Can you understand the Patients’ Bill of Rights?

Consider that the average American reads at an eighth-grade reading level.

That’s a problem when you consider how complicated and dense the actual Patients’ Bill of Rights one typically receives at health care institutions.

There is no federal bill of rights, so the document’s complexity can vary by state. A recent study showed that almost half of the states’ bills required a level equivalent to two years of college. Also, they tended only to be present in English.

So, given these problems, the authors of the study commented that “the implementation of this particular part of that patients’ rights movement has been a failure, because patients are not activated or empowered by these documents.”

Although patients cannot be expected to understand the legalese that often confronts them, the language needs to be simple and clear enough for them to understand their rights within the health care system.