What the Client Advocate Can Do For You... 
What is an Ombudsman? The word Ombudsman (om-budz-man) is of Swedish origin, and means one who speaks on behalf of another. The purpose of the Ombudsman Program is to help consumers of mental health/substance abuse service maintain or improve their quality of life by helping ensure their rights are not violated.

Consumer Rights
You Have the Right To:
  • Be treated with dignity and respect.
  • Help develop a plan of care and services, which meets your unique needs.
  • Refuse any proposed treatment.
  • Receive care, which does not discriminate against you and is sensitive to your gender, race, national origin, language, age, disability, and sexual orientation.
  • Receive an explanation of all medications prescribed, including expected effects and possible side effects.
  • Review the agency’s grievance policy.
  • Lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman, or provider, if you believe that your rights have been violated or needs are not being met by services offered.
  • Be free from any retaliation if you lodge a complaint.

What the Client Advocate Can Do For You…
Listen and Record
The Client Advocate will listen to your side of the story and take notes.

Research and Investigate
The Client Advocate will research your particular problem and conduct an investigation to find additional information.

Education and Support
The Client Advocate will help consumers access appropriate consumer or family education for the development of coping skills or other community resources.

Represent and Advocate
The Client Advocate will serve as an Advocate for you with service providers.

Resolve and Recommend
The Client Advocate will do everything possible to resolve your complaint or grievance and recommend changes in the mental health system, if warranted.

Actions We May Take

The Ombudsman Office tries to resolve concerns or complaints in a way that improves the quality of care patients/clients receive.

Possible actions by this office include: 
  • Mediate or advocate on behalf of a client
  • Consult with providers about policies, practices, and procedures
  • Gather and analyze information
  • Conduct investigations
  • Make recommendations, issue reports, and monitor results

Points of Contact
To initiate your grievance, contact the Client Advocates below.

Okaloosa County
Phone: (850) 244-1040

Walton County
Phone: (850) 244-1040

The Ombudsman Program Funded by the State of Florida, District One, Department of Children and Families.

In Crisis - Go to Nearest Hospital ER  I Suicide Life Line 1-800-784-2433  I
Abuse/Neglect of Children or Vulnerable Adults 1-800-962-2873  I  Veteran Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 press 1

Email: mhaowfl@mhaow.org

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