Ombuds Helps Soften the Way

Text Size: A A A

What is the Ombuds?

Mental Health Ombuds helps and advocates for anyone having problems with public Mental Health services. We ensure the client’s choices and rights are respected. Mental Health Ombuds services are free and confidential.

Who can access Ombuds services?

  1. Public mental health clients in Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Grant, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, and Stevens Counties.
  2. Others can help the client with an Ombuds request, if it is OK with the client.

What does an Ombuds do?

  1. Advocate for a client’s mental health treatment choices and rights.
  2. Help the client find solutions to problems as quickly and simply as possible. We can also help through formal complaints and appeals.

What are examples of how Ombuds can help?

  1. Listen carefully to client
  2. Ensure an agency returns clients calls promptly.
  3. Explain to clients their rights and how agencies and organizations work.
  4. Give an objective description of the problem to everyone.
  5. Call an agency to explain the client’s problem clearly and unemotionally.

What does the Ombuds service need?

  1. All the details as needed to resolve the problem, such as names, dates, and specific complaints.
  2. What specific solution to the problem is wanted.
  3. Keep the ombudsman informed of any changes in the situation
  4. Clients may need to sign an authorization for the release of information concerning mental health services

Who does the Ombuds service work for?

Ombuds work for Aging & Adult Care of Central Washington (AACCW). Aging and Adult Care provides independent mental health ombudsman service for the Spokane County Regional Support Network (SCRSN) and the Chelan-Douglas Regional Support Network (C-DRSN). The ombuds does not work for the RSN.

How do I contact the Mental Health Ombuds Service?

An ombuds is available by phone weekdays during business hours. All communications are returned as soon as possible.

(800) 346-4529

Erin Nelson | Email Erin
Ken Sterner | Email Ken
Shawna Pringle | Email Shawna
Lisa Kunz | Email Lisa

Primary Rights of People Using Public Mental Health Services

  1. Be treated with dignity and respect
  2. Help develop a care plan with services which meet your needs
  3. Refuse any proposed treatment
  4. Recieve services without discrimination
  5. Receive services free from any sexual exploitation or harassment
  6. Review your records
  7. Be informed of all prescribed medications, including possible side effects
  8. Confidentiality
  9. Have the provider’s grievance procedure explained to you
  10. Ask the Mental Health Ombuds to help resolve complaints
  11. Be free from retaliation or threats of retaliation

Mental Health Ombuds:

Washington State Mental Health Division
National Alliance for the Mentally ill
NAMI Greater Seattle
Spokane County Mental Health