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 works to resolve complaints in a timely and non-adversarial manner by promoting the use of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) Client Grievance Procedure.
The DMHAS Client Grievance Procedure is a written process where a client (or person authorized to act on behalf of a client) of a DMHAS facility and/or contracted service provider submits a written complaint that the facility, program or provider denied, involuntary reduced or involuntary terminated services or a written complaint the writer 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
Under the DMHAS Client Grievance Procedure:
1. Grievances are written complaints submitted to the provider’s Clients Rights Officer (CRO) or designee. Forms are not required but grievances should include:
2. Once the Client Rights Officer or designee receives a grievance s/he works with the individual (and advocate if the person has one) to propose an Informal Resolution
3. If an Informal Resolution is not possible or if the individual disagrees with the proposal, the CRO presents the grievance to the provider or facility’s Executive Official or designee for further review.
4. During the Executive Official or designee’s review, the person submitting the grievance can provide additional information and may be asked to meet the Executive Official or designee. The Executive Official or Designee then issues a written Formal Decision.
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
5. If the individual disagrees with the provider’s “Formal Decision”, s/he can submit a written request for a Commissioner’s Review to the DMHAS Commissioner’s Office (at the address above) within fifteen (15) business days of receiving the provider’s Formal Decision.
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.
For more information on the DMHAS Client Grievance Procedure select from the links below:
List of Client Rights Officers and designees (DMHAS and Contracted Providers):
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.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):
The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is a Title II entity under the ADA which provides equal access and effective communication to persons with disabilities.
ADA complaints regarding DMHAS facilities and programs from Clients, Patients and other qualified persons with disabilities who are not DMHAS employees are covered by the DMHAS Client Grievance Procedure.
Affordable Care Act (ACA) Section 1557:
Under the ACA Section 1557, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is prohibited from discriminating against someone on the basis of race, national origin, age, disability or sex (individuals may have other protections under Connecticut State Statute) and is required to provide equal access to programs and services to people whose primary language is not English.
DMHAS Client/Patient Bill of Rights:
Clients and Patients of DMHAS operated facilities and contracted providers are entitled to be treated in a humane and dignified way at all times with full respect to: Personal Dignity, Rights to Privacy, Right to Personal Property and Civil Rights. These rights are identified in state statute in “Your Rights as a Client or Patient” or “Patient Bill of Rights” as well as other laws.
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.
The DMHAS Client Rights and Grievance Specialist helps DMHAS be a recovery oriented system of care which promotes the rights of people receiving services from facilities and programs operated by the DMHAS and contracted providers by:
- Encouraging the use of the DMHAS Client Grievance Procedure as a means of helping clients and providers resolve complaints in a non-adversarial manner
- Providing information and resources on the DMHAS Client Grievance Procedure and client rights.
- Maintaining a state-wide list of Clients Rights Officers for facilities and operated by the DMHAS and contracted providers.
- Training Client Rights Officers and other groups.
- Being the designated ADA Title II and ACA Section 1557 Coordinator