Client Rights - Outpatient Treatment

The information listed here applies to individuals receiving services for mental health, a developmental disability, or substance use on an outpatient basis in Wisconsin.

Client Rights Pamphlets

Law and Code

Grievance Procedure

Any patient, or anyone on behalf of the patient, may file a complaint if they feel the patient's rights have been violated within 45 days of the concern. Each outpatient service provider has a Client Rights Specialist to answer questions about client rights and to handle the complaint process. Ask for the Client Rights Specialist if you need help.

The community grievance procedure (PDF, 17 KB) has a multi-level process which depends on who is paying for the patient's services.

  • Level I: Program-level review
  • Level II: County-level review, if applicable
  • Level III: Appeal to the state grievance examiner at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services
  • Level IV: Appeal to the administrator of the Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

The Community Grievance Decision Digest contains summaries of the decisions made at Level III and Level IV.

Complaints of rights violations may also be taken directly to court. The use of the grievance procedure is not required before going to court, but a grievance can be dismissed at the level or stage it is being considered once the matter is taken to court.

Related Topics


Last Revised: October 13, 2015