NAMI FAQ Section

How do I file a complaint against a mental health care facility/professional?

Complaints about an individual physician/psychiatrist - If the physician/psychiatrist works for a hospital or agency, you may contact the doctor's supervisor. You can also file a complaint with the state medical board, or, if are a member, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) (some psychiatrists are members, some are not). The APA might also refer you to its APA District Branch or state psychiatric society.

Complaints about other MH Professionals - If employed by a hospital or agency, you may file complaints with the therapist's Supervisor, the Hospital Ombudsman or Administrator. Therapists are regulated by their licensing boards (e.g. the State Board of health and mental hygiene, counseling or other licensing board). They may also be members of their professional associations (National Association of Social Workers, the American Psychological Association, etc.). The State NAMI may have the appropriate number and listing.

JCAHO (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) - Complaint Hotline at 800-994-6610 -- JCAHO accredits hospitals, home health agencies, nursing homes, laboratories, outpatient clinics, behavioral health care programs and managed care plans, among others. Complaints should be related to patient rights, care of patients, safety, infection control, medication use and/or security (and not billing, insurance or payment disputes).

Complaints about a CMHC (community mental health center) - You may file a complaint with the state mental health agency. Medicaid and Medicare recipients with complaints about the CMHCs have the following options: Medicare beneficiaries may contact the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Regional Medicare Office and the state Peer Review Organization; Medicaid beneficiaries may contact the state Medicaid official and perhaps the state Medical Review Board. Your State and Local NAMI Affiliates may be able to assist you as well.

Filing Lawsuits: You should seek a private attorney. For more information, see NAMI National Guidelines on How to Find an Attorney. State bar listings may be found at Martin Dale.

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