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
(people using a TDD can make a relay call through Relay Connecticut 711, 800-842-9710 or relayconnecticut.com); Confidential Fax: 860-418-6691

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

DMHAS has a Client Rights and Grievance Specialist at the Office of the Commissioner who, helps DMHAS state operated and DMHAS funded providers of mental health and substance use disorder services use the DMHAS Client Grievance Procedure to resolve complaints. 

The Client Rights and Grievance specialist is also:   
• The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title II Coordinator for DMHAS state operated services, programs, and activities. 
• Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) Section 1557 Coordinator for DMHAS. 

The Client Rights and Grievance Specialist helps DMHAS state operated and DMHAS funded providers understand the importance of protecting people’s rights by providing information on people’s rights.  


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:

DMHAS Client Grievance Procedure

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

DMHAS client grievances are written complaints from clients (persons who are receiving services, or who have received services, or who are seeking services from DMHAS state operated or DMHAS-funded direct service provider)s or their authorized representative. 

Two kinds of complaints are addressed by the DMHAS Client Grievance Procedure: 

  • Written complaints the provider denied, involuntary reduced or involuntary terminated services; or
  • Written complaints the person believes a provider or 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. 

Except when the grievance is an accelerated grievance (see Client Grievance Policy Implementing Procedure), it is submitted by the person in writing to the providers’ Client Rights Officer (CRO) within 45 calendar days of when the action being complained about occurred.

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. 

Providers have 21 calendar days to address the complaint and issue a written Formal Decision. The person has no more than 15 business days once the provider has the opportunity of addressing the grievance (or if the provider fails to respond to the grievance) to submit a written request for a Commissioner’s Review. The Final Determination of a Commissioner’s Review ends the DMHAS Client Grievance Procedure.  However, Final Determinations of complaints that services were denied, involuntarily reduced or involuntarily terminated may be appealed by a Fair Hearing requested by the client or their authorized representative. 

For information on the DMHAS Client Grievance Procedure:

DMHAS Client Grievance Procedure Forms:


Everyone has the right to help from an advocate and to seek legal advice. 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, 846 Wethersfield Avenue, Hartford, CT 06114

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

People with disabilities or who use a TDD can use Relay Connecticut 711, 800-842-9710 to call any telephone number. (relayconnecticut.com)