What does Ombuds offer?

Ombuds work collaboratively with the North Sound Behavioral Health Organization (the region’s community mental health program authority) and its behavioral health service provider agencies on behalf of consumers who have a complaint against some aspect of the community behavioral health (mental health and/or substance use disorder) program.

Ombuds were formed by Washington State’s Legislature to ensure consumers’ rights weren’t overlooked. Ombuds assist community behavioral health program applicants and consumers and anyone receiving emergency behavioral health services under the scope of the North Sound Behavioral Health Organization. Ombuds work for the client and are separate and independent of the North Sound Behavioral Health Organization and its service provider agencies. We resolve concerns at the lowest level possible.

Ombuds empower clients to solve problems by pointing out options and teaching how the community behaviroal 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 concerns 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 behavioral health program, grievance, appeal, and fair hearing process:
If a consumer is dissatisfied with their services they may file a grievance against the service provider. If a consumer is denied access to the community behavioral 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 (TBD: extension #1; Amanda: extension #2)

Local phone: (360) 416-7004
Fax: (360) 416-7550