The Patients' Rights Advocacy Program responds to questions and complaints from patients in psychiatric hospitals/facilities and residents of halfway houses or board and care homes who feel one or more of their rights have been denied.

Anyone with a question or concern about treatment of a client receiving mental health services in Alameda County is welcome to call.

The toll-free telephone # in Alameda County is 800-734-2504; outside the county, dial 510-835-2505.

The most frequently asked questions and categories of complaint calls we receive involve:

  1. Involuntary Detention
                   5150, 5250 and types of hearings.
  2. Medication
                 When can patients decide? When does a patient lose the right to decide?
  3. Rights
                  What rights do patients have in the hospital?
  4. Denial of Rights
                  Can any rights  be denied? Which ones? How does a right get denied?  Who can deny a right?
  5. Least  Restrictive
                  Are there  alternatives to denying a right? Are there less restrictive alternatives?   
  6. Conservatorship
                  What is a Conservatorship? What powers can be given to Conservator or Guardian?


Click on the subject title (above) for additional information about these topics.


Patients’ Rights Advocates of Alameda County have a mission to assure that people with mental illness receive quality treatment from facilities and providers of mental health treatment and in compliance with the codes and regulations governing their treatment.

We meet this goal through five main activities.

1.  Investigate complaints of abuse and neglect and work with facilities to find solutions in those cases where complaints are substantiated.

2.  We monitor psychiatric facilities for compliance with codes and regulations and advise facilities regarding plans for improving compliance.

3.  We represent patients in hearings regarding involuntary treatment to assure the due process rights of the individuals are respected in accordance with basic principles of the constitution.

          a.  Representation is provided at Certification Review Hearings, when patients are detained for involuntary treatment longer than 72 hours.

         b.  Representation is provided at Capacity (Riese) Hearing when a doctor seeks court authority to involuntarily treat a patient with psychotropic medication.  Hearing is held when the treating doctor believes a refusal results from mental illness interfering with the patient's rational thought process in decisions around treatment with those medications.

4.  *Provide education to patients, facilities staff, family members and the general public on laws governing patients' rights.*

5.  *Provide consultation to treatment staff and administrators to help them appropriately apply the law to treatment decisions.*

          a.  Doctors, Social Workers, Administrators, etc. consult us on cases where the laws seem to interfere with what they deem to be the clinical best interests of patients.  Our familiarity with the law and its legislative intent allows us to provide creative solutions to these problems to assist the facility in minimizing potential liabilities that may face from decision they make.  We have professionals whom we can consult if we can't answer the question.




For consultation on LPS including individual cases, mental health professionals may call

Director, Francesca Tenenbaum