California’s protection & advocacy system

For legal assistance call 800-776-5746. For all other purposes call 916-504-5800 in Northern CA

or 213-213-8000 in Southern CA. TTY 800-719-5798.


California Office of Patients' Rights


Resolution of patients’ rights violations

Disability Rights California has advocates located at each of the five state psychiatric hospitals who work to resolve long-standing and reoccurring patients’ rights violations. Examples of their systemic administrative advocacy follow.

  • Several state hospitals have refused to follow state rules and procedures that allow residents the right to have visitors and prohibit treatment teams and treatment plans from interfering with this right. Office of Patients’ Rights (OPR) staff is negotiating with the state hospitals to ensure compliance with these requirements, thus assuring that our clients have the right to visit with family members and friends during the time of their institutionalization.
  • One state hospital implemented a policy for staff to prescribe all pain management medication prescriptions based only on a paper evaluation without any direct interaction or discussion with residents. Through negotiations, OPR staff was successful in having the policy changed so that the Medical Director would reassess cases to ensure that that the resident’s pain is addressed in a manner that is appropriate and manageable for that individual.
  • Last year three of five hospitals proposed to implement smoke-free environments. The implementation of this policy would have prohibited individuals confined to the state hospitals from smoking both indoors and on the grounds, exceeding the smoking restrictions on other Californians. Additionally, the hospitals did not offer adequate smoking cessation programs.

Through successful negotiation with one hospital, OPR staff kept it from implementing a smoke-free policy.

This page was excerpted from our 2008 Annual Report