Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Client Rights (PA-CR) 1: Protection of Rights and Ethical Obligations

The agency protects the legal and ethical rights of all clients by:
  1. informing clients of their rights and responsibilities;
  2. providing fair and equitable treatment; and
  3. providing clients with sufficient information for them to make an informed choice about using the agency and its services.
2020 Edition

Currently viewing: CLIENT RIGHTS (PA-CR)

VIEW THE STANDARDS

Purpose

The rights and dignity of clients are respected throughout the agency.
1
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
2
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.
3

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
4
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed administration and management infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
County/Municipality Administered Agency, State Administered Agency (Central Office), or other Public Entity
  • Client rights policy 
  • Client rights procedures
  • Grievance procedures
  • Policy for providing services to minors without the consent of the parent or legal guardian
State Administered Agency (Regional Office)
  • No Self-Study Evidence
County/Municipality Administered Agency, State Administered Agency (Central Office), or other Public Entity
  • Rights and responsibilities document provided to individuals and families at initial contact
  • Grievance reports for the past six months
State Administered Agency (Regional Office)
  • Grievance reports for the past six months
All Agencies
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Relevant personnel
    2. Persons served
  • Review case records
  • Observe facility

 
Fundamental Practice

PA-CR 1.01

All persons served receive, and are helped to understand, information about their rights and responsibilities that is:
  1. provided in writing;
  2. distributed during their initial contact;
  3. available in the major languages of the defined service population; 
  4. effectively and appropriately communicated to persons with special needs; and
  5. posted in the reception or common area of each service delivery site or residential facility.

Interpretation

If an agency provides services remotely using technology, client rights and responsibilities should be made available on the agency’s public website and the agency must implement a system for assuring and documenting that clients receive and understand their rights and responsibilities.

Interpretation

If a client is disoriented, suffering from impaired cognition, or in immediate crisis at initial contact, the summary of client rights and responsibilities should be provided at an appropriate time.


EAP

Interpretation

 
Affiliates who deliver services on behalf of an EAP are not required to post client rights and responsibilities in the reception area of their service delivery location, but information regarding client rights must be made available upon service initiation. 
Note: Please see the Case Record Checklist and Facility Observation Checklist for additional guidance on this standard.

 
Fundamental Practice

PA-CR 1.02

Written rights and responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
  1. basic expectations for use of the agency’s services including the responsibility to provide information needed to receive services;
  2. hours in which services are available;
  3. rules, behavioral expectations, and other factors that could result in discharge or termination;
  4. the right of the person served to receive service in a manner that is non-coercive and that protects the person’s right to self-determination;
  5. the right of the person served, families, and/or legal guardians to participate in decisions regarding the services provided; and
  6. basic information about how to lodge complaints, grievances, or appeals.

Interpretation

The agency's explanation of how to lodge complaints, grievances, or appeals should include informing clients about their right to file a complaint with the appropriate public authority or regulatory body.

 
Fundamental Practice

PA-CR 1.03

Clients have the right to fair and equitable treatment including:
  1. the right to receive services in a non-discriminatory manner; 
  2. the consistent enforcement of program rules and expectations; and
  3. the right to receive services that are respectful of, and responsive to, cultural and linguistic differences. 
Examples: Fair and equitable treatment may include the provision of effective, equitable, understandable, and respectful services that are responsive to: diverse cultural beliefs and practices, such as the freedom to express and practice religious and spiritual beliefs; preferred languages; and other communication needs.

Other categories that should be protected from discrimination and disrespect include, but are not limited to: race and ethnicity, military status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, and developmental level.

One way agencies can be responsive to the unique, culturally-defined needs of persons and families being served is by ensuring that program information, signs, posters, printed material, electronic and multimedia communications, and trainings are available and presented: 
  1. in the language(s) of the major population groups served; and 
  2. in a manner that is non-discriminatory and non-stigmatizing.

 
Fundamental Practice

PA-CR 1.04

Clients provide consent prior to receiving services and have the right to:
  1. participate in all service decisions;
  2. be informed of the benefits, risks, side effects, and alternatives to planned services;
  3. be offered the most appropriate and least restrictive or intrusive service alternative to meet their needs;
  4. receive service in a manner that is free from harassment or coercion and that protects the person’s right to self-determination;
  5. refuse any service, treatment, or medication, unless mandated by law or court order; and
  6. be informed about the consequences of such refusal, which can include discharge.

Interpretation

When the client is a minor, or an adult under the care of a guardian, the agency follows applicable laws or regulations governing the right of the parent or legal guardian to refuse service, treatment, or medication unless mandated by law or court order.
Note: Please see the Case Record Checklist for additional guidance on this standard.

 
Fundamental Practice

PA-CR 1.05

The agency maintains a formal mechanism through which applicants, clients, and other stakeholders can express and resolve grievances, including denial of service, which includes:
  1. the right to file a grievance without interference or retaliation;
  2. timely written notification of the resolution and an explanation of any further appeal, rights, or recourse; and
  3. at least one level of review that does not involve the person about whom the complaint has been made or the person who reached the decision under review.
AG

Interpretation

Agencies providing Adult Guardianship should ensure that an advocate is appointed to assist the individual in navigating the grievance process.

 
Fundamental Practice

PA-CR 1.06

The agency states in writing circumstances under which it will serve minors without consent from a parent or legal guardian, and provides this information upon request.
NA The agency does not serve minors without consent from a parent or legal guardian.