Grievance Process Guide for Recipients of Mental Health Services

Filing a Grievance in the Community

Level 1:

Each mental health service provider must have a grievance process and grievance forms available. If the agency doesn't have a form or if you don't want to use the agency's form, you can write out your grievance on a piece of paper. There is also a sample form at the end of this guide.

Give your written grievance to the person in charge of the agency or program where the rights violation happened. That person has five (5) working days to:

  • Review your grievance;
  • Review any relevant documentation;
  • Interview you and any witnesses, if he or she believes it necessary;
  • Provide you with a decision in writing.

If the person responding to your grievance needs more time, he or she may have five (5) additional working days. You will be notified of the extension in writing.

Level 2:

If you don’t agree with the Level 1 decision, you can appeal to Level 2.

A Level 2 appeal must:

  • Be made within ten (10) working days from the day you received the Level 1 decision;
  • Be in writing;
  • Be given to the person who made the decision at Level 1. That person must forward your appeal and any related documentation to the Director of the DHHS Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services;

The Director of the DHHS Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services:

  • Will review your grievance;
  • Will request more information, if needed;
  • May speak or meet with you and other people who have information about your grievance;
  • Will answer your appeal in writing within five (5) working days.

If more time is needed to respond to your appeal, the Director may ask you in writing for an additional five (5) working days.

Level 3:

If you don’t agree with the decision made at Level 2, you can appeal to the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services. A Level 3 appeal must:

  • Be made within ten (10) working days after you received a Level 2 decision;
  • Be in writing;
  • Be sent to:
    Commissioner
    DHHS
    11 State House Station - 221 State St.
    Augusta, ME 04333-0011

The Commissioner has five (5) working days to respond to your appeal. The reply may simply notify you that a hearing will be scheduled.