Rights and the DMHAS Client Grievance Procedure

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DMHAS Office of the Commissioner
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,
ADA Title II and ACA 1557 Coordinator
(TDD relay) 711, 800-842-9710 or relayconnecticut.com);
Confidential Fax: 860-418-6691


People’s rights are protected by federal law, Connecticut Statute and court rulings. 

People receiving mental health and substance use disorder treatment services from DMHAS facilities and DMHAS funded service providers have the same rights as all other adult residents of Connecticut.

These rights include but are not limited to: 

  • Human Rights
  • Civil Rights
  • Right to Privacy
  • Right to Personal Dignity
  • The right to be treated in a humane and dignified manner at all times
  • The right to participate in treatment and discharge planning
  • The right to submit a complaint and have it addressed without retaliation
  • The right to equal access to programs, services and activities
  • The right to be provided effective communication in the person’s primary language and manner of communication

As a federally funded healthcare provider, the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) complies with federal civil rights law and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) Section 1557).

DMHAS and DMHAS funded providers also comply with other federal laws and state statutes with prohibit discrimination on the basis of: age, alienage, blindness, color, disability, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, race, sex, sexual orientation, and status as a veteran (Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities) 

Persons with disabilities have the same right to access programs, services and activities provided by DMHAS as other persons and the right to be free from discrimination due to disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The following notices are available upon request from the DMHAS Office of the Commissioner (OOC) free of charge in alternative languages and formats: 

The “Know Your Rights Notice” includes Connecticut General Statutes protecting the rights of people who receive services from Connecticut psychiatric treatment facilities (Connecticut Patient Bill of Rights) along with other rights people have. 

  • DMHAS Grievance Procedure Summary: This notice is distributed by DMHAS OOC to DMHAS facilities and DMHAS funded providers for posting in public locations.
  • The DMHAS Office of the Commissioner also distributes the following notices to DMHAS facilities for posting in public locations:

DMHAS Client Grievance Procedure

The DMHAS Client Grievance Procedure helps DMHAS state-operated and DMHAS funded direct service providers work with people to resolve their complaints. 

Providers designate a Client Rights Officer (CRO) who receives grievances and addresses complaints. Along with participating in training provided by the DMHAS Office of the Commissioner Client Rights Officers complete an annual survey.

DMHAS client grievances are written complaints from people who are receiving services, or who have received services, or who are seeking services from DMHAS state operated or DMHAS funded providers of direct mental health and substance use disorder treatment services (clients) or their authorized representatives. 

The DMHAS Client Grievance Procedure addresses two kinds of complaints: 

  • Written complaints a provider denied, involuntary reduced or involuntary terminated services; or
  • Written complaints the person believes a provider or the provider’s staff: 
  1. Violated rights provided by law or DMHAS directive.
  2. Treated the client in an arbitrary or unreasonable manner.
  3. Failed to provide services authorized by a treatment plan.
  4. Used coercion to improperly limit choice.
  5. 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.
  6. Failed to treat the client or patient in a humane and dignified manner. 
  1. Written complaints are submitted to a provider’s Client Rights Officer within forty-five (45) calendar days of when the action complained of occurred unless the grievance is an Accelerated Grievance (see Client Grievance Policy Implementing Procedure and Fair Hearing Regulations).
  2. The CRO acknowledges the grievance and works with the person to resolve their complaint. If the CRO cannot address the person’s grievance or the person rejects the CRO’s proposed resolution, the grievance is reviewed separately by the provider’s Chief Executive Officer or designee. The CEO or their designee issues a written Formal Decision within twenty-one (21) calendar days unless additional time is authorized by the provider or the grievance is an Accelerated Grievance.   
  3. The person submitting the grievance has no more than fifteen (15) business days after the provider issues a Formal Decision (or if the provider fails to respond to the grievance) to submit a written request for a Commissioner’s Review.

The DMHAS Commissioner’s designee conducts the review and issues a Final Determination which ends the DMHAS Client Grievance Procedure. 

A person may submit a written request for a Fair Hearing within thirty (30) days of receiving a Final Determination when services were denied, involuntarily reduced or involuntarily terminated. 

For more information on the DMHAS Client Grievance Procedure:

DMHAS Client Grievance Procedure Forms:

It is not necessary to use forms for the DMHAS Client Grievance Procedure.   


Everyone has the right to an advocate and Connecticut has three statewide advocacy organizations:  

  • Advocacy Unlimited, Inc. (AU)
    AU is a peer run, non-profit organization that assists people and helps them advocate for themselves. AU, 114 West Main Street, New Britain, CT 06051

    1-800-573-6929 or 860-505-7581 (email: info@advocacyunlimited.org)

  • Connecticut Legal Rights Project, (CLRP)

    CLRP attorneys and paralegals primarily advocate on behalf of persons with psychiatric disabilities who receive services from DMHAS-operated facilities and contracted providers. CLRP, PO Box 351, Silver Street, Middletown, CT 06457

    1-877-402-2299 or 860-262-5030 (email: info@clrp.org)

  • Disability Rights Connecticut, (DRCT)
    DRCT is Connecticut’s federally funded independent Protection and Advocacy System which advocates on behalf of persons with disabilities. DRCT, 75 Charter Oak Ave. Ste 1-101, Hartford, Connecticut 06106

1-800-842-7303 or 860-297-4300 (email: info@DisRightsCT.org)

Other Connecticut advocacy organizations include:

Information on legal resources can be found on the Connecticut Judicial Branch Website: Connecticut Judicial Branch

About the DMHAS Client Rights And Grievance Specialist: 

The DMHAS Client Rights and Grievance Specialist at the Office of the Commissioner helps DMHAS state operated and DMHAS funded providers of mental health and substance use disorder services understand the importance of people’s rights and to use the DMHAS Client Grievance Procedure in resolving complaints.  The Client Rights and Grievance Specialist also helps DMHAS facilities observe the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as the Department’s ADA Title II Coordinator and helps DMHAS facilities observe Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

For more information see:  Advocacy and Support

(Updated July 18, 2023)