Rights of Recipients of Mental Health Services; Part A - VII. Complaints

A. A written complaint may be filed by any person or agency that is charged with investigating violations of client rights or with delivering or monitoring mental health services. The complaint procedure may be used when:

  1. The person or agency knows or has reason to believe that the practices, procedures (including the development, substantive terms or implementation of ISP's or hospital treatment and discharge plans) or policies of the Department or of any agency licensed, funded or contracted by the Department to provide services elsewhere described in these rules, violate these rules, the terms of the Settlement Agreement in Bates v. Davenport or any other applicable law or regulation; and
  2. The information was obtained during the general course of the person's or agency's performance of their responsibilities.

B. Complaints that include allegations of employee misconduct shall be processed, but no disciplinary, action may be taken nor facts found with regard to the alleged misconduct except in accordance with applicable personnel rules and labor contract provisions.

C. Complaints arising in an in-patient setting shall be addressed to the chief administrative officer of the in-patient facility, who shall forthwith refer them to the supervisor of the service delivery unit in which the complaint arose.

D. Complaints arising in the community shall be addressed to the agency employee designated to receive complaints.

E. A formal written response shall be made within five days of receipt by the persons listed in (C) and (D) above, excluding weekends and holidays. Upon appeal, all pertinent information gathered regarding a complaint shall be forwarded by the person to whom the complaint was addressed to the next responsible official.

F. Decisions about complaints described in (C) above shall be appealable within five working days to the Chief Administrative Officer of the facility, who shall respond within five working days. If the person assigned to investigate a complaint needs a longer period to investigate the circumstances of the complaint, a five-day extension may be made and the complainant so notified.

G. Decisions about complaints described in (D) above shall be appealable within five working days to the Director of the Division of Mental Health, who shall respond within five working days.

H. Decisions resulting from appeals described in (F) and (G) above shall be appealable within five working days to the Commissioner, who shall respond within five working days. If the person assigned to investigate a complaint needs a longer period to investigate the circumstances of the complaint, a five-day extension may be made and the complainant so notified.

I. Investigations shall be conducted at each level of the complaint and shall include, as needed, interviews, site visits, or other data collection activities. At the conclusion of each investigation, a written summary of the results of the investigation and a statement of the remedial action to be taken, if any, shall be provided to the complainant, subject to the limitations of 5 M.R.S.A. § 7070(2)(E).