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Know Your Rights

Your rights will be explained to you in a way you can understand at the time you apply for services. You should also receive a written summary of your rights at the beginning of services and annually.  If you have questions about your rights, ask a staff to explain them to you or contact the Office of Recipient Rights


Some of your rights are:

  • To request a second opinion (if your initial first request services is denied.)

  •  Not to be denied services based on your ability to pay.

  • To be treated with dignity and respect.

  • To receive services in a safe, sanitary, and humane treatment environment.

  • To be free from discrimination, and to have reasonable accommodations made based on your disability.

  • To be presumed competent unless a court has appointed a guardian for you.

  • To have your choices, preferences, and belief system honored and to have friends and others involved in your services as you choose.

  • To be an active partner in the development of your Individual Plan of Service.

  • To have your Individual Plan of Service developed in a timely manner and to receive a copy.

  • To be informed of services and to voluntarily agree to the services you receive.

  • To receive services consistent with clinical standards of care and suited to your individual needs and within the least restrictive setting.

  • To receive information on your progress.

  • To have access to your record.

  • To be photographed, audiotaped, or videotaped only if you give written consent.

  • To be free from abuse, neglect, threats, insults, or harassment.

  • To have information about you kept confidential and to give permission for any disclosures.

  • To have the rights guaranteed by the Mental Health Code unless restricted by law.

  • To file a Recipient Rights Complaint if you believe your rights have been violated.


Your Responsibilities When You Receive Community Mental Health Services

Rights and responsibilities go together. As a consumer of mental health services you are responsible:

  • To be an active participant in your treatment.

  • To ask questions if you don’t understand.

  • To do as much as possible to identify and meet your own needs.

  • To respect the rights of others, including their health, safety, privacy, property, personal space, and beliefs.

  • To pay for the cost of treatment based on your ability to pay.

  • To keep appointments as scheduled, or phone in advance to cancel.

  • To share with staff your experience of our services, what we do well, and what we could do better

  • To complain to the appropriate parties if you are dissatisfied.


How to file a Recipient Rights Complaint or Report a Violation


The Office of Recipient Rights strives to ensure the protection of recipient rights in various ways, including complaint resolution.  If you believe your rights have been violated in the course of receiving mental health services through Pathways you can file a complaint with the Office of Recipient Rights.  Complaints may be filed in person, through the mail, or by telephone.  Complaint forms are contained in the packet you received at the time of admission, and forms are also available throughout the Pathways provider locations, including on-line at the Michigan Department of Community Mental Health website:


Your Rights When You File a Recipient Rights Complaint


When you file a Complaint, you will receive a written acknowledgment letting you know whether your complaint will be investigated. You will be informed if your complaint is out of the jurisdiction of the Office of Recipient Rights or if it does not involve a right protected by the Michigan Mental Health Code. In any case, rights staff will try to help you find resolution to your problem or refer you to other agencies or resources that may be able to help you.


Your Rights as the Complainant


A complainant is entitled to a timely response to a rights complaint. Rights staff may respond through an Intervention. An intervention may occur within thirty days if the facts are clear and a resolution easily obtainable. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the intervention or if it is determined that further inquiry is warranted, an investigation will commence.

The Office of Recipient Rights will send you a Status Report every 30 days. No later than 90 days after receiving a complaint Rights staff will submit a report of investigative findings to the Pathways CMH Chief Executive Officer and to the respondent Within 10 days of the CEO’s review of the report you will receive a Summary Report of the investigation. The Report will inform you whether a rights violation has been substantiated and the remedial action(s) taken or planned in response.


Your Appeal Rights


After you receive the Summary Report, you have the right to file an appeal.  An appeal must be written and sent within 45 days.  You can file an appeal if you feel:

  • The investigative findings of the Rights Office were not consistent with the facts, or with the law, rules, or policies of the agency.

  • The action, or proposed action, of the agency director did not provide adequate resolution.

  • The Rights Office did not start, or finish, the investigation in a timely manner.


If an advocacy organization is not available to help you file your Rights Appeal, the Rights Office will assist you.


Within five (5) business days after receiving your appeal, Pathways Rights Appeal Committee will review it to see if it meets the requirements and will notify you in writing whether your appeal was accepted.


This committee has 30 days to make a decision on your appeal.  They will review the case file provided by the Rights Office and may ask you for more information.  The Rights Committee will send you a copy of their decision within ten days of their meeting.


If you are not satisfied you have 45 more days to file a written appeal with the Michigan Department of Community Health.  The only reason you may appeal to this level is if you believe that the investigative findings of the Rights Office were not consistent with the facts or relevant laws, rules, policies, or guidelines.

If you are not satisfied with the answer from the Department you may appeal to the Circuit Court in the county where you live.  You only have 21 days to do this and may need to hire an attorney to help you.  Your appeal to the Circuit Court is based on the entire record of your appeal which was put together by the Department.



After the investigation of the Rights Office is finished, you have the right to request mediation of your dispute.  Mediation is voluntary for all parties.  The mediation process involves a meeting between you, a representative of the agency and a person who is trained to help resolve complaints.  If you reach an agreement you will have to sign a statement which states you and the agency will follow through.  While engaged in the mediation process, time frames for responses and appeals stop.  If mediation is not successful, you then have the right to continue with the rights complaint process and/or pursue an appeal.

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