Rights of Recipients of Mental Health Services; Part A - VI. Assistance In The Protection of Rights

A. Recipients have the right to assistance in the protection of their rights.

B. Recipient Representative. Each agency, facility or program shall inform all recipients of their right to name a representative, including a peer representative, to aid them in the protection of their rights. Aid may include one or more of the following activities: assistance in the formulation and processing of a grievance; participation in the informal or formal development and revision of an ISP, individualized service or treatment plan or hospital treatment and discharge plan; or any other type of representative assistance activity referenced in these rules. The provision of aid by a designated representative shall be governed by this section and by other relevant sections of these rules.

  1. Designation in writing. If the recipient or his or her guardian desires a representative for the recipient, the person desiring a representative for the recipient shall designate, in writing, a person to aid the recipient in upholding his or her rights.
  2. Time for designation. The recipient or his or her guardian may designate a representative at any time.

  3. Change in representative. Provision shall be made for change of representative should the recipient so desire, or if the recipient is placed under guardianship, should the guardian so desire.

  4. Representative's physical access. The representative shall have reasonable access to all living and program areas and to staff involved in the treatment of the recipient in order to assist the recipient in the protection of his or her rights.

  5. Confidentiality. The representative may obtain access to confidential information as defined under 34-B M.R.S.A. § 1207 concerning the recipient by obtaining the appropriate party's written informed consent to disclosure under Section IX of these rules.

  6. Communication. A recipient shall have access, at any reasonable time, to a telephone to contact his or her representative.

  7. Involvement in ISP and Service or Treatment and Discharge Planning.

    a. The recipient representative shall be given 10 days written notice of ISP meetings unless the recipient directs that the representative not be invited. The recipient's involvement may include, without limitation, participation in service or treatment planning meetings, or discharge planning meetings. When the meeting is being convened to address an emergency notice reasonable for the circumstances shall be given.

    b. The representative shall be notified when the recipient is determined to lack clinical capacity pursuant to Section V, Part B (Inpatient and Residential Settings) or Section IV, Part C (Outpatient Settings) of these rules.

    c. The representative shall receive, upon the recipient's authorization, a copy of prescribed medication, dosage levels, schedules and side-effects and a copy of the aftercare plan upon the discharge of the recipient.

C. Advocacy Programs. Each recipient shall be informed of advocacy programs available in the state. Recipients have the right to request assistance from the advocacy programs at any time. Advocacy services are available through:

  1. The Office of Advocacy of the Department, which is mandated by State law to investigate the claims and grievances of recipients of mental health services provided by the Department or facilities or agencies administered, funded or licensed by the Department and to monitor the compliance of any facility or agency administered by the Department with all laws, rules, and policies relating to the rights and dignity of service recipients.

  2. Other agencies including the rights protection and advocacy agency, and the Ombudsman program established pursuant to 22 M.R.S.A. § 5112(2).

D. Recipients may, at their request, be represented by a private advocate. In such cases the recipient shall bear the cost, if any, of such representation.

E. A report of complaints and grievances appealed to the Superintendent of AMHI and BMHI, the Director of the Division of Mental Health, and the Commissioner shall be compiled semi-annually and submitted to the Office of Advocacy, the Chief Administrative Officer of the agency or facility, the Office of the Master established pursuant to the terms of the Settlement Agreement in Bates v. Davenport, and plaintiffs' counsel in that action.