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Mental Health Ombuds Services

Our mission is to assist consumers who feel their rights have been violated or they aren’t receiving adequate services.  Ombuds will attempt to obtain a resolution that meets the client’s needs.  Services are free and confidential and Washington’s Community Mental Health Program Administrative Code protects clients from retaliation of any kind for using Ombuds.

What does Ombuds offer?

Ombuds work collaboratively with the North Sound Mental Health Administration (the region’s community mental health program authority) and its mental health service provider agencies on behalf of consumers who have a complaint against some aspect of the community mental health program.
Ombuds were formed by Washington State’s Legislature to ensure consumers’ rights weren’t overlooked.  Ombuds assist community mental health program applicants and consumers and anyone receiving emergency mental health services under the scope of the North Sound Mental Health Administration.  Ombuds work for the client and are separate and independent of the North Sound Mental Health Administration and its service provider agencies.  We resolve complaints at the lowest level possible.
Ombuds empower clients to solve problems by pointing out options and teaching how the community mental health program works.  Ombuds work toward client recovery.  In our stigma reduction efforts, we try to build self-esteem, vision, pride and dignity.

Ombuds can assist by:

  • Advocating for consumers.
  • Receiving complaints from consumers or family or friends.
  • Listening to, keeping a record of, and tracking complaints.
  • Helping resolve complaints with consumer consent.
  • Researching and investigating facts, policies, contracts, procedures and laws relating to the complaint.
  • Recommending policy or procedural changes to correct problems or prevent their reoccurrence.
  • Helping consumers through the grievance, fair hearing and appeal process.

The community mental health program complaint, grievance, appeal, and fair hearing process:  
If a consumer is dissatisfied with their services they may file a complaint against the service provider.  A grievance is a little more serious than a complaint and usually is initiated after unsuccessful resolution of a complaint.  If a consumer is denied access to the community mental health program they may appeal the denial.  Should the consumer not be satisfied with the resolution of a complaint, grievance or appeal, they may file a fair hearing request for additional consideration from the region’s Office of Administrative Hearings.  North Sound Regional Ombuds can assist with all of these processes.

Contact us at:

Mailing Address: 330 Pacific Place, Mount Vernon, WA 98273

Toll-free: 1-888-336-6164 (Kim: extension #1; Chuck: extension #2)

Local phone: (360) 416-7004

Fax: (360) 416-7550

In the News...

North Sound Evaluation & Treatment Center Closes - November 12, 2010