Patient Rights and Responsibilities

Find your care

If you are a new patient seeking prenatal care, please call 310-794-7274. If you are an established patient and need to reach labor and delivery, call 310-825-9111 for Westwood or 424-259-9250 for Santa Monica.

As a patient at The BirthPlace, Santa Monica, you are entitled to certain rights regarding privacy, patient safety, advance directives and other issues. You also have some responsibilities while receiving care at our hospital.

Patient Rights

Doctor speaking to patients

You have many rights as a patient in accordance with requirements of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations; Title 22, California Code of Regulations, Section 70707: and Medicare Conditions of Participation. They are posted throughout the hospital and available online and upon request from our Admissions Department. They are also described at the end of this document for your convenience.

Patient Responsibilities

As a patient, you have the responsibility to:

  • Treat those who are treating you with respect and courtesy.
  • Be considerate of the rights of other patients and hospital personnel.
  • Observe the medical center’s rules and regulations, including the Visitor and No Smoking policies.
  • Be as accurate and complete as possible when providing information about your medical history and present condition, including your level of pain.
  • Cooperate fully with the instructions given to you by those providing your care.
  • Fulfill the financial obligations of your healthcare, know your insurance benefits and eligibility requirements, and inform the hospital of changes in your benefits.
  • Provide a copy of your Advance Directive (Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare) if you have one.

Infant Safety and Security

For the safety of your baby, you and the baby’s father or your support person will be given identification bracelets to wear during your stay. Please wear the bracelets until you are discharged. The bracelet is one component of a comprehensive Infant Security System at The BirthPlace, Santa Monica.

All hospital personnel who care for you and your baby should be wearing a UCLA Health badge.
If someone is not wearing a badge, ask for identification or call your nurse.

Please do not leave your baby unattended in your room. If you are alone and need to shower or use the restroom, call your nurse for assistance. Always make sure your baby is being transported in a bassinet. Carrying your baby in the hallways is not permitted.

Child Passenger Safety Law

California law requires that all children be restrained in a federally approved car seat when traveling by automobile. The law remains in effect until the child is age 6 and weighs at least 60 pounds. You must have an infant car seat to transport your baby home. Remember that all babies under 1 year of age must be secured in a car seat facing backward in the back seat for at least one year but preferably two, as recommended by safety experts.

Know Your Physicians

Make sure that you know who is in charge of your care and that your healthcare professionals know who you are. This is particularly important when many people are involved in your treatment. All physicians, nurses or other staff members should check your identification bracelet before examination and treatment.

Speak Up

If you have questions or concerns, speak up. You have the right to know about your care and to ask questions of any member of your care team. If you need to undergo an unplanned procedure, be informed. Make sure that you, your doctor and your surgeon all agree on what exactly needs to be done.

Recognize Your Medication

Pouring medication into patients hand

UCLA nurses follow a careful procedure to ensure that the medications they give to the patient are the correct ones. If the medications you receive do not look familiar, alert your doctor or nurse. Don’t forget to check your prescription labels when you take your medication at home.


UCLA Health policy mandates that every care provider, including doctors, nurses and other staff, wash their hands before and after performing any “hands on” procedures with patients. Overwhelming evidence shows that washing hands is the single most important precaution that anyone (including your doctor or nurse) can take to effectively prevent the spread of infection. If you notice any members of your healthcare team have forgotten to wash their hands, remind them — it is for everyone’s benefit.

Smoking Policy

Smoking is prohibited throughout our hospital and our medical campus to help ensure the health, safety and comfort of all patients, visitors and staff members.

Our Commitment to Patient Privacy

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA, established federal regulations for key aspects of healthcare, including patient privacy and health information security. Our medical center is committed to protecting your privacy and medical information. We create a record of your treatment and services at our hospital to help with your care. We treat your medical record as confidential information and only use or disclose it to the extent permitted by this law.

As a Patient of The BirthPlace, You Have the Right to:

  • Considerate and respectful care, and to be made comfortable.
  • Have your cultural, psychosocial, spiritual, and personal values, beliefs and preferences respected.
  • Have a family member (or other representative of your choosing) and your own physician notified promptly of your admission to the hospital.
  • Know the name of the licensed healthcare practitioner acting within the scope of his or her professional licensure who has primary responsibility for coordinating your care, and the names and professional relationships of physicians and nonphysicians who will see you.
  • Receive information about your health status, diagnosis, prognosis, course of treatment, prospects for recovery and outcomes of care (including unanticipated outcomes) in terms you can understand. You have the right to effective communication and to participate in the development and implementation of your plan of care. You have the right to participate in ethical questions that arise in the course of your care, including issues of conflict resolution, withholding resuscitative services, and forgoing or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment, or to request an ETHICS consult by calling (310) 794-6219 or paging ID# 38442.
  • Make decisions regarding medical care, and receive as much information about any proposed treatment or procedure as you may need in order to give informed consent or to refuse a course of treatment. Except in emergencies, this information shall include a description of the procedure or treatment, the medically significant risks involved, alternate courses of treatment or nontreatment and the risks involved in each, and the name of the person who will carry out the procedure or treatment.
  • Request or refuse treatment, to the extent permitted by law. However, you do not have the right to demand inappropriate or medically unnecessary treatment or services. You have the right to leave the hospital even against the advice of members of the medical staff, to the extent permitted by law.
  • Be advised if the hospital/licensed healthcare practitioner acting within the scope of his or her professional licensure 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.
  • Reasonable responses to any reasonable requests made for service.
  • Appropriate assessment and management of your pain, information about pain, pain relief measures and to participate in pain management decisions. You may request or reject the use of any or all modalities to relieve pain, including opiate medication, if you suffer from severe chronic intractable pain. The doctor may refuse to prescribe the opiate medication, but if so, must inform you that there are physicians who specialize in the treatment of severe chronic pain with methods that include the use of opiates.
  • Formulate advance directives. This includes designating a decision maker if you become incapable of understanding a proposed treatment or become unable to communicate your wishes regarding care. Hospital staff and practitioners who provide care in the hospital shall comply with these directives. All patients’ rights apply to the person who has legal responsibility to make decisions regarding medical care on your behalf.
  • Have personal privacy respected. Case discussion, consultation, examination, and treatment are confidential and should be conducted discreetly. You have the right to be told the reason for the presence of any individual. You have the right to have visitors leave prior to an examination and when treatment issues are being discussed. Privacy curtains will be used in semi-private rooms.
  • Confidential treatment of all communications and records pertaining to your care and stay in the hospital. You will receive a separate “Notice of Privacy Practices” that explains your privacy rights in detail and how we may use and disclose your protected health information.
  • Receive care in a safe setting, free from mental, physical, sexual or verbal abuse and neglect, exploitation or harassment. You have the right to access protective and advocacy services including notifying government agencies of neglect or abuse.
  • Be free from restraints and seclusion of any form used as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience or retaliation by staff.
  • Reasonable continuity of care and to know in advance the time and location of your appointments as well as the identity of the persons providing the care.
  • Be informed by the physician, or delegate of the physician, of continuing health care requirements and options following discharge from the hospital. You have the right to be involved in the development and implementation of your discharge plan. Upon your request, a friend or family member may be provided this information also.
  • Know which hospital rules and policies apply to your conduct while a patient.
  • Designate visitors of your choosing, if you have decision-making capacity, whether or not the visitor is related by blood or marriage, unless:
      • No visitors are allowed.
      • The facility reasonably determines that the presence of a particular visitor would endanger the health or safety of a patient, a member of the health facility staff or other visitor to the health facility, or would significantly disrupt the operations of the facility.
      • You have told the health facility staff that you no longer want a particular person to visit.

    However, the health facility may establish reasonable restrictions upon visitation, including restrictions upon the hours of visitation and number of visitors. The health facility must inform you (or your support person, where appropriate) of your visitation rights, including any clinical restrictions or limitations. The health facility is not permitted to restrict, limit, or otherwise deny visitation privileges on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.

  • Have your wishes considered, if you lack decision-making capacity, for the purposes of determining who may visit. The method of that consideration will comply with federal law and be disclosed in the hospital policy on visitation. At a minimum, the hospital shall include any persons living in your household and any support person pursuant to federal law.
  • Examine and receive an explanation of the hospital’s bill regardless of the source of payment.
  • Exercise these rights without regard to sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, disability, medical condition, marital status, sexual orientation, educational background, economic status or the source of payment for care.
  • File a grievance with UCLA Health by calling:
      • Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center Patient Affairs (Inpatient/Ambulatory Care) (310) 267-9113
      • UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica Patient Affairs (424) 259-9120
      • Stewart and Lynda Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA Ombudsperson (310) 267-9092

    The grievance committee will review each grievance and provide you with a written response within 30 days. The written response will contain the name of a person to contact at the hospital, the steps taken to investigate the grievance, the results of the grievance process, and the date of completion of the grievance process. Concerns regarding quality of care or premature discharge will also be referred to the appropriate Utilization and Quality Control Peer Review Organization (PRO).

  • File a complaint with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) regardless of whether you use the hospital’s grievance process, by calling (626) 569-3724 / Toll Free: (800) 228-1019 or writing to:

    CDPH, Los Angeles District Office
    3400 Aerojet Avenue, Suite 323
    El Monte, CA 91731

  • File a grievance with The Joint Commission (TJC) by faxing (630) 792-5636 or emailing [email protected]
    You can also write to:

    Division of Accreditation Operations
    Office of Quality Monitoring
    Joint Commission on Accreditationof Healthcare Organizations
    One Renaissance Boulevard
    Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
  • File a grievance regarding the conduct of a physician by calling the California Medical Board at (800) 633-2322 or writing to:
    2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 1200
    Sacramento, CA 95815