Grievance Process Guide for Recipients of Mental Health Services

Filing a Grievance in an Inpatient Facility

Level 1:

Each inpatient facility or psychiatric hospital unit must have grievance forms available. If the hospital or facility doesn't have a form or you don't want to use the hospital's or facility'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 inpatient unit 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 that’s 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;
  • Made in writing to the Superintendent or Chief Operating Officer of the hospital;
  • Given to the person who made the decision at Level 1. This person will forward your appeal and any related documentation to the Superintendent or Chief Operating Officer of the inpatient facility;

The Superintendent or Chief Operating Officer of the hospital:

  • 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;
  • May order an administrative hearing;
  • Will answer your appeal in writing within five (5) working days.

If more time is needed to respond to your appeal, the Superintendent or Chief Operating Officer 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 Dept. 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
    Department of Health and Human Services
    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..