Patient Rights and Responsibilities

Patient Rights

As a patient at Prairie Lakes Healthcare System, you have rights that we are committed to protecting. You also have responsibilities, and understanding them will help you make decisions about your care that are best for you.

Health Status

You have the right to:

  • Receive complete and current information concerning your diagnosis, treatment, and any known prognosis
  • Be told of realistic care alternatives when hospital care is no longer appropriate

Care Planning and Treatment

You have the right to:

  • Reasonable, informed participation in the decisions involving your care
  • Refuse any participation in experimental studies or research/ educational projects affecting your care
  • Be informed of who is responsible for authorizing and performing procedures or treatment

You will not be subject to any procedure without your voluntary, competent, and understanding consent.

Refusal of Treatment

You have the right to:  

  • Refuse treatment to the extent permitted by law

When refusal of treatment by you or your legally authorized representative prevents the provision of appropriate care in accordance with professional standards, the relationship with you may be terminated upon reasonable notice.

Advance Directives

You have the right to:

  • Give directions about your wishes for medical care or to designate another person(s) to make medical decisions on your behalf

Personal Privacy

You have the right to:

  • Privacy during medical treatments and other care
  • Be examined in surroundings designed to make sure you have reasonable visual and auditory privacy
  • Have a person of your own gender present during certain parts of a physical examination, treatments, or procedure performed by a healthcare provider of the opposite sex

Personal Safety

You have the right to:

  • Expect reasonable safety where hospital practices and environment are concerned
  • Be free from all forms of abuse or harassment
  • Be placed in protective privacy when it is considered necessary for personal safety


You have the right to:

  • Confidentiality of all records and communications concerning your health history and treatment to the extent provided by law
  • Assess information in your clinical record within a reasonable time
  • Refuse to talk with or see anyone not officially connected with the hospital, including visitors or people officially connected with the hospital, but not directly involved in your care
  • Expect any discussion or consultation involving your case will be conducted discreetly, and that people not directly involved in your care will not be present without your permission

Patient Responsibilities

As a patient, you have the responsibility to:

  • Provide, to the best of your knowledge, accurate and complete information about present complaints, past illnesses, hospitaliza- tions, medications, and other health related matters
  • Report unexpected changes in your condition to your health care provider
  • Make it known if you don’t clearly understand a possible course of action and what is expected of you
  • Follow the treatment plan recommended by your healthcare provider

Grievance Process

We want your visit or stay at Prairie Lakes to be as positive as possible. A patient representative is available to talk with and to help patients, families, and visitors with issues or problems, early discharge concerns, or a complaint. If you have a complaint that has not been resolved by Prairie Lakes staff at the time of your complaint and you wish to file a formal grievance, you may do so by telephone, letter, or in person at the address and phone number below.

Prairie Lakes Healthcare System
401 9th Ave NW
Watertown SD 57201
Attn: Patient Representative
605-882-7672 (may leave a message after hours)
Business Hours: Monday through Friday 8 AM – 4:30 PM

Resolution of your grievance is important to us and you will receive written responses from Prairie Lakes regarding your grievance. The first written response will be within seven (7) business days to let you know we have received your grievance and any findings from the review and investigation surrounding the grievance. Depending on the nature of your grievance, the review and investigation may take a period of time. Prairie Lakes will provide a written response at intervals no greater than thirty (30) days to keep you informed of the progress as we work to resolve the grievance.

In addition to contacting the hospital’s Patient Representative, grievances may also be directed to the South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care at 605-336-3505 or the South Dakota Department of Health at 1-800-738-2301.