The Rights & Responsibilities of Patients in Treatment Facilities

April 10, 2019

When you or a loved one is checking into a substance use treatment facility, it is extremely important to know all you can about that facility. There are laws in place that treatment facilities need to adhere to. Facilities can also be certified by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), which is required to operate in accordance with Mental Hygiene Law and Regulations, as well as other applicable state and federal laws.

Patients in treatment are entitled to certain rights and are also required to meet certain responsibilities. It is encouraged that patients know their rights and responsibilities. Let’s review some of those rights and responsibilities. For a full list, be sure to visit the OASAS website.


Patient rights – A patient has the right to:

  • Be informed of the program’s rules and regulations.
  • Receive considerate and respectful care.
  • Receive services without regard to race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation or source of payment.
  • Receive confidential treatment. Except for a medical emergency, court order, child abuse or crimes committed on program premises, a program generally cannot release information about your treatment without your written consent.
  • Be fully informed of your treatment plan and participate in its development. This includes setting goals and measuring progress with your counselor.
  • Refuse treatment and be told what effect this could have on your health or status in the program.
  • Discontinue treatment at any time.
  • Obtain, in writing, an explanation of the reason(s) for your discharge from treatment and information about the program’s appeal process. And, if necessary, receive help obtaining treatment at another program.
  • Avoid inappropriate personal involvement with counselors, staff or other patients. Patients have the right to be free from sexual harassment and sexual misconduct.


Patient responsibilities

It is the patient’s responsibility to:

  • Act responsibly and cooperate with the staff from your program.
  • Treat the staff and other patients with courtesy and respect.
  • Respect the right of other patients to receive confidential treatment.
  • Participate in the development and completion of your treatment plan, which includes becoming involved in productive activities, such as work or school and not using drugs.
  • Pay for treatment on a timely basis, according to your means.
  • Talk with a counselor about problems that affect your treatment progress and recovery.
  • Offer suggestions on improving program operations.
  • Talk with a counselor before ending treatment; don’t just stop or leave.
  • Ask questions about any part of your treatment you don’t understand


In the case of an issue

In the event of an issue, a patient should follow these steps until a solution is reached:  

  1. Talk with your counselor – most matters can and should be resolved with your counselor.
  2. If your counselor cannot provide resolution, talk with his or her supervisor.
  3. If you still need help, talk with the Director of your program.
  4. If the matter is still not resolved, call the OASAS Patient Advocacy line, 1-800-553-5790, during normal business hours. Calls must be made from within New York State.  No punitive actions can be taken against those in treatment for contact the Patient Advocacy Office.


Protecting patient rights is a must, and facilities should have policies and procedures in place to ensure those rights. Tully Hill Chemical Dependency Treatment Center has these policies and procedures in place, along with an OASAS certification. A statement of patient rights and responsibilities is prominently posted in their lobby and noted in their patient handbook. Tully Hill is legally required to maintain the privacy of a patient’s health information and to give them notice of its legal duties and privacy practices with respect to their health information.



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