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Give Alaskans a good grievance law

Posted: April 17, 2014 - 11:03pm

The Legislature’s counsel, Jean M. Mischel, put forth an opinion on March 12.

Paraphrasing: The state’s complete delegation of the state’s authority to private hospitals performing forced evaluations, civil commitments must be matched with state regulations and laws that set precise standards; patient grievance requirements, etc. Alaska is not doing it.

The state’s grievance law AS47.30.847 simply gives the power to the psychiatric institutions and certification organizations to create a patient grievance procedure, due process, appeal process and the impartial body with no precise regulations from the state that cover all facilities.

Behavioral health grantee requirements for patient grievance procedures do not apply to psychiatric institutions or units receiving direct funding.

Certification organizations’ grievance rules do not specifically address the challenges of Alaska’s disabled.

Excessive delegation by the state (DHSS) “may be interpreted as unconstitutional.” Patients cannot wait for long, drawn-out court cases to receive the grievance law they deserve.

We are asking the Legislature and the governor to support HB214.

Faith Myers and Dorrance Collins

Mental Health Advocates

Anchorage

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