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St. Vincent Medical Center


 St. Vincent Medical Center

Patient Rights and Responsibilities

St. Vincent Medical Center is dedicated to creating the best experience possible for our patients. This Patient and Visitor section provides information to assist you during your hospital stay.

You are responsible for and have the right to:

  1. Considerate and respectful care, and to be made comfortable. You have the right to respect for your cultural, psychosocial, spiritual, and personal values, beliefs, and preferences. You should be considerate and respectful of other patients and hospital personnel by not making unnecessary noise, smoking, or causing distractions.
  2. Have effective communication for critical information.  This is especially important when you receive information from your physician about your diagnosis, prognosis, treatment or consent for treatment or when you are discussing complex billing or insurance matters with a St. Vincent Medical Center employee.  Language interpreters, sign-language interpreters, and vision assist devices are available at no charge to you.  Please request the need of such a service from a nurse or call the St. Vincent Medical Center Operator (0).
  3. Have a family member (or other representative of your choosing) and your own physician notified promptly of your admission to the hospital.
  4. Know the name of the physician who has primary responsibility for coordinating your care and the names and professional relationships of other physicians and non-physicians who will see you.
  5. Know that all physicians are members of the medical staff and are not employees of St. Vincent Medical Center. This includes the radiologists, emergency department physicians, pathologists, anesthesiologists, and the like. All physicians bill separately for their services.
  6. 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 should provide accurate and complete information about your past and present health, medications and treatments. You should report any changes in your condition to your physician. You should follow the treatment plan developed and express any concerns you have about your ability to follow the proposed course of treatment.
  7. 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. If you or your families have questions or concerns, please contact Social Services at (213) 484-7382.
  8. 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 non-treatment and the risks involved in each, and the name of the person who will carry out the procedure or treatment. You should ask questions when you do not understand what has been told to you about your diagnosis or treatment plan.
  9. Request or refuse treatment, to the extent permitted by law if you have decision making capacity. 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 physicians, to the extent permitted by law. You have the responsibility to accept the outcome and consequences of your decision to not follow the recommended treatment. You should express any concerns about your ability to follow the recommended treatment plan to your physician.
  10. Be advised if the hospital/personal physician proposes to engage in or perform human research or experimentation affecting your care or treatment. You have the right to refuse to participate in such research projects.
  11. Reasonable responses to any reasonable requests made for assistance.
  12. 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 treatments or procedures 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.
  13. 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. If you would like information about advance healthcare directives, contact Social Services at (213) 484-7382.
  14. Have your 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Access information contained in your record within a reasonable period of time.
  17. 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. Refer to #26 below for instructions.
  18. Be free from restraints and seclusion of any form used as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience, or retaliation by staff.
  19. Reasonable continuity of care and to know in advance the time and location of appointments as well as the identity of the persons providing the care.
  20. Be informed by the physician, or a 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. You have the right to file a grievance if you feel that you are being discharged too early.
  21. Know which hospital rules and policies apply to your conduct while a patient. You should follow the hospital’s rules and regulations concerning patient care and conduct. Smoking is only permitted outside in designated areas, requires your physician’s approval and a health facility staff escort. You should respect the property of other persons and of the hospital.
  22. Determine who can visit you, who can participate in your plan of care, and who can make decisions for you in emergencies, this includes:
    • Having a family member, friend or other individual present with you for emotional support during the course of your stay (unless the individual’s presence infringes on others’ rights, safety or is medically or therapeutically contraindicated). The individual may or may not be the patient’s surrogate decision-maker or legally authorized representative.
    • Designating visitors by you that have visitation privileges that are no more restrictive than immediate family would enjoy.
    • Defining who “family” is.
    • Telling an employee you no longer want someone to visit.
    • Explaining your right to choose who may visit you during your inpatient stay, regardless of whether the visitor is a family member, a spouse, or (same or opposite sex) domestic partner, as well as the right to withdraw such consent at anytime.
  23. Have your wishes considered, if you lack decision-making capacity, for the purposes of determining who may visit. The method of that consideration will 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.
  24. Examine and receive an explanation of the hospital’s bill regardless of the source of payment.
  25. Exercise these rights without regard to age, sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin or ethnicity, physical or mental disability, culture, language, medical condition, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, educational background, socioeconomic status or the source of payment for care. You have a responsibility to meet your financial commitment.
  26. File a complaint or grievance. If you want to file a complaint with the hospital, you may do so by calling the Patient Advocate at (213) 484-7434 or mailing your complaint to the attention of the Patient Advocate. You may also visit the Patient Advocate’s office which is located on the 3rd floor of the Main Hospital. The grievance committee will review each grievance, make a reasonable effort to resolve the complaint within 7 days and provide you with a written response. The written response will contain the name of the person to contact at the hospital, the steps taken to investigate the grievance process, and the date of completion of the grievance process. Concerns regarding quality of care or premature discharge for Medicare patients will also be referred to the appropriate Quality Improvement Organization (QIO).
  27. File a complaint with the Department of Public Health (County of Los Angeles) regardless of whether you use the hospital’s grievance process. The Department of Public Health (County of Los Angeles) address and phone number is: 3400 Aerojet Avenue, Suite 323, El Monte, CA 91731, (800) 228-1019.
  28. If your concerns are not resolved through the hospital’s process; you may contact the Joint Commission’s Office of Quality Monitoring to register your complaint by calling (800) 994-6610, submitting your complaint by fax to (630) 792-5636 online at  or by emailing

To reach a patient, call (213) 484-7111. If you know their room number, call (213) 484-[7 + room number]. Patients can receive calls daily from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM.