Rights of Recipients of Mental Health Services; Part B- VI. Basic Rights

A. Recipients have the right to freedom of association and communication.

B. Recipient's Right to Visitors

  1. Each facility shall establish the most liberal visiting policies that are administratively feasible.

    a. Each facility shall establish regular daily visiting hours. Such hours shall be prominently posted in the facility. Visitation during these hours shall not require prior notification or request by either the recipient or the visitor except when such visits would conflict with regularly scheduled therapeutic activities of which the recipient has been notified.

    b. Recipients have the right to refuse or terminate visitation from specific visitors or all visitors.

  2. Suitable areas shall be provided by the facility for privacy during visitation.

  3. The facility shall provide unrestricted visitation by a recipient's attorney, clergy, professional service provider co advocate of the rights protection or advocacy services of the Maine mental health system, accompanied by a sign language interpreter, if needed, at any reasonable time.

  4. Exceptions

    a. When a physician or licensed clinical psychologist treating a recipient determines, in consultation with the treatment team, that denial of access to a particular visitor or visitors, except those visitors listed in subsection above, is necessary for treatment, or for security purposes in the case of forensic recipients, such professional may, for a specific limited and reasonable period of time, deny such access.

       i. A written order denying such visitation including the reasons for the denial, shall be
          entered into the recipient's permanent treatment record.

       ii. Any limitation of this right shall be explained to the recipient and to the specifically
           restricted visitor, and when appropriate to the recipient's family or any other regular
           visitors. Those same people shall be immediately notified, if possible, when the restrictions
           on visitation have been lifted.

       iii. Any limitation on visitation may be appealed by the recipient or by the specifically
            restricted visitor, if aggrieved, through the grievance mechanism as outlined in Section V.

C. Recipient's Right to Communicate by Mail

  1. No facility shall censor, delay or restrict incoming or outgoing letters or packages.

    Incoming letters and packages shall be delivered sealed and unopened to the recipient, and outgoing letters and packages shall be mailed in like manner.

  2. Writing materials and postage funds adequate to mail at least one letter per day shall be provided to inpatient recipients who are unable to procure such items.

  3. Exceptions

    a. If staff of a facility reasonable believes that mail contains contraband, such mail may, upon the written order of a physician or Chief Administrative Officer, be subjected to physical examination in the recipient's presence if appropriate.

    b. Any illegal items found during such art examination may be confiscated by the facility.

    c. Any other contraband shall be held in safekeeping, and returned to the recipient upon discharge, except that no medication shall be released without the authorization of a physician.

    d. Any exception to the right to communicate by mail under subsection (a) above must be explained to the recipient. The justification for any such exception, and an itemized list of any materials confiscated must be documented in the recipient's permanent treatment record.

    e. Additional procedures may be developed to assure security in the cases of forensic recipients.

D. Recipient's Right to Communicate by Telephone.

  1. Each inpatient and residential treatment facility shall provide all recipients reasonable access to telephones for placing and receiving confidential calls, including access to telecommunication devices for the deaf, when necessary.

  2. Each inpatient and residential treatment facility shall assure, at any reasonable time, a recipient's access to a telephone for contact with a particular designated family member, clergy, professional service provider, or personally designated representative. Reasonable time means from the hours of 7:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m., daily. Telephone access to an advocate of the rights protection and advocacy service or to an attorney shall be assured at all times.

  3. Each inpatient facility shall provide use of telephones at no charge, or telephone usage funds in reasonable amounts, to recipients who would otherwise be unable to communicate with family or friends by telephone.

  4. Exceptions

    a. Upon the recommendation of a physician or licensed psychologist, the chief administrator of the facility may restrict a recipient's right to communicate by telephone when the facility is notified by a person receiving calls, that the person is being harassed and wishes the calls to be curtailed or halted. Telephone restrictions All apply only to those persons so notifying the facility.

    b. Upon the recommendation of a physician or licensed psychologist, the chief administrator of the facility may restrict or monitor a recipient's right to communicate by telephone, if it is determined that the recipient has made obscene or threatening phone calls, or for other security reason in the case of forensic recipients.

    c. If a physician or licensed psychologist determines, in consultation with the treatment team, that restrictions on asking or receiving telephone calls, except to those listed in 2 above, is necessary for treatment purposes, the physician or licensed clinical, psychologist may restrict the recipient's right to communicate for a specific limited and reasonable period of time, not to exceed one week without reauthorization.

       i. Any such restrictions shall become incorporated in the recipient's treatment plan, and be a
          focus of treatment, pursuant to Section IX(F).

       ii. An explanation of any such restrictions shall be given to the recipient's regular callers as
          designated by the recipient. The recipient's designated regular callers, so requesting, shall
          be immediately notified, if possible, when the restrictions on communication by telephone
          are lifted.

       iii. Any limitation on telephone calling may be appealed by the recipient or specifically
            restricted caller, if aggrieved, through the grievance mechanism as outlined in Section V.

E. Recipients are entitled to receive individualized treatment, to have access to activities necessary to the achievement of their individualized treatment goals, to exercise daily, to recreate outdoors, and to exercise their religion.

F. At no time shall the entitlements or basic human rights set forth in this Section be, treated as privileges that the recipient must earn by meeting certain standards of behavior.