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Rights of Person Served

To provide guidelines regarding the rights of all persons served and families receiving services from Northwestern Counseling and Support Services, Inc., (NCSS).

NCSS shall protect and promote the rights of each person served by providing services and supports that respect the rights of individuals and their families.  The agency will assist individuals and families to understand the rights listed in this policy as well as rights provided by state or federal law.  This includes each of the following rights:

  1. To exercise basic civil and legal rights as persons served by NCSS and as a citizen or resident of the United States.
  2. To be supported in exercising their rights except where limited by a decision of the court.
  3. To exercise control over their own actions, decisions, wishes and desires as any other person of comparable age, and not be subjected to rules or regulations that are excessive or inappropriate.
  4. The right to receive information about eligibility criteria and funding priorities, available services, programs, and practitioners, practice guidelines, utilization management practices, and grievance procedures.
  5. The right to a comprehensive service plan that incorporates other relevant service agencies/systems, if desired.
  6. To expect all NCSS staff to adhere to the NCSS Code of Ethics.
  7. To have these rights policies communicated in a meaningful and understandable way to the person served.
  8. To communicate in their primary language and primary mode of communications.
  9. To ask questions about anything not understood.
  10. To attend, speak at, and have guests of their choosing at all meetings at which placement, treatment, and services decisions are made on their behalf.
  11. To be informed of their condition and progress.
  12. To be provided access to information that will facilitate decision making about treatment, including a description of any treatment procedure and discussion about alternatives.
  13. To participate in all aspects of their treatment plan. Where appropriate, family members or significant others will have the opportunity to participate in the development of the treatment plan.
  14. To be informed of possible side effects of medication or treatment offered.
  15. To consent to, refuse treatment or terminate treatment to the extent permitted by law (except where services are required by court order), and to be informed of possible consequences of such actions.
  16. To request help in the form of treatment and/or medication. Even if the person served requests help, they still have the right to refuse the help offered and the right to refuse treatment or medication previously accepted.
  17. To receive treatment, rehabilitation, and/ or educational services according to commonly accepted professional standards regardless of race, creed, gender, age, national origin, political belief, disability, sexual orientation, or infectious disease.
  18. To be treated with privacy, dignity confidentiality, respect and including a humane psychological and physical treatment, rehabilitation, and/ or educational environment that is sensitive to social, psychological, physical, and spiritual factors and freedom from physical, sexual, and verbal abuse or harassment and physical punishment, financial or other exploitation, retaliation, humiliation, or neglect.
  19. To endure the least restrictive conditions necessary to achieve the purpose of treatment or rehabilitation, including crisis procedures and special treatment interventions and restrictions. (See NCSS Policy and Procedure on Seclusion and Restraint).
  20. To freedom from aversive procedures, devices, and treatments.
  21. To petition the court for review of any civil commitment order, in accordance with the provisions of the law.
  22. Not to be subject to experimental research without the express and informed consent of the person served and/or their guardian. If consent is given, research will adhere to all NCSS, professional and governmental regulations. The person served and/or their guardian may withdraw consent at any time. (See NCSS Policy and Procedure on Human Subject Research.)
  23. To receive services in a manner responsive to their unique characteristics, needs and abilities.
  24. To request reasonable accommodation for special needs.
  25. To be notified as far in advance as possible should appointments need to be re-scheduled.
  26. To voice and/or file a complaint or grievance, request re-assignment to a different service provider (free to ask for a change in staffing and have choice in regards to their treatment team), if necessary; to recommend changes in policies or exercise of a legal right without fear of retaliation or punishment; and to receive due process with regard to the complaint/grievance.
  27. To receive support for accessing and referral to guardians and conservators, self-help groups, advocacy services, and legal services, as appropriate.
  28. To an examination and full explanation of their bill regardless of the source of payment.
  29. To associate with individuals of both genders.
  30. To appropriate arrangements to meet their need for privacy and safety.
  31. To communicate in private by mail and telephone.
  32. To have information in your medical records handled in a professional and confidential manner.
  33. To have written and electronic records kept confidential, except for disclosure as required by law. Release of information will be in accordance with NCSS policies on privacy and confidentiality. (See NCSS Policy and Procedure on Confidentiality.)
  34. To receive services in the context of support necessary for a family member with a developmental disability without relinquishing custody of a child or children except when custody is terminated in accordance with Vermont law. Persons served who are committed to the Department because they present a major danger to public safety may experience some restriction to these rights.
  35. To access, read and challenge any information contained in any records about the person that are maintained by the Department or any agency or program funded by the Division and to file a written statement in the record regarding any portion of the record with which the person disagrees.
  36. To maintain family contact, except when contact is restricted by court order.
  37. To refuse to perform services for NCSS.
  38. To agree to perform voluntary or paid services for NCSS if their desires, if there is no medical reason which would contradict the performing of the services, and if compensation for paid services is at or above prevailing rates.
  39. To examine the results of the most recent survey of NCSS conducted by Federal or Vermont surveyors, or private accreditation firm and any plan of correction in effect with respect to NCSS.
  40. Access to self-help and advocacy support services.
  41. The right to all legal protection and due process for status as an outpatient and inpatient, both voluntary and involuntary, as defined under Vermont Law.
  42. Access or referral to legal entities for appropriate representation.
  43. Exercise all the rights to health information in the medical record as they are outlined in the Agency “Notice of Privacy Practices”.

These rights do not require any NCSS staff to administer treatment, rehabilitation, and/ or educational services contrary to their judgment if that treatment or service is deemed to be harmful to the persons served well being or is beyond the financial resources of NCSS.

None of the above rights will prevent a program from reducing or eliminating services to a person as a result of the individual’s refusal to consent to or cooperate with reasonably offered and provided care and support services.

Agency policies and procedures regarding the rights of persons served will adhere to all applicable federal and Vermont laws and regulations regarding confidentiality and rights.


All staff will be trained on the rights of persons served during new staff orientation and updated as necessary by Division Directors and/or their designee.

Persons served, and guardians, if any, will be given information prior to service delivery and/or as part of the service regarding their rights and responsibilities. The staff person presenting the information regarding rights will provide both written and verbal explanation in a manner consistent with the person served level of understanding. If the person served is unable to understand their rights, such information will be documented in the record.

The person served and/or their guardian will then sign a statement confirming he/she has read and/or had reviewed with them the list of rights, resolved any questions about the content, conditions, or terminology, and received a copy of these rights. The primary care coordinator for the person served will witness this action. This confirmation will be retained in the record of the person served.  A copy will be provided to the person served.

Persons served rights will be reviewed annually at the time of their treatment plan review.  Persons served rights will be posted throughout the building and in the front lobby area available for review at all times.  Persons served may also request additional copies of their rights from any NCSS Inc. staff member for review and clarification.

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