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Patients Rights Advocate

Salary: $24.99-$30.51 hourly / $4,347-$5,307 monthly / Range: 5786

DEFINITION: Under administrative direction, directs the work of the unit providing patients' rights advocacy on behalf of consumers of County mental health services as mandated by state law (Welfare and Institutions Code, Section 5520); and performs related duties as required.

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: The Patients' Rights Advocate ensures that recipients of mental health services in licensed mental health or community care facilities are notified of their rights; conducts or oversees investigations of complaints from or concerning recipients of services; provides patients' rights training to mental health facilities and service providers, and monitors programs for compliance with statutory patients' rights provisions; serves as liaison with the Public Defender, Public Guardian, County Counsel, hearing officers, courts, and the California State Patients' Rights Office. The Patients' Rights Advocate is a supervisory class that reports to the Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Services (ADMHS) Director.

EXAMPLES OF DUTIES:

1. Stays current on changes in California laws related to the treatment and detention of clients; recommends to the ADMHS Director policies and procedures that will ensure the staff of ADMHS and its contractors conform to legal requirements; represents the ADMHS Director on issues related to compliance in designated hospitals and outpatient programs.
2. Directs the activities of the Patients' Rights Office and trains, assigns, supervises, and evaluates staff.
3. Directly or through subordinate staff, investigates consumer complaints related to mental health services and participates in due process hearings required by law; monitors designated mental health service programs and facilities for compliance with statutory protections pertaining to the treatment rights of mentally ill patients.
4. Cooperates and collaborates with consumers of mental health services and their families, the Public Defender, the Public Guardian, the County Counsel, the courts and hearing officers regarding joint responsibilities for civil proceedings associated with involuntary detentions, conservatorships, and other legal matters.
5. Collaborates with licensed mental health facilities and other agencies and the state Office of Patients' Rights to share information, ensure maintenance of data required by the California State Department of Mental Health and submission of state-mandated reports.
6. Provides training and education about mental health law and patients' rights to mental health service providers including staff of ADMHS, local hospitals, and community-based organizations.
7. Serves as a member of the department's Quality Management and Quality Improvement Committees and as a member of a statewide coalition of county advocates to provide input to state legislators regarding issues affecting patients' rights.

EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS:

1. Possession of a bachelor's degree in counseling, psychology, social work, or a field related to the delivery of mental health services and three years of experience as a case worker, clinician, or social worker in a public mental health agency; or
2. a combination of training, education, and experience that is equivalent to the above employment standard and that provides the required knowledge and abilities.

Additional Qualifications: Possession of a valid California Class C Driver's License is required.

Knowledge of: interviewing and conflict resolution techniques; laws, rules, and regulations applicable to the treatment rights of mentally ill individuals, including California civil commitment law and due process rights of consumers of mental health services; rights of patients in institutional and community facilities; ethics and principles of patient or consumer advocacy; and health care administration; English grammar, spelling, and usage.

Ability to: collect and analyze information, draw logical conclusions, and make sound recommendations; prioritize and organize the work of self and others; learn and apply practices of supervision establish and maintain effective working relationships with consumers of mental health services and their families, treatment staff, community organizations, and partners in the legal process surrounding patients' rights; speak effectively on behalf of clients; represent the department and the County with tact and diplomacy; exercise independent judgement; maintain objectivity and confidentiality; prepare a variety of written documents such as reports and policies; communicate effectively, orally and in writing.

Desirable Qualifications:

Possession of a valid California license as a clinical social worker or marriage and family therapist; experience investigating service-related complaints in a public mental health or health care services setting; legal or paralegal training and experience.
 



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