Patient Bill of Rights

UM Health-Sparrow’s mission is to improve the health of the people in our communities by providing quality, compassionate care to every person, every time. In fulfilling this mission, and in accordance with Michigan Compiled Laws Annotated (MCLA), the following rights and responsibilities apply to all patients, including neonates, children, adolescents and adults. by contacting your home health nurse or physician.

Hospital care involves a unique partnership between the patient, family, physician and hospital staff based on mutual trust and respect. Respecting each person’s rights and responsibilities is the first step in establishing a trusting relationship.

Your Rights as a Patient at UM Health-Sparrow

As a patient at UM Health-Sparrow, you have the right to information, presented in understandable terms, upon the delivery of care.

Emergency Treatment

You have the right to emergency treatment to stabilize your condition if you come to the hospital Emergency Department.

Access to Respectful Care

You have the right to access fair treatment in a safe setting, regardless of age, race, creed, sex, personal characteristics, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, cultural or spiritual values, disability, or source of payment. Accommodations, such as those pertaining to service animals, will be honored as outlined by the ADA.


Patient safety is our priority. As a patient, you have the right to have care provided in a safe setting. Everyone at UM Health-Sparrow has a role in making your healthcare safe. You play a vital role in making your care safe by becoming an active, involved and informed member of your healthcare team.

Your perception of risks to safety and suggestions or ideas for improvement will be heard and responded to properly. Please let your healthcare providers know of any concerns you have. Your suggestions for improvement are always welcome

You may also submit suggestions or ideas by calling the Patient Experience Department at 517-364-3935 or 43935 if dialing from within UM Health-Sparrow. 

You have the right to know the identity and title of individuals providing service and to know which physician or other practitioner is primarily responsible for your care. Your healthcare team may include other physicians, resident physicians, physician assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, or students.

You have the right to be free from seclusion and the use of any restraint that is not medically necessary. These measures are determined by your physician and used only to prevent injury to yourself or others, and only when alternative, less restrictive measures have been considered.

You have the right to be free from mental, physical, sexual, and verbal abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

Communication and Visitation

You have the right to hear or see information in a way that you can understand.

You have the right to hear or see information in your preferred language if you don’t speak English or are hearing impaired. Translation services are provided free of charge.

You have a right to quick and reasonable response to questions and requests.

You have the right to have visitors and to receive phone calls and written communication. Visitors may be your spouse, your domestic partner (including a same-sex domestic partner), another family member, or a friend, unless the individual’s presence interferes with others’ rights, safety, or is medically or therapeutically unsafe.

You have the right to accept and refuse to see visitors, except in the case of a physician order.

Privacy and Confidentiality

You have the right, within the law, to personal and informational privacy in treatment and in caring for your personal needs with recognition of personal dignity, diversity, and religious and other spiritual preferences.

You have the right to refuse to talk with or see anyone not officially connected with the hospital, including visitors or persons officially connected with the hospital but not directly involved in your care.

You have the right to be interviewed and examined in surroundings designed to assure reasonable visual and auditory privacy. This includes the right to request to have another person present during certain parts of a physical examination, treatment, or procedure performed by a health professional.

You have the right to expect that any discussion involving your care will be conducted discreetly and that individuals not directly involved in your care will not be present without permission.

You have the right to have the medical record accessed only by individuals for purposes as allowed under the law.

Pain Management

You have the right to appropriate assessment and management of pain that may include:

  • Information about pain management and pain relief measures.
  • Staff committed to pain prevention and management.
  • Health professionals who respond promptly to reports of pain.
  • The knowledge that reports of pain will be addressed.

Information and Education

You have the right to obtain, from the healthcare team responsible for coordinating and providing your care, complete and current information about diagnosis (to the degree known), treatment, alternatives, risks, and any known prognosis. This information should be communicated in terms you can understand. When it is not medically advisable to give you such information, it should be made available to your legal representative.

You can expect to be provided with information:

  • That is necessary for you to safely continue your care when you leave the hospital.
  • To help promote recovery and maintain or improve function.
  • To help with disease management or symptom progression.
  • To help improve outcomes.


You have the right to reasonable, informed participation in decisions involving your healthcare. To the degree possible, this should be based on a clear and concise explanation of your condition and planned procedures, including potential benefits, the possibilities of any risk of death or serious side effects, problems related to recuperation, and probability of success.

Before undergoing any procedure, you or your legal representative will voluntarily provide informed consent. You will be informed if medically significant alternatives for care or treatment exist.

You have the right to request treatment. However, your right to make decisions about healthcare does not mean you can demand treatment or services that are medically inappropriate or unnecessary.

Refusal of Treatment

You have the right to refuse treatment or withhold informed consent. Except for emergencies, the physician must obtain the necessary informed consent prior to the start of any procedure or treatment, or both.

Your participation in clinical trials or in the gathering of data for research purposes is voluntary. You have the right to refuse participation at any time in the process

Advance Directives

You have a right to receive information about advance directives. Advance directives ensure that your wishes, in written or oral form, are carried out. When your advance directives are presented in a valid format, UM Health-Sparrow will honor your wishes and retain them in your current medical record when appropriate.

The Designation of Patient Advocate (Advance Directives) form includes Directions for Health Care and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. For more information, contact your caregiver or call Patient Experience at 517-364-3938 or 43938 if dialing from within UM Health-Sparrow to speak with a Patient Experience Coordinator.

Medical Records

You have the right to see your medical record at a time suitable for both you and the staff. Once discharged, you may request and obtain a copy of your medical record by calling 517-364-2276.

You have the right to request changes to your Protected Health Information (PHI).

You have the right to confidentiality, privacy, and security of your records, both personal and medical. We may use or disclose PHI without your permission as described in our Notice of Privacy Practices, for example to coordinate your care or submit a claim to your insurance company.

You have a variety of other rights related to your medical records that are explained in the UM Health-Sparrow Notice of Privacy Practices. You may obtain a copy of the Notice of Privacy Practices by contacting Patient Experience at 517-364-3935 or 43935 if dialing from within UM Health-Sparrow.

Concerns About Billing

You have the right to details about all items on your bill. Upon request, information concerning financial help will be given to you. If you have a question about billing or insurance, call 517-364-7999.

Your Responsibilities as a Patient at UM Health-Sparrow

Respect and Consideration

You are responsible for being considerate of the rights of other patients and healthcare staff. This includes not smoking and controlling noise and visitors. Caregivers and patients have an expectation of privacy that must be honored. Video recording, voice recording, and photographing others are strictly limited. You are responsible for being respectful of the property of others and of UM Health-Sparrow. You understand that any abusive or disrespectful behavior could result in your dismissal from care.


You play a vital role in making your care safe by becoming an active, involved and informed member of your healthcare team. You are responsible to:

  • Work with your doctor, nurse, and other care providers to make decisions about your care.
  • Ask a family member or friend to be part of your healthcare team if you are very sick.
  • Ask questions until you understand the answers (about treatments, procedures, medications, etc.).
  • Learn about the possible risks of refusing a test or procedure.
  • Ask why a test or treatment is needed, how it can help you and if you would be better off without it. Know that more is not always better.
  • Make sure that you, your doctor and your surgeon all agree and are clear on exactly what will be done if you are having surgery.
  • Ask your doctor or healthcare providers to explain the recommended or prescribed treatment plan.

Ask for information about your medicines, if any, in terms you can understand. You need to know:

  • What it is for
  • How to take it
  • How long to take it
  • What the side effects are
  • What to do if there are side effects
  • If it is safe to take with other medicines, foods, and supplements
  • What food, drink, activities to avoid
  • Where to store it


You are responsible for following the treatment plan recommended by the physician primarily responsible for your care. This may include following the instructions of nurses and other healthcare team members as they carry out your plan of care, implement the responsible physician’s orders, and enforce applicable rules and regulations.

Pain Management

You are responsible for:

  • Working with the physician and nurse to develop a pain management plan.
  • Asking the physician or nurse what to expect of pain and pain management.
  • Helping the physician and nurse assess your pain.
  • Discussing pain relief options with physician and nurses.
  • Telling the physician or nurse about any concerns you have about taking pain medication.
  • Asking for pain relief when pain first begins.
  • Complying with physician orders regarding medication.
  • Telling the physician or nurse if and when pain is not relieved.

Providing Information

As a patient, you are an integral part of your healthcare team. Therefore, you are responsible for:

  • Participating in your care and healthcare decisions
  • Providing, to the best of your knowledge, accurate and complete information about present complaints, past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications, allergies and other matters relating to your health
  • Reporting unexpected changes in your condition to the responsible practitioner
  • Communicating whether you clearly understand your plan of care and what is expected of you


You are expected to participate in the teaching/learning process so that you will acquire and understand the skills and behaviors that promote recovery, maintain or improve function, or manage disease or symptom progression.

Advance Directives

If you have an advance directive in a valid format and present it either at registration or to a member of your healthcare team, it will be retained in your current medical record when appropriate.

You are responsible for informing UM Health-Sparrow and your healthcare providers if you create, modify, or revoke an advance directive. An advance directive is not required to receive treatment, and you may waive your right to make one.

If you are incapacitated or unable to speak for yourself, in the absence of Advance Directives, Michigan state law provides that a proxy may speak for you. The following may serve as a proxy in order of authority: a spouse, an adult child or majority of adult children, a parent, an adult sibling or majority of adult siblings, an adult relative who has exhibited special care and concern or a close friend, or a court approved surrogate.

Ethics Committee

Ethical challenges can arise in the course of caring for sick patients in a modern hospital.

An Ethics Consultation is a meeting in which patients and families and the healthcare team openly discuss challenges in order to address them in a helpful manner.

If a conflict of an ethical nature arises during your care, you or your legal representative may request an Ethics Consult. You may ask any member of your healthcare team to help you request a consultation.


You are responsible for assuring that your financial obligations for healthcare received are fulfilled as promptly as possible.

Refusing Treatment

You are responsible for your actions if you refuse treatment or do not follow the healthcare team’s instructions.

Personal Property

UM Health-Sparrow is not responsible for cash, valuables, and personal items you bring to the hospital. If you are an inpatient, please leave all jewelry and valuables and other personal items at home or send them home with family members or a person whom you trust to properly secure them. If necessary and upon request, hospital caregivers will contact Security for you to store smaller valuables in the hospital safe.

Your Concerns

If you or your legal representative has a concern about any aspect of your care at UM Health-Sparrow, you are urged to let us know so we can resolve it promptly. This reporting will in no way negatively impact future care. We consider your comments opportunities for us to improve care and service. To address concerns, you may:

  • Speak to your physician or nurse (the most direct option).
  • Speak to the supervisor of the department where the concern arose.
  • If an inpatient, you also may talk with the charge nurse, nurse manager, patient care director, administrator or house supervisor on call. The operator can connect you with any of these individuals.

If your healthcare providers cannot promptly resolve your concerns, please contact Patient Experience at 517-364-3935 or 43935 if dialing from within UM Health-Sparrow.

You may also submit your complaint by email at or by direct mail, addressed to:

Patient Experience Department
1215 E. Michigan Avenue
Lansing, MI 48912

If your concern is not resolved to your satisfaction by UM Health-Sparrow, you also have the right to file a complaint with any of the following organizations:

  • Michigan Department of Community Health – The Bureau of Community and Health Systems, P.O. Box 30664, Lansing, MI 48909.
  • The Joint Commission – Office of Quality and Patient Safety, One Renaissance Blvd., Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181. 
  • For patients with Medicare: Livanta LLC, BFCC-QIO, 10820 Guilford Rd., Suite 202, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701-1105.

Nondiscrimination and Accessibility Notice

Discrimination is against the law. UM Health-Sparrow Health System does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, weight, height, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, or disability in patient admission, treatment, or participation in its programs, services, and activities.

Individuals who believe they have been subjected to discrimination should contact Diversity and Inclusion at 517-364-5076.

Interpreter Services

UM Health-Sparrow provides free aids and services to people with disabilities to communicate effectively with our caregivers, such as:

  • Qualified sign language interpreters
  • Written information in other formats (large print, audio, and other accessible electronic formats)

UM Health-Sparrow also provides free language services to people whose primary language is not English, such as qualified interpreters, and important information written in other languages.

If you need these services, contact Interpreter Services at 517-364-2953.

ATTENTION: If you speak a language other than English, language assistance services are free of charge and available to you. Call 1-517-364-3935.

ATENCIÓN: Si habla un idioma distinto del inglés, hay servicios gratuitos de asistencia con el idioma, disponibles para usted. Llame al 1-517-253-2405.

انتبه:إذا كنت تتحدث لغة بخالف اإلنجليزية، فإن خدمات المساعدة اللغوية مجانية ومتاحة لك. اتصل برقم 1-517-253-2406.


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Related information

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Notice of Privacy Practices

This notice describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information.
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Discrimination is against the law. UM Health-Sparrow complies with applicable federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin,