Consumer Handbook

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Goals

The Fresno County Mental Health Plan provides specialty mental health services in Fresno County. Mental health services under the Mental Health Plan are available to residents of Fresno County who receive Medi-Cal benefits. We are also there for people with limited or no resources for their mental health needs.

We are committed to provide quality mental health care to people of all ages and cultures. We will do our best to respect your needs, protect your rights as a consumer, and keep information about you private.

This handbook contains information about the Fresno County Mental Health Plan. It tells you how to get mental health care when you need it, what services are covered, and your rights as a consumer of mental health services.

If you need more information than you can find in this handbook, please call us toll-free at 1-800-654-3937 (if you use TTY, dial 711 to reach the California Relay Service). We are happy to answer your questions or mail you information about our services. You can also get brochures with more information at any mental health service site.

Our staff and providers are trained to help people of all ages from many cultures. They can help you in most of the languages spoken in Fresno County.

Services

The Fresno County Mental Health Plan offers a broad range of mental health services. At the beginning, we do an assessment of each person who wants mental health services. We want to determine what is best for that person. Most people seeking mental health services will only need basic counseling services. For those who need more extensive treatment, we offer many other services, including crisis, day treatment, and inpatient services.

Mental health services are provided by a culturally diverse network of community health programs, clinics, private therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists. We do our best to match you with the services you or your family need at a location that is close to you. If you would like a list of providers, we would be happy to mail you one. Contact us by calling 1-800-654-3937 or by writing to us.

Most of our services are offered in the languages of our consumers. When this is not available, we use translators at no cost to you.

To receive mental health services, you will need to obtain approval by calling the Fresno County Mental Health Plan at 1-800-654-3937. A clinician will work with you to assess your needs, answer your questions, and develop a plan of care for you. You can call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to ask questions about mental health services.

Responsibilities

Mental Health Plan Responsibilities

  • To provide quality mental health services
  • To assess and evaluate mental health requests on a timely basis
  • To give you a choice of providers, to the extent that is possible
  • To offer you a second opinion, if you request one
  • To provide you with information about your mental health services

Consumer Responsibilities

  • Keep appointments or let us know in advance of your need to postpone
  • Follow your treatment plan or ask for a revision in the plan
  • Let your therapist know of any changes in your condition, including the effects and side effects of medications
  • Seek help in times of crisis
  • Keep violence, drugs, abusive language, and damaging behavior out of the treatment setting in respect for others
  • Be aware of program rules and abide by them

Privacy

What you talk about with a therapist will not be shared with anyone outside the Fresno County Mental Health Plan unless you agree in writing. All of your records are kept in a locked, secure place.

There are only two exceptions to this. If you give your therapist information that you might endanger yourself or others, then the therapist must contact the proper authorities--this is required by law.

The only other exception is if we are ordered by a court of law to give them information.

What to Look For

If you or someone in your family is having a significant problem, you may want to contact the Fresno County Mental Health Plan to see if we can help. The following questions will help you know what to look for:

  • Is the person sad, hopeless or angry most of the time without a good reason? Does the person overreact? Is there excessive crying?
  • Does the person talk about feelings of worthlessness? Is the person anxious or worried a lot more than other people you know? Are there other unexplained fears which affect their mood or the choices they make? Are they always worried that something bad might happen to them?
  • When there has been a separation or death, is this person having more difficulty recovering than others in the family?
  • Is the person constantly concerned about their physical appearance? Are there unexplained changes in sleeping or eating? Does the person diet or exercise in the extreme?
  • Does the person suddenly lose interest in things which they usually enjoy? Do they avoid family and friends?
  • Does the person have difficulty concentrating or focusing on what they are doing? Do they talk about hearing voices? Do they daydream excessively? Do they have persistent nightmares?
  • Has the person talked about committing suicide?
  • Is there a focus on drugs and alcohol?
  • Does the person constantly break rules or violate the rights of others?

Consumer Rights

As a participant in the Fresno County Mental Health Plan you have the following rights:

  • Ask for a provider who can communicate with you in your own language
  • Whenever possible, receive mental health services at times and places which are convenient for you
  • Be treated with courtesy, dignity, and respect
  • Be told what your diagnosis means and get answers to your questions
  • Get a second opinion when your initial assessment shows no medical need for treatment
  • Know the benefits, risks, and costs of treatment before you give your permission for services
  • Be told about other forms of treatment
  • File a complaint or grievance about the services you receive or about the way you are treated
  • Choose another person to represent you in the grievance process
  • Have your mental health records and personal information kept private
  • Have access to your mental health records
  • Be told about program rules and changes

Grievance

Our goal is to provide the best quality of care for our consumers, but we understand that sometimes things do not work out as planned. As a general guide, if the problem you are having is financial or related to housing, the Patients’ Rights Advocate (559/492-1652) may be able to assist. If it is a concern about mental health services, then calling Managed Care is the place to start. If you are not satisfied with the mental health services you are receiving, you are encouraged to speak with your provider and his or her supervisor. They may be able to help you and address your concerns to your satisfaction in the quickest manner.

If after attempting to resolve your concerns with the provider or supervisor you are still not satisfied, you may file a grievance. Grievance forms are available at all mental health service sites. You may also call the FCMHP toll free line at 1-800- 654-3937 for assistance in filing your grievance, or fill out the grievance form and mail to:

Fresno County Mental Health Plan
P.O. Box 45003
Fresno, CA  93718-9886

If you use TTY call 711 to reach the California Relay Service. Managed Care staff will work with you to resolve the grievance as quickly and simply as possible. You may also call the Patients Rights Advocate at (559) 492-1652 for assistance.

If after exhausting the grievance resolution process you are still not satisfied you may then request a State Fair Hearing. Forms to request a State Fair Hearing are available at all mental health service sites.

You will receive a letter acknowledging your grievance within several days. There will be an investigation of your grievance and you will receive a written notice within 60 days.

Services Offered

Assessment and Evaluation Services/Adult and Youth Services

  • Outpatient Counseling with individuals, families, and groups
  • Case Management
  • Medication
  • Drug and Alcohol Treatment
  • Southeast Asian Program

Day Treatment (Children Only)

  • Rehabilitation
  • Socialization
  • Intensive

Intensive Services

  • Emergency Psychiatric Services
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Intensive Case Management

Inpatient Services

  • Psychiatric Health Facility

In a Crisis

If you have a psychiatric emergency, you must act quickly. Call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
If you are a Fresno County Medi-Cal beneficiary, the Fresno County Mental Health Plan will cover the cost of emergency services. Mental health evaluation and intervention is also provided by the Crisis Intervention Service during times of immediate crisis.

If you are not sure that this is an emergency, call toll-free 1-800-654-3937 for information and referral assistance from the clinician on duty.

If you have a mental health crisis when you are out of Fresno County, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. If you need psychiatric hospital care, we will help you arrange it. The Fresno County Mental Health Plan covers mental health services for its beneficiaries anywhere in California. Call us toll-free at 1-800-654-3937 for assistance.

Thank you for your interest in the Fresno County Mental Health Plan. We look forward to delivering mental health services that demonstrate staff competency, respect, dignity, and fairness for all Fresno County consumers.

We provide comprehensive and individualized assessment and treatment plans emphasizing consumer choice and empowerment. Together, we can ensure that each consumer achieves an improved level of independence, better coping skills, and new growth through evaluation, treatment, and focused rehabilitation.

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