-Recipient Rights

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1 Role of the Office Of Recipient Rights

The Office of Recipient Rights protects the rights granted to recipients (individuals receiving services) of public mental health services by:

  • Helping to improve recipient outcomes by advocating for and protecting the rights of recipients.
  • Empowering recipients and their families to report when they feel their rights have been violated.
  • Providing staff and recipient training on rights protection.
  • Supporting appropriate treatment for persons served.

2 Reporting Recipient Rights Violations

Recipient Rights advocacy and protection are the responsibility of all network provider employees therefore all are considered to be mandated reporters.

When any mandated reporter suspects a recipient rights violation has occurred, they shall take the following actions:

  • Intervene to protect the recipient.
  • Complete required reporting to LW RR office and MDHHS licensing (as appropriate).  (Refer to Recipient Rights Procedures 2-04.04, 02-04.02, 2-04.05).
  • To fully cooperate in RR investigations as required.

3 What to Expect During a Recipient Rights Investigation

The Recipient Rights Office is mandated by the law, the Michigan Mental Health Code, to have access to any and all information necessary to conduct a thorough investigation.  The Rights Office shall:

  • Send a letter acknowledging their receipt of a Recipient Rights complaint.
  • Collect evidence, which might include:
    • Written and verbal testimony;
    • Physical evidence;
    • Documentation from the recipient record;
    • Policies and Procedures.
  • Complete a Report of Investigative Findings.
  • Request a plan of correction from appropriate individuals for substantiated rights violations.

4 Recipient Rights Training Requirements

Recipients and staff can most effectively use the rights system when they have received appropriate training, education, and information. The Recipient Rights Office will provide Recipient Rights Orientation (within 30 days of hire) and Annual Recipient Rights training as required by the Michigan Mental Health Code and LifeWays contract with the Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

Recipient Rights Orientation

Please remember it is a Mental Health Code requirement that all LifeWays and LifeWays Network Provider employees receive Recipient Rights training within 30 days of hire. Classes are offered the first and third Tuesday of each month in the Pine Room at LifeWays in Jackson from 8:45 a.m. - noon. No registration is required.

Education shall include:

  • Definitions of rights protected under the law;
  • Requirements for reporting;
  • Methods for reporting to the LifeWays Recipient Rights Office; and
  • Prevention, detection, and intervention methods (employees only).

5 Critical Incident Reports

Critical Incidents are defined as events or incidents involving a recipient that are out of the ordinary and serious (critical) in nature. Critical incidents are to be documented on the LifeWays Critical Incident Report form and the following pertinent information shall be included:

  • Recipient information.
  • Date of the incident.
  • An explanation of what happened.
  • Action taken by staff.
  • Action taken by supervisor.
  • Documentation of which agencies or individuals were informed of the incident.
  • Signature of employee and supervisor.

Incident Reports are to be completed and submitted to the Recipient Rights Office within 48 hours or 2 business days. Please refer to Recipient Rights procedure 2-04.02 for a list of incidents/events meeting criteria for reporting.

Link:  Advisory Council Application

6 Recipient Rights Advisory Committee

The LifeWays Board of Directors are mandated to appoint a Recipient Rights Advisory Committee which is broadly based to best represent the varied perspectives of the community mental health service program’s geographic area.

The Recipient Rights Advisory Committee shall:

  • Include primary recipients and family members.
  • Support the Office of Recipient Rights.
  • Protect the Recipient Rights Office from pressures that could interfere with its functions.
  • Serve in an advisory capacity to the Chief Executive Officer and the Recipient Rights Officer.
  • Review the Annual and Semi-Annual Recipient Rights reports and provide comments or recommendations.
  • How to apply – Procedure 6.01.01 Form 233

7 Appeals/Appeals Committee

The Recipient Rights Appeals Committee is appointed to hear appeals of recipient rights investigations. Those individuals with appeal rights are:

  • The involved recipient and/or their guardian.
  • The complainant.

The Recipient Rights Appeals Committee shall review the facts as stated in the investigation documents and shall then take action in accordance with the Michigan Mental Health Code standards.

8 How to Contact Recipient Rights

RR staff are available in Hillsdale by appointment.  The Rights staff can be contacted as follows:

D'Angela O'Dowd, Recipient Rights Officer
1200 N. West Ave
Jackson, MI 49202

Ph: 517.796.4516
Fax: 517.789.7564

Ashlee Griffes, Recipient Rights Specialist
1200 N. West Ave
Jackson, MI 49202

Ph: 517.780.3325
Fax: 517.789.7564

LaShanda Walker
Recipient Rights Specialist
1200 N. West Ave
Jackson MI 49202

Ph: 517.796.4527
Fax: 517.789.7564

Audra Hornbeck,
Recipient Rights Admin. Assistant
1200 N. West Ave
Jackson, MI 49202

Ph: 517.789.1237
Fax: 517.789.7564

9 ORR Resources:

Recipient Rights Complaint Form
Whistleblower's Protection Act
Residential Bill of Rights
Bill of Rights
Recipient Rights Check Request Form
Code of Responsibilities
Abuse & Neglect Poster 


LifeWays' network providers are required to follow LifeWays Recipient Rights policies and procedures and have ready access to the policies and procedures at each program/service site.  

2-01.01 Protection of Recipient Rights (9/2020)
2-01.02 Suitable Services, Treatment Environment Person-Centered Planning (6/2021)
2-01.03 Recipient Rights Training (9/2020)
2-01.04 Communications, Mail, Telephone, Visits (7/2021)
2-01.05 Personal Property (9/2020)
2-01.06 Seclusion, Restraint, Freedom of Movement (5/2021)
2-01.07 Fingerprinting, Photographs, Audiotape, or Use of One-Way Glass (9/2020)
2-01.08 Admission and Discharge (9/2020)
2-01.09 Resident Labor (9/2020)
2-01.10 Sterilization, Abortion, Contraception (9/2020)
2-01.11 Code of Responsibilities (9/2020)
2-01.12 Recipient Rights Liaisons (9/2020)
2-02.01 Recipient Rights Advisory Council (9/2020)
2-02.02 Appeals/Appeals Committee (9/2020)
2-03.01 Access to Case Records/Confidentiality (9/2020)
2-04.01 Death Reporting (7/2021)
2-04.02 Incident Report Process (8/2021)
2-04.03 Intervention Complaints (9/2020)
2-04.04 Abuse and Neglect Reporting (9/2020)
2-04.05 Investigation of Recipient Right Complaints (7.22.21)
2-04.06 Duty to Warn (9/2020)
2-04.07 Adverse Event Reporting and Review (9/2020)