Appeal/Grievance Rights

            A prospective or eligible client who is dissatisfied with the decision to deny services by P & A (complainant) shall have the right to appeal that action.  Likewise, any client of P & A who feels that the advocacy services s/he has received are inadequate, unprofessional, or not in keeping with P & A standards shall have the right to file a grievance against the advocate.  The basis for that grievance may include, but is not limited to, allegations of violations of professional practice standards.  In addition, a prospective or eligible client who feels that P & A is not operating in compliance with the law may file a grievance.

            Further if a prospective or eligible client also requests to speak to the supervisor of the advocate/attorney they shall be allowed to speak with/leave a message for the appropriate supervisor.

Notice

            All prospective or eligible clients requesting services from P & A shall be informed orally of the right to file a grievance.  Documentation shall be provided on the intake form that such notice was provided.  A copy of the grievance procedure shall be provided to all prospective or eligible clients when a case is opened.  Likewise, a copy of the grievance procedure and client evaluation form shall be provided to the client (as indicated in the "close" letter) when the case is closed.

            A copy of the grievance procedure shall be provided to prospective or eligible clients who indicate dissatisfaction with services provided or with a decision to deny services. 

            A copy of the grievance procedure shall be provided to prospective or eligible clients who feel P & A is not operating in compliance with the law.

            A copy of the grievance procedure shall be provided to persons who indicate dissatisfaction with the information and referral services provided, even after an explanation for the basis of the action.

            All persons who request information in addition to the oral notice shall receive a copy of the grievance procedure.

Administrative Review of Appeal/Grievance

            All complaints shall be filed in written form.  If the complainant cannot or is not able to write, P & A will, on an individual basis, accommodate the complainant in expressing her/his com­plaint in written form. 

            The appeal/grievance shall be addressed to the appropriate supervisor.  If the supervisor is the target of the grievance, it shall be addressed to the Director, in which case it shall be deemed an Executive Review, pursuant to the following section.  The initial appeal/grievance will result in an Adminis­trative Review by the supervisor (except as noted above).

            The Administrative Review shall be completed within fifteen (15) working days of receipt of the request.  The decision of the Administrative Review shall set forth the issues, relevant facts, pertinent provisions on which the decision is based, and reasoning that led to the decision.  The findings of the Review shall be written unless the complainant does not read.  In such case, the Review shall be communicated in the complainant’s alternate communication format, i.e., audiotape, Braille, etc.

Executive Review of Appeal/Grievance

            Should the complainant be dissatisfied with any determination made within an Administrative Review, the complainant may request an Executive Review by the director.  This appeal/grievance shall be in written form unless the complainant cannot or is not able to write.  In such a case, P&A will, on an individual basis, accommodate the complainant in expressing her/his complaint in written form.

The Executive Review shall be completed within thirty (30) working days after the receipt of the initial request for the review.  The decision of the Executive Review shall set forth the issues, relevant facts, pertinent provisions on which the decision is based, and reasoning that led to the decision.  Reasonable time extensions may be made for good cause shown by either party or at the request of either party with the approval of both parties.  The findings of the Review shall be written unless the complainant does not read.  In such case, the Review shall be communicated in the complainant’s alternate communication format, i.e., audiotape, Braille, etc

Actions which the supervisor or director may take include, but are not limited to

determining that the complaint is invalid;
meeting informally with the advocate to correct substantiated allegations;
reassigning the case to another advocate;
reflecting the substantiated grievance on personnel evaluations;
changing P&A policy; and/or
incorporating substantiated allegations into appropriate proceedings for termination of employment.

External Review of Appeal/Grievance

            Should the complainant be dissatisfied with the determination of the Executive Review, the complainant may request within fifteen (15) working days an External review by the General Counsel for the Department of Public Advocacy.  The External Review shall be completed within thirty (30) working days of receipt of requests for the review.  The decision of the External Review shall set forth the issues, relevant facts, pertinent provisions on which the decision is based, and reasoning that led to the decision.  The findings of the External Review shall be written unless the complainant does not read.  In such case, the External Review shall be communicated in the complainant’s alternate communication format, i.e., audiotape, Braille, etc.

            The External Review is the final determination of the agency; however, utilization of the appeal/grievance procedure does not preclude initiation of other grievance procedures that may be authorized by state or federal laws.

            All grievances filed by PADD eligible clients are shared with members of the PADD Advisory Board on a quarterly basis.  Confidentiality shall be protected.

            All grievances filed by PAIMI eligible clients are shared with members of the PAIMI Advisory Council on a quarterly basis.  Confidentiality shall be protected.

 

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client grievance