Connections - Health - Wellness - Advocacy

Client's Rights

All who access mental health services have these rights:

The right to be informed of the rights described in this rule prior to consent to proceed with services, and the right to request a written copy of these rights;
The right to receive information in language and terms appropriate for the person’s understanding;
and The right to be fully informed of the cost of services.

Services are appropriate and respectful of personal liberty:

The right to be treated with consideration, respect for personal dignity, autonomy, and privacy, and within the parameters of relevant sections of the Ohio Revised Code and the Ohio Administrative Code;
The right to receive humane services;
The right to participate in any appropriate and available service that is consistent with an individual service plan (ISP), regardless of the refusal of any other service, unless that service is a necessity for clear treatment reasons and requires the person’s participation;
The right to reasonable assistance, in the least restrictive setting;
and The right to reasonable protection from physical, sexual and emotional abuse, inhumane treatment, assault, or battery by any other person.

Development of service plans:

The right to a current ISP that addresses the needs and responsibilities of an individual that specifies the provision of appropriate and adequate services, as available, either directly or by referral;
and The right to actively participate in periodic ISP reviews with the staff including services necessary upon discharge.

Declining or consenting to services:

The right to give full informed consent to any service including medication prior to commencement and the right to decline services including medication absent an emergency;
The right to be advised of and refuse observation by techniques such as one-way vision mirrors, tape recorders, televisions, movies, or photographs, or other audio and visual technology. This right does not prohibit an agency from using closed-circuit monitoring to observe seclusion rooms or common areas, which does not include bathrooms;
and The right to decline any hazardous procedures.

Restraint, seclusion or intrusive procedures:

The right to be free from restraint or seclusion unless there is imminent risk of physical harm to self or others.

Privacy:

The right to reasonable privacy and freedom from excessive intrusion by visitors, guests and non agency surveyors, contractors, construction crews or others.

Confidentiality:

The right to confidentiality unless a release or exchange of information is authorized and the right to request to restrict treatment information being shared; and

The right to be informed of the circumstances under which an agency is authorized or intends to release, or has released, confidential information without written consent for the purposes of continuity of care as permitted by division (A) (7) of section 5122.31 of the Revised Code.

Grievances:

The right to have the grievance procedure explained orally and in writing, the right to file a grievance, with assistance if requested; and the right to have a grievance reviewed through a grievance process, including the right to appeal a decision.

Non-discrimination:

The right to receive services and participate in activities free of discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, age, color, religion, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, physical or mental handicap, developmental disability, genetic information, human immunodeficiency virus status, or in any manner prohibited by local, state or federal laws.

No reprisal for exercising rights:

The right to exercise rights without reprisal in any form including the ability to continue services with uncompromised access. No right extends so far as to supersede health and safety considerations.

Outside opinions:

The right to have the opportunity to consult with independent specialists or legal counsel, at one’s own expense.

No conflicts of interest:

No agency employee may be a person’s guardian or representative if the person is currently receiving services from said facility.

Consumer Access to Records:

The right to have access to one’s own psychiatric, medical or other treatment records, unless access to particular identified items of information is specifically restricted for that individual consumer for clear treatment reasons in the consumer’s treatment plan. Clear treatment reasons shall be understood to mean only severe emotional damage to the consumer such that dangerous or self-injurious behavior is an imminent risk. If access is restricted, the treatment plan shall also include a goal to remove the restriction.

Discontinuance of Services:

Consumers have the right to be informed in advance of the reason (s) for discontinuance of service provision, and to be involved in planning for the consequences of that event.

Consumers have the right to receive an explanation of the reasons for denial of service.

  • In addition to the established rights identified above, all consumers have the right to freedom from humiliation and abuse/neglect. The Agency will not tolerate sexual or unlawful harassment behaviors directed toward our consumers. The Agency will not tolerate actions, words, jokes, or comments (oral or written) based on an individual’s sex, race, ethnicity, age, religion, disability, or any other legally protected characteristic. Consumers who experience or witness any of these circumstances shall report them immediately to the Consumer’s Rights Officer.
  • All consumers have the right to access information pertinent to the person served in sufficient time to facilitate his or her decision making
  • Consumers have additional rights as they relate to their Protected Health Information (PHI) as follows:
    • The right to access their designated record set;
    • To request restrictions on uses or disclosures of their PHI;
    • To request that communications related to PHI be confidential;
    • To request amendment of their designated record set;
    • To receive accounting of disclosures of their PHI.
  • In addition to all of the rights specified above, the following rights are applicable to all residents of North Ridge Commons:
    • The right to a comfortable, welcoming, stable and supportive living environment in the residential facility;
    • The right to participate in the establishment of, have, the least restrictive policies, procedures, or house rules, commensurate with the comfort and safety of all residents;
    • The right to be informed of one’s own condition, the reason(s) for recommended residency in the facility, and the available alternatives to such residency;
    • The right to active and informed participation in identification and choice of personal care assistance and mental health services to be provided, as applicable to the type of licensed facility, and in the periodic review and reassessment of such provisions;
    • The right to consent or refuse residency in the residential facility and/or the provision of any individual personal care activity and/or mental health services;
    • The right to reside in a residential facility, as available and appropriate to the type of care or services that the facility is licensed to provide, regardless of previous residency, unless there is a valid and specific necessity which precludes such residency. This necessity shall be documented and explained to the prospective resident;
    • The right to reasonable assistance from the facility, or a mental health service provider, that enables and facilitates personal growth and development toward less dependent and less restrictive living environments;
    • The right to freedom from any unusual or hazardous practices or activities;
    • The right to reasonable privacy and freedom from excessive intrusion by visitors, guests, and inspectors;
    • The right to reasonable privacy and freedom to meet with visitors, guests, or inspectors, make and/or receive phone calls, and write or receive uncensored, unopened correspondence;
    • The right to confidentiality of written information and communications;
    • The right to have access to all information in facility records about oneself; unless contraindicated and noted in the resident’s Individual Service Plan (ISP);
    • The right to receive thirty days prior notice for termination of residency, except in an emergency;
    • The right to vacate the facility at any time, except that the responsibility to pay for incurred costs for room and board shall continue unless appropriate notification has been provided to the facility concerning the termination of the residential agreement;
    • The right not to be discriminated against in the provision of any assistance, activity, or service on the basis of religion, race, color, disability, creed, sex, national origin, age or lifestyle;
    • The right to written specifications of charges, facility and resident obligations and responsibilities;
    • The right to compliance by the facility with all of the requirements for licensure;
    • The right to exercise any and all rights without reprisal in any form, including the right to continued residency. Such rights shall not supersede health and safety considerations, and, for Type 1 facilities, the right to refuse mental health services shall not be a condition for denial of continued stay in the facility;
    • The right of access to one’s own bedroom or sleeping area at any time, unless contraindicated and noted in the resident’s ISP; and
    • The right to grieve, appeal, and have due process afforded for an alleged violation of any paragraph of this rule.
  • The Consumer’s Rights Officer is Pamela Holmes, 24200 Chagrin Boulevard, Beachwood, Ohio 44122. Mr. Vernon can be reached at (216) 831-6466, Extension 246.
  • The Consumer’s Rights Officer’s (CRO) responsibilities are:
    • To accept and oversee the process of any grievance or privacy complaint filed by a consumer or other person or agency on behalf of a consumer;
    • To assist the consumer or others on behalf of a consumer and give grievant information about his/her right to file a complaint with the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services;
    • To assist in investigating the grievance or privacy complaint on behalf of the consumer and, if appropriate, shall take all reasonable steps to mitigate the effects of any violation of PHI;
    • If the results of the investigation indicate that a workforce member made an unauthorized use or disclosure of PHI, or otherwise violated HIPAA Policies and Procedures, the CRO shall report such finding to the Local Privacy Officer, who must also report such finding to the workforce member’s supervisor.
    • To assist with providing agency representatives for the griever at any needed meeting with the President & CEO, or with the Board of Trustees, if desired by the griever; and
    • To assure that staff will explain any and all aspects of the consumer’s rights, and if requested, the grievance or complaint procedure.
    • To assure all grievances are reviewed as part of the Agency’s quality assurance/ continuous quality improvement system and that a record of the grievance that included the following elements is retained for minimum of two years and 6 years for any Privacy Complaints:
      • A copy of the grievance or Privacy Complaint;
      • A statement of resolution with dates on which the various steps of resolution were completed;
      • An explanation of circumstances that account for extended resolution periods; and
      • Quality improvements made as the result of this grievance.
    • There shall be no retaliation against any individual or person served, workforce member, or CRO for having filed or assisted in the filing of a complaint or grievance, or for investigating or acting on a complaint or grievance.
    • All employees shall receive training at the beginning of employment and annually, thereafter, regarding this procedure.
  • The Consumer’s Rights and Grievance Policy will be distributed to each consumer at the intake or next subsequent appointment, in writing and orally, if necessary. In crisis or emergency situations, the consumer should at least be made aware of the right to refuse offered treatment and the consequence of that agreement or refusal and at the next meeting presented with written copy and verbal explanation of consumer’s rights.
  • A copy of the Consumer’s Rights and Grievance Policy shall be posted in a conspicuous place in the building.
  • Annually, the agency will convene a meeting of all staff to review with staff the agency’s Consumer’s Rights and Grievance Policy. This will be done to assure that each staff person (including administration, clerical and support staff) shall be familiar with all consumer’s rights and the grievance procedure and their role in immediately advising any consumer or other person who is articulating a concern, complaint, or grievance about the name and availability of the agency’s Consumer’s Rights Officer and the complainant’s right to file a grievance.
  • Connections Grievance Procedure:  Any formal complaint, grievance or appeal brought forth by a consumer will not result in retaliation or barriers to service.
    • All consumers shall have the right to file a complaint or grievance within a reasonable period of time from the date the incident occurred;
    • When filing a grievance, the person to contact is the Consumer Rights Officer, as referenced in this policy, ? Connections Health•Wellness•Advocacy, 24200 Chagrin Boulevard, Beachwood, Ohio 44122. The telephone number is (216) 831-6466. Hours of availability are 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Should the subject of the grievance be the Consumer Rights Officer, then the person to contact is the Chief Operating Officer, Mark Johnson LISW, at the same address and/or telephone number.
    • To assure proper documentation of the complaint or grievance and any resulting investigation and response:
      • the complaint/grievance must be filed in writing.
      • the complaint/grievance must be signed and dated by the consumer.
      • the complaint/grievance should include the date, time, a description of the incident/situation, and the names of the individuals involved.
      • The agency and/or the Consumer’s Rights Officer will assist the consumer or his/her representative in filing a grievance if needed; investigation of the complaint/grievance on behalf of the griever, and assure agency representatives for the griever at the agency hearings if desired by the griever.
    • The griever, or his/her representative, should contact the Consumer’s Rights Officer by letter or telephone stating the nature of the grievance. A receipt of the grievance will be provided within three (3) working days of the written grievance.  This notice will include the following:
      • Date the complaint/grievance was received;
      • Summary of the complaint/grievance;
      • A copy of this policy that includes an overview of this investigative process, timelines for investigation, notification of resolution and treatment provider contact name, address and phone number.
    • The Consumer’s Rights Officer will work with the supervisor toward resolving the complaint/grievance.  At the supervisor’s request, the Consumer’s Rights Officer may; act as intermediary in investigating complaints/grievances.  Note: regardless of whom conducts the investigation (supervisor or Consumer’s Rights Officer), the Consumer’s Rights Officer must still contact the complainant/grievant in accordance with Section 3 of this procedure.
    • The supervisor and Consumer’s Rights Officer shall make every effort to resolve the conflict.  At the discretion of the supervisor, interviews may be conducted by either the supervisor or the Consumer’s Rights Officer with individuals who may have information relevant to the grievance or whose presence may help insure fair and equitable resolution of the conflict.
    • The Human Resource Generalist (as EEO Officer) shall be available to provide information and consultation on issues concerning clinical care and discrimination, respectively.
    • The consumer’s primary service provider will be consulted when resolution of the conflict could potentially result in changes to the consumer’s Individual Service Plan.
    • The supervisor and the Consumer’s Rights Officer shall document information revealed while investigating the complaint/grievance.  Summations of information obtained shall be forwarded to the Consumer’s Rights Officer for inclusion into his or her files.
    • Upon the agreement of the complainant/grievant and involved staff on a resolution of the conflict, the supervisor shall be responsible for composing a written summation of the outcome or resolution.  The supervisor’s signature must be on the final copy of the written summation.  The signed copy will be kept by the Consumer’s Rights Officer for inclusion in his or her files.
    • Should the supervisor initially involved in the complaint/grievance and the Consumer’s Rights Officer be unsuccessful in resolving a complaint/grievance, the next level of supervisor may be contacted by either the supervisor or the Consumer’s Rights Officer to assist in resolving the complaint/grievance.
      • Resolution of the complaint/grievance will not exceed twenty-one (21) calendar days from the date the complaint/grievance is field.  If the resolution does not occur within twenty-one (21) calendar days, the need for the extension must be documented in the file and the consumer must receive written notice.  Should the Consumer’s Rights Officer’s efforts to resolve the issues be unacceptable to the griever, he/she will appeal the grievance to the President & CEO.
    • Within ten (10) working days from the receipt of the complaint/grievance, the griever will have an appointment with the President & CEO of the agency at which time a decision will be rendered. The declaration will be written and a copy given to the griever or his/her representative.
    • If the griever is dissatisfied with the decision, he/she may appeal the decision at a meeting of the Board of Directors to be scheduled no later than thirty (30) days from the receipt of the President & CEO’s decision. A written copy of the decision will be given to the griever or representative.
    • Should the griever be dissatisfied with this decision, he/she may initiate a complaint with any or all of the agencies listed below. The griever may choose to initiate a complaint with any of the listed agencies at any time during this process:
    • For consumers receiving primarily mental health services from Connections Health•Wellness• Advocacy:
Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board (ADAMHS)
2012 West 25th Street, 6th Floor
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 241-3400

Ohio Department of Mental Health
30 East Broad Street, 8th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215-3430 (614) 466-2596

Ohio Legal Rights Service
50 W. Broad Street, Suite 1400
Columbus, Ohio 43215-5923
Phone: 614-466-7264 or 1-800-282-9181 (Toll free in Ohio only)
TTY: 614-728-2553 or 1-800-858-3542 (Toll free in Ohio only)

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine
30 E. Broad St., 14th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
Toll-free: 800-282-0515 Local: 614-466-4986

Ohio Client Assistance Program
35 E. Chestnut Street, 5th Floor
Columbus, OH
43215-2541
Tel: (614) 466-9956 (V/TTY); (800) 228-5405
 
    • For consumers receiving primarily alcohol or drug treatment services from Connections Health•Wellness• Advocacy:

    Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board (ADAMHS)
    2012 West 25th Street, 6th Floor
    Cleveland, OH 44113
    (216) 241-3400
Ohio Department of Alcohol & Drug Addiction Services
30 W. Spring Street, 6th Floor
Columbus, OH  43215-2256
Tel: 614-466-3445
Fax: 614-752-8645

Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board
Vern Riffe Center
77 South High Street, 16th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone (614) 387-1110  
Fax (614) 387-1109

Ohio Legal Rights Service
50 W. Broad Street, Suite 1400
Columbus, Ohio 43215-5923
Phone: 614-466-7264 or 1-800-282-9181 (Toll free in Ohio only)
TTY: 614-728-2553 or 1-800-858-3542 (Toll free in Ohio only)

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine
30 E. Broad St., 14th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
Toll-free: 800-282-0515 Local: 614-466-4986

Ohio Client Assistance Program
35 E. Chestnut Street, 5th Floor
Columbus, OH
43215-2541
Tel: (614) 466-9956 (V/TTY); (800) 228-5405
  • In addition, all consumers of Connections may contact the following:

    Office for Civil Rights
    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20201
    Toll Free: 1-877-696-6775

    The Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board
    50 W. Broad Street, Suite 1075
    Columbus, OH 43266
    Phone: 614-466-0912
    Fax: 614-728-7790

    State of Ohio Medical Board
    30 East Broad Street, 3rd Floor,
    Columbus, Ohio 43215-6127
    Phone: (614) 466-3934
    Fax: (614) 728-5946
     
    Nursing Education and Nurse Registration Board
    17 S. High St., Suite 400
    Columbus, OH 43215
    Phone: (614) 466-3947
    FAX: (614) 466-0388
     
    State of Ohio Psychology Board
    77 S. High Street Suite 1830
    Columbus, OH 43215-6108
    phone (614) 466-8808 | fax (614) 728-7081
    Toll Free (877) 779-7446

  • Connections will, upon request of the griever or his/her representative, provide information about the grievance to any of the entities cited in 14 above.
  • The Consumer’s Rights Officer will maintain all documentation pertaining to the grievance for a period of two (2) years, unless the grievance includes violations of the HIPAA Privacy or Security Rules, in which case the documentation will be retained for a minimum of six (6) years.  The maintained documentation will include a copy of the grievance, documentation of the grievance resolution, and a copy of the letter to the grievant reflecting the resolution. This record will be available for review at the Agency upon request by:
    • The Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board;
    • The Ohio Department of Mental Health; or
    • The Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services.