Client Rights and Grievances

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Client Rights and Grievance Specialist
DMHAS Office of the Commissioner
410 Capitol Avenue, 4th Floor  PO Box 341431  Hartford, CT 06134
William Pierce, Client Rights and Grievance Specialist,
ADATitle II and ACA 1557 Coordinator
TTY: (toll free) 888-621-3551 (or Relay711); Confidential Fax: 860-418-6691
The Client Rights and Grievance Specialist promotes the use of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) Client Grievance Procedure by DMHAS facilities and covered service providers. The Client Rights and Grievance Specialist is also the designated DMHAS Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title II Coordinator and Affordable Care Act (Section 1557) Coordinator.
People receiving mental health and substance use disorder treatment services from DMHAS facilities and DMHAS contracted service providers have the same rights as other adult residents of Connecticut.  Many of those rights are found in the following resources:
The DMHAS Client Grievance Procedure is a written process where a client or patient (or authorized representative) of a DMHAS facility and/or contracted service provider submits a written grievance to the designated Client Rights Officer of the facility.  Grievances include complaints  the facility or provider denied, involuntary reduced or involuntary terminated services or a the person submitting the grievance believes a provider or provider’s staff: 
i.  Violated rights provided by law or DMHAS directive
ii.  Treated the client in an arbitrary or unreasonable manner
iii.  Failed to provide services authorized by a treatment plan
iv.  Used coercion to improperly limit choice
v.  Failed to reasonably intervene when the client’s rights were put at risk by another
client or patient in a setting controlled by the provider
vi.  Failed to treat the client or patient in a humane and dignified manner 
DMHAS Client Grievance Procedure:
List of Client Rights Officers and designees (DMHAS and Contracted Providers): 
Under the DMHAS Client Grievance Procedure, DMHAS facilities and contracted providers have twenty-one (21) Calendar Days to address a grievance unless an extra fifteen (15) Calendar Days is authorized in writing for good cause by the Executive Official or designee except when the grievance is an Accelerated Grievance under “Fair Hearing Regulations”.

Accelerated Grievance:  A client or patient of a DMHAS facility or contracted provider whose Opioid Substitution Therapy has been involuntarily reduced or involuntarily terminated or who has been involuntarily terminated from an inpatient substance use disorder treatment program of 30-days or less can submit an Accelerated Grievance to the provider no later than 5-business days of receiving notice of the action and to receive a Formal Decision within 5-business.

The DMHAS Client Grievance Procedure complies with Regulations of State Agencies for the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services on Fair Hearings §§17a-451(t)1-(20):

Should a DMHAS program or covered provider involuntarily terminate services without notifying the client or patient of modified services the individual or his/her authorized representative may submit a written request to the DMHAS Commissioner or designee for a “Continuation Services” within 5-business days of the action.

Requests for Continuation or Services are separate from grievances and the client or his/her authorized representative should submit a grievance to the CRO for the provider making the decision to involuntarily terminate services.

The DMHAS Client Grievance Procedure does not cover:  matters under the jurisdiction of the Psychiatric Security Review Board; client to client complaints; entities that are not contracted by DMHAS or which do not provide direct services for treatment, amelioration of psychiatric and/or substance use disorder.

Statewide Advocacy Programs:
Everyone has the right to get help from an advocate, even if the person has a conservator. Three statewide advocacy programs are:  
  • Connecticut Legal Rights Project (CLRP) - 1-877-402-2299
    CLRP attorneys and paralegals primarily advocate on behalf of persons with psychiatric disabilities who receive services from DMHAS operated facilities and contracted providers.  
  • Disability Rights Connecticut  1-800-842-7303
    Connecticut’s Protection and Advocacy System that advocates on behalf of persons with disabilities.
  • Advocacy Unlimited, Inc.(AU)  1-800-573-6929.
    AU is a peer run non-profit organization that assists people and helps them advocate for themselves.