Policy: Grievances

Consumer & Public Complaint, Grievances & Appeals

PurposeTo provide the opportunity for clients and the public to communicate program-related concerns and to pursue successful resolution of problems.


●The organization recognizes that complaints and grievances, in general, present opportunities for constructive change and continual improvement of the program to better serve our clients.

● Clients will be informed of this process through their orientation and given a copy of the Client Orientation Manual (which includes a description of this process) and posted conspicuously in the facility.

● It is our purpose to provide an effective and acceptable means for clients and the public-at-large to bring problems and complaints to the attention of the administration.

● A FORMAL COMPLAINT can arise from questions or concerns related to treatment service, status, privileges, exclusions, or other issues related to care.

● A GRIEVANCE is the feeling or belief of an individual that he/she has not been treated according to established policies, rules, and regulations or that the administration of the program and/or staff has not lived up to expectations of the performance of service; a formal grievance should be filed if an individual disagrees with a decision by this facility about the provision of a treatment service or administrative decision that was based upon facility policy, procedures, rules or regulations at any time or in the event that s/he is not satisfied with the resolution at the informal level

● The organization has established informal and formal procedures as the mechanisms for expediting the management and resolution of complaints and grievances.

● Complaints and/or grievances may be issued by clients and the public-at-large without fear of retaliation; concerns may be submitted through various mechanisms to include verbal and/or written means such as grievance box input, direct communication, telephone contact, email contact, prepared correspondence, and formal notices

● A 4-level procedural process is recommended for the general management of complaints that arise from clients and other stakeholders. Facility Leadership has established informal and formal procedures as the mechanisms for expediting the management and resolution of complaints, grievances, and appeals.

● An appeal can be filed if an individual disagrees or is dissatisfied with the terms of the facility’s decision in response to the complaint or grievance action.

● Matters may be pursued through a formal process, in which the issue to be resolved should clearly be expressed in a written format, which can be submitted to any staff member for resolution. GRIEVANCE FORMS are readily available in the grievance box area or by asking any staff member.

● Any grievance filed will not result in retaliation or barriers to services.

● The program has a form that is posted in the client lounge area that is understandable. Additionally, program staff will be made available to assist the persons served or other stakeholders in completing the form if needed.

● Any grievance or allegation of serious wrong-doing paramount to the welfare of the individual, treatment milieu, or facility and may be subject to litigation, financial injury, and/or consequences toward the facility’s integrity, treatment delivery, and quality of services will be considered Corporate Compliance claims and follow-up accordingly.

● The following procedures are recommended for submitted grievances:


Clients are encouraged to speak to their counselor to discuss and attempt to resolve problems and complaints. A grievance report shall be turned over to the administration for review within 24 hours (one business day) of submission. Experience demonstrates that most difficulties are most satisfactorily dealt with in this way.


Individuals and/or groups who are not active clients or not otherwise affiliated with the organization are encouraged to call or write the Administrator explaining the problem and make suggestions towards resolving the difficulty. The Administrator will attempt an informal settlement as quickly as possible, but no later than (5) five business days past the initiation of the complainant’s contact.


Complaints and/or grievances may be submitted to Governance of Synergy Sobriety Solutions as a method of internal complaint processes. Governance has a designated number where individuals may submit their complaints and/or grievance. The designated number shall be posted within the facility.


In the event that the above procedure proves unsatisfactory for the complaint or cannot be remedied by the counselor (or the Administrator in the event that the complainant is neither a client nor affiliated with the organization), then the next level of the grievance procedure is recommended.


All clients will be informed that grievances may be directed to the higher-level corporate team members or external advocacy supports. Contact information will be provided and posted throughout the facility and in client waiting areas.


When a client has attempted to resolve a difficulty or a problem through Level One negotiations and is still dissatisfied, he/she is entitled to pursue resolution in a formal complaint process.


The facility shall afford clients the avenue as indicated in state statutes.


The facility maintains an appeal procedure to assure that clients have the opportunity to have a staff decision to terminate participation in the program reviewed. Clients have the right to submit grievances concerning any aspect of their treatment including urinalysis results, levels of medication, other any other clinical or administrative decision affecting their treatment and participation in treatment programs and services through the following procedure:


i. Client submits grievance to a counselor in person for discussion/resolution. If the grievance is directed against an administrative staff person, the grievance will go to point iii below. If the grievance is against one of the persons included in the grievance review process, that person will recuse him/herself from the review process.

ii. If the client is not satisfied with the counselor’s resolution, he/she submits grievance in writing to the Administrator within twenty-four (24) hours of notification of the counselor’s decision.

iii. Administrator notifies Grievance Committee/ Leadership (CEO, Clinical Director, Medical Director, Administrator, Supervising Counselor) within twenty-four (24) hours of receipt of a formal grievance.

iv. Administrator schedules Grievance Hearing within five (5) working days; notifies all members, client, and primary counselor.

vi. Grievance information is presented to the Administrator who notifies the client of the Grievance Committee decision in writing within twenty-four (24) hours of the decision. The committee’s decision is upheld and considered final.


vii. In the event that the grievance is against the Administrator or any other staff person, that person will recuse themselves from the grievance process and his/her immediate supervisor will serve in their stead on the designated grievance committee. However, the staff person will be provided an opportunity to privately provide their perception of the issues without the client being present.


In the event that the above procedure proves unsatisfactory for the complainant or cannot be remedied by the Facility Director, the next level of the grievance procedure is open to the complainant. The report will be forwarded to Governance within 48 hours (2 business days) for review. The result shall be communicated to the client in writing.


When a client has attempted to resolve a difficulty or a problem through Level Two negotiations and is still dissatisfied, he/she is entitled to request communication with Leadership. A meeting with the Leadership will be set up within (5) five business days. Leadership, in reviewing the reports and in discussion with the client will make every reasonable effort to resolve or otherwise satisfy the client’s grievance. Governance will serve as a point of contact to facilitate communications between the complainant and agency-level leadership.


The decision of Leadership is final. The client will be given a written and a signed statement regarding Leadership’s decision if the client so requests it.


If Leadership’s decision is not acceptable to the client, then he/she has recourse to the next level of the grievance procedure.


The persons served may also contact the Governing Authority if they are not satisfied with the resolution thus far. The complaint may be sent to the governing authority.


Clients will be encouraged and assisted throughout their treatment with the organization to exercise rights as a client and/or citizen, to voice grievances on behalf of him/herself or others. The client has a right to treatment and care established by any applicable statute, rule, regulation, or contract, and has the right to recommend changes in policies and services to facility personnel and/or outside representatives of the client's choice and in doing so remain free from restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal. Formal complaints by clients, staff, and the public may be lodged with the following types of agencies:









Individuals in treatment services, current or former, may seek advocacy groups or other assistance to provide external support for their allegations of quality care concerns at any time and will be encouraged to settle the matter internally prior to seeking this level of recourse. He/she will be assured that lodging a complaint or filing a grievance will not have a negative impact on his/her treatment. He/she is entitled to pursue this action at any time either internally or with outside sources. He/she can be assured that such action will not result in retribution, retaliation, or restriction of services.


Upon resolution, the individual will receive formal notification of the outcome. He/she will be issued a grievance resolution notification. If the individual disagrees with the resolution outcome, he/she is entitled to appeal the decision within (5) five business days. Upon notification of the grievance resolution, the facility’s representative will provide information regarding further action that can be taken. The facility representative will fully cooperate with all inquiries regarding quality-of-care concerns and conduct unbiased investigations to explore the substantiation of any allegations and set corrective action and performance improvement plans as indicated. A final decision will be rendered to the client within 24 hours (one business day) of the hearing.


Involved individuals will be informed of alternate steps if a grievance is in regard to a designated reporting contact to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.


This facility wants to listen to the voices of those involved in this facility’s services. Client input is appreciated and will be taken into thoughtful consideration regarding operations.


An analysis of all formal complaints will occur annually with documentation of whether any formal complaints were received, trends, areas needing performance improvement, actions to be taken to address the improvement needs, the outcome of actions taken, or changes made to improve performance.