the patients and residents of health care facilities." I am very concerned that you are now being sued for trying to protect the rights of your father. You had requested that my office send you an interpretation of the Minnesota Patient Bill of Rights. Please see the attached document that was drafted by Senate Counsel. It highlights some of the provisions that might pertain to your case and should provide the legislative interpretation that you are seeking. Thank you very much for sharing your story. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance. Sincerely, /s/ Yvonne Prettner Solon State Senator
To: Senator Yvonne Prettner Solon
From: Katie Cavanor, Senate Counsel
Date: June 10, 2010
This memo is in response to the e-mail that was sent to your office by Mr. Dennis Laurion on May 30, 2010, and the questions posed by Mr. Laurion regarding the Patient Bill of Rights found in Minnesota Statutes, section 144.651. Mr. Laurion’s father was a patient at St. Luke’s Hospital located in Duluth. While I cannot provide Mr. Laurion with specific legal advice regarding his situation and the appropriateness of the defamation lawsuit that has been brought against Mr. Laurion, I can provide information regarding the Patient Bill of Rights and the avenues provided in the statute to file a complaint if a patient feels that their rights have been violated.
The legislative intent of the Patient Bill of Rights is to”promote the interests and well being of the patients and residents of health care facilities.” Patients shall at admission be given a written statement that describes the legal rights that are contained in the Patient Bill of Rights and shall be informed by the facility that these legal rights are for their protection during their stay at the facility. A guardian or conservator, or in the absence of a guardian or conservator, any interested person may seek enforcement of these rights on behalf of a patient.
There are several rights contained in the Patient Bill of Rightsthat may be at issue under the scenario described in Mr. Laurion’s e-mail. The first and foremost is the right found under section 144.651, subdivision 5, which states that a patient has the right to be treated with courtesy and respect for their individuality by employees of or persons providing service in a health care facility. Other rights contained in the Patient Bill of Rights that might be at issue are found under the following subdivisions of section 144.651:
Subdivision 6 – Appropriate health care. A patient has the right to appropriate medical and personal care based on individual need.
Subdivision 9 – Information about treatment. A patient shall be given by their physicians complete and current information concerning their diagnosis, treatment, alternatives, risks, and prognosis as required by the physician’s duty to disclose. Patients may be accompanied by a family member or other chosen representative or both.
Subdivision 10 – Participation in planning treatment, notification of family members. A patient has the right to participate in the planning of their health care. This right includes the opportunity to discuss treatment and alternatives with individual caregivers.
Subdivision 15 – Treatment privacy. A patient has the right to respectfullness and privacy as it relates to their medical and personal care program. Examination and treatment are confidential and shall be conducted discreetly. Privacy shall be respected.
Subdivision 18 – Responsive service. A patient has the right to a prompt and reasonable response to their questions and requests.
Subdivision 19 – Personal privacy. A patient has the right to every consideration of their privacy.
Under Subdivision 20, the Patient Bill of Rights specifies that patients shall be encouraged and assited throughout their stay in a facility or their course of treatment, to understand and exercise their rights as patients. Patients may voice grievances and recommend changes in policies and services to facility staff and others of their choice free from restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisals. Notice of the grievance procedure of the facility, as well as the address and telephone number of the Office of Health Facility Complaints shall be posted in a conspicuous place.
This requirement is further reiterated under Section 144.652, which states that copies of the Patient Bill of Rights shall be provided to the patient upon admittance to the facility and that the policy statement must include the address and telephone number of the board of Medical Practice and/or the name and telephone number of the person within the facility to whom inquiries about the medical care may be directed. The statement must also include a brief description on how to file a complaint with the Office of Health Facility Complaints regarding a violation of the Patient Bill of Rights.
I would encourage Mr. Laurion to discuss with St. Luke’s Hospital his grievances with the treatment that his father received while a patient at st. Luke’s, and to pursue a formal complaint with the Office of Health Facility Complaints against St. Luke’s if st. Luke’s does not address these grievances to the satisfaction of Mr. Laurion, which is clearly his right under the Patient Bill of Rights and section 144.651.
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