Your Rights as a Hospital Patient in New York State - Section 3

Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System (SPARCS)

This is to notify all hospital patients that the New York State Department of Health has developed a statewide data system known as the Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System (SPARCS) and that all acute care hospitals are required to submit to SPARCS certain billing and medical record information for all patients. This information in SPARCS will be used for financial studies, rate setting, utilization review, health planning, epidemiology and research studies.

Please be assured that under this program:

  1. The New York State Department of Health will not receive the name of any patient or any information which will enable a patient to be identified within the SPARCS system.
  2. Regulations have been enacted protecting a patient's privacy and confidentiality by restricting access to any sensitive information in SPARCS and assuring review of all requests by an independent public review board.
  3. Regulations have been enacted protecting a patient's privacy and confidentiality by restricting access to any sensitive information in SPARCS and assuring review of all requests by the Data Governance Committee.
  4. SPARCS is not designed to identify specific patients; instead it is structured to provide information on patterns of illnesses and costs of care in hospitals.

This hospital is required to submit patient medical record and billing data to the Department of Health pursuant to Section 400.18 of Article 1, Subchapter A, Chapter V, Title 10 (Health) of the OFFICIAL COMPILATION OF CODES, RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK. The privacy, confidentiality and security of the information supplied is protected pursuant to Section 400.18(e) of Article 1, Subchapter A, Chapter V, Title 10 (Health) of the OFFICIAL COMPILATION OF CODES, RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK.

For further information concerning SPARCS, please contact:

  • SPARCS Operations
    Bureau of Health Informatics
    Office of Quality and Patient Safety
    New York State Department of Health
    Empire State Plaza
    Corning Tower, Room 878
    Albany, New York 12237

    Phone: (518) 473-8144
    Fax: (518) 486-3518


Data Requests:

Hospitals must provide patients with a notification letter from the New York State Department of Health that relates to the statewide data collection system known as SPARCS.
10NYCRR, 400.18 (b) (2) and (C) (2) (SPARCS Letter)

Maternity Information

Hospitals (and birth centers) must provide a copy of the Breastfeeding Mothers' Bill of Rights and the Maternity Information Leaflet to maternity patients or their appointed representative (at the time of pre-booking, attendance at prenatal childbirth education classes or at admission) and to the general public, upon request. The Breastfeeding Mothers' Bill of Rights requires that women are informed of the hospital's obligation to provide breastfeeding instruction, assistance and support and information about the benefits of breastfeeding that is free of commercial interests. This information will inform you about what to expect, your childbirth choices and rights, and help you plan for your baby's birth.

The Maternity Information Leaflet includes information about your hospital's maternity-related procedures and practices. The hospital-specific statistics and the average statistics for all NY hospitals that provide maternity care are updated yearly. This allows you to compare your hospital's statistics to other NY hospitals regarding the type of deliveries (e.g., Cesarean sections), the use of selected procedures during birth, breastfeeding rates, or the availability of birthing rooms or rooming-in.

  • Inpatient insurance coverage in New York State is provided for a mother and her newborn for at least 48 hours after childbirth for vaginal delivery and at least 96 hours after a caesarean section. In addition, each hospital must provide patient education, assistance and training in breast or bottlefeeding and any necessary maternal or newborn clinical assessments. Check with your insurance company for more details on your maternity coverage.
  • Maternal depression or baby blues may occur after giving birth. Your body has undergone physical and hormonal changes, which may leave you with feelings of sadness, mood swings, anger, anxiety and low self-esteem, for days or weeks following birth. The baby blues are very common and will pass in time. Your doctor can suggest some ways to help you feel better. Less common is maternal depression. The symptoms are severe and can include feelings of hopelessness, high anxiety, eating problems, feeling "out of control," and thoughts of harming yourself or the baby. Contact your doctor regarding these symptoms, as maternal depression is treatable. Your doctor must be contacted immediately if you feel as though you may hurt yourself or your baby.
  • Shaken baby syndrome refers to the injuries that result from the violent shaking of an infant or child. New parents need to be aware of the danger of shaking their infant or small child. Many times, a frustrated caregiver loses control and shakes an infant in an attempt to stop the baby from crying. Often, there is no intent to harm the child, just to have the baby stop crying. The stress of caring for a newborn can place any caregiver, including parents, at risk for shaking a baby. For more information about shaken baby syndrome, visit the Department of Health website at You will be asked to watch a video about the dangers of shaking infants and young children. You will be asked to sign a form that you either saw the video or refused to see it.
  • Safe sleep space and positioning are important to keep babies from dying unexpectedly from sleep-related causes. Babies should sleep alone, on their backs and in a safe crib for naps and at night. The crib should have a firm mattress and fitted sheet. Room sharing without bed sharing is recommended. Babies should not sleep on a couch or chair. You will be given more information about safe sleep before you bring your baby home from the hospital or birth center. Visit the Department of Health website at

10NYCRR, 405.21 (c) (8) (iii): Hospitals must assure the availability of prenatal childbirth education classes for all prebooked women which addresses pregnancy, labor and delivery; infant care and feeding; breastfeeding; parenting; nutrition; effects of smoking, alcohol and other drugs on the baby; and newborn screening.
Public Health Law, § 2803-j: Information for maternity patients
Public Health Law, § 2505-a: Breastfeeding Mothers' Bill of Rights

Domestic Violence: Notice for Prenatal and Maternity Patients

This notice contains information that will be valuable to you if you are a victim of domestic violence. If you are a victim of domestic violence you should request to speak with someone about your situation and be given this information in a private and confidential manner. Your rights as a patient will be violated if hospital staff asks if you are a victim of domestic violence in front of any accompanying partner or family member.

Are You And Your Baby Safe?

You might not be, if there is domestic violence in your life. Here are some questions to help you know if you're being abused:

Does your partner hurt you with words?

Does he insult you and make you feel worthless?

Does he put you down in front of other people?

Does he hurt you physically?

Does he push, slap, hit, punch, kick, choke or beat you?

Does he make you do sexual things you don't want to do or hurt you during sex?

Is he in charge of everything?

Does he tell you who you can and cannot see or talk to?

Does he control all the family's money?

Does he scare you?

Does he lose his temper, get very jealous or break things?

Does he threaten to hurt you, the kids, pets or himself?

Victims of domestic abuse are not always physically hurt. If you answered "yes" to any of the questions above, you might be abused. You or your children could be in danger.

You are not alone.

You are not to blame.

You do not deserve to be abused.

Did you know that domestic violence sometimes starts or gets worse during pregnancy?

And you're not the only one getting hurt:

  • A woman who is abused during pregnancy may be more likely to have a miscarriage, infections, bleeding, anemia and other health problems. These can affect both her and her baby.
  • She is twice as likely to have a low birthweight baby.
  • Most men who hit their partners also beat their children. Some also sexually abuse children.
  • Kids whose fathers beat their mothers can suffer from health problems, sleep problems, anger, guilt, fear and anxiety.
  • Each year, more than 1,000 children in the U.S. die from injuries caused by their parents, guardians or others.

You and your baby do not deserve to be treated this way.

You have a right to be safe.

Help is available.

What type of help do you need?

The services listed below are available in most communities. Anything you say is confidential.

  • Hotlines: a counselor will talk to you on the phone and give you information, or just listen. She or he will also tell you places near you to call or go to for more help, if you want it. Hotline numbers are listed below.
  • Support groups: you can talk with other women who have gone through what you're going through (a support group). It can help you feel less alone and you can share ideas and information on safety.
  • Services for children: many programs have counseling and support for kids to help them understand what is happening. It gives them a chance to talk about their feelings.
  • Advocacy and other support services: someone can help you through the "system." This person is a domestic violence advocate. Advocacy services often include help finding legal advice, counseling, health care, housing, a job and social services.
  • Police and the courts: police can help in many ways, such as getting you and your children to a safe place in an emergency. Family and criminal courts can help by issuing an order of protection or by deciding custody, visitation or child support.
  • Shelters: most counties have shelters and safe homes where you and your children can stay. Shelters can help you get many of the services listed above.

You are important.

No woman deserves to be abused.

No one "asks for it," and no one should have to live in fear. You owe it to your children to keep them — and yourself — safe.

You are not alone.

Help is available.

New York State Hotlines
NYS Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline: 1-800-942-6906
English & Espanol, multi-language accessibility
Deaf or Hard of Hearing: 711
In NYC: 311 or 1-800-621-HOPE (4673)
TDD: 1-866-604-5350
For additional resources to NYS and National (Youth, Military, LGBT) resources:
Office of Children & Family Services
To report child abuse: 1-800-342-3720
National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse: 1-800-342-7472
Prevention information and parent help-line

Public Health Law 2803-p Disclosure of Information Concerning Family Violence

Domestic Violence: Victim's Rights Notice

The Victim's Rights Notice was prepared to inform victims of domestic violence, of their legal rights and remedies available under the law. If you are a victim of domestic violence you are encouraged to request to speak privately with a social worker or someone who can help you. You should be interviewed privately out of eyesight or earshot of anyone who accompanies you. Your rights as a patient will be violated if hospital staff asks if you are a victim of domestic violence in front of any accompanying partner or family member.

If you are the victim of domestic violence:

The police can help you:

  • get to a safe place away from the violence.
  • get information on how the court can help protect you against the violence.
  • get medical care for injuries you or your children may have;
  • get necessary belongings from your home for you and your children;
  • get copies of police reports about the violence;
  • file a complaint in criminal court, and tell you where your local criminal and family courts are located.

The courts can help:

  • You have the right to take your case to the criminal courts, the family court or both.
  • The forms you need are available from the family court and the criminal court.
  • The courts can decide to provide a temporary order of protection for you, your children and any witnesses who may request one.
  • The family court may appoint a lawyer to help you in court if it is found that you cannot afford one.
  • The family court may order temporary child support and temporary custody of your children.

New York Law States:

If you are the victim of domestic violence, you may request that the officer assist in providing for your safety and that of your children, including providing information on how to obtain a temporary order of protection. You may also request that the officer assist you in obtaining your essential personal effects and locating and taking you, or assist in making arrangements to take you and your children to a safe place within such officer's jurisdiction, including but not limited to a domestic violence program, a family member's or a friend's residence, or a similar place of safety. When the officer's jurisdiction is more than a single county, you may ask the officer to take you or make arrangements to take you and your children to a place of safety in the county where the incident occurred. If you or your children are in need of medical treatment, you have the right to request that the officer assist you in obtaining such medical treatment. You may request a copy of any incident reports at no cost from the law enforcement agency.

"You have the right to seek legal counsel of your own choosing and if you proceed in family court and if it is determined that you cannot afford an attorney, one must be appointed to represent you without cost to you. You may ask the district attorney or a law enforcement officer to file a criminal complaint. You also have the right to file a petition in the family court when a family offense has been committed against you. You have the right to have your petition and request for an order of protection filed on the same day you appear in court, and such request must be heard that same day or the next day court is in session. Either court may issue an order of protection from conduct constituting a family offense which could include, among other provisions, an order for the respondent or defendant to stay away from you and your children. The family court may also order the payment of temporary child support and award temporary custody of your children. If the family court is not in session, you may seek immediate assistance from the criminal court in obtaining an order of protection. The forms you need to obtain an order of protection are available from the family court and the local criminal court. The resources available in this community for information relating to domestic violence, treatment of injuries, and places of safety and shelters can be accessed by calling the following 800 numbers. Filing a criminal complaint or a family court petition containing allegations that are knowingly false is a crime."

Get Help Now
Get Safe
Stay Safe
1-800-942-6906 (English and Espanol)
or call your local
Domestic Violence Program

Public Health Law 2803 (1) (h) Notice to Victims

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