Patient Rights & Laws / State & Federal Level


There will be times when you advocate for a person where you must have a basic understanding of their rights under the law. An advocate is not an attorney, but knowing the rights of the people you work with will aid you in determining whether or not legal consultation is needed in their situation. Under no circumstances should anyone other than a lawyer offer legal advice to anyone. However, you can inform the person you are working with that you believe their rights may have been violated and encourage them to seek more information from a legal professional.

Patient Rights & Laws – Connecticut

You are entitled to be treated in a humane and dignified way at all times, with full respect to:
Personal Dignity – Right to Privacy – Right to Personal Property – Civil Rights

You have the right be free from physical or mental abuse or harm. You have the right to a written treatment plan developed with your input and suited to your own personal needs, goals and aspirations. You should be informed of your rights by the institution, agency or program. In addition, a list of your rights must be posted on each ward of a hospital.

Direct Link to entire document: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DMHAS/Publications/patientrightsengpdf.pdf?la=en

Sec. 17a-500. (Formerly Sec. 17-180). Maintenance and confidentiality of records of cases of persons with psychiatric disabilities. Exchange of information concerning commitment or admission status of firearm permit or certificate applicants and holders.

Sec. 17a-501. (Formerly Sec. 17-182). Hospitals to which person with psychiatric disabilities committed.

Sec. 17a-502. (Formerly Sec. 17-183). Commitment under emergency certificate. Examination of patient. Explanation of rights. Hearing. Private hospitals’ notification to commissioner. Immediate discharge of patient. Notification of next of kin. Prohibited commitments to chronic disease hospitals.

Sec. 17a-503. (Formerly Sec. 17-183a). Detention by police officer prior to commitment. Issuance of emergency certificates by psychologist and certain clinical social workers and advanced practice registered nurses.

Sec. 17a-504. (Formerly Sec. 17-184). Penalty for wrongful acts re the commitment or psychiatric disabilities of another person.

Sec. 17a-505. (Formerly Sec. 17-186). Escort of female patients to hospital.

Sec. 17a-506. (Formerly Sec. 17-187). Voluntary admissions. Notification of next of kin. Restriction on right to leave. Commitment proceedings. Continuation of confinement. Probable cause hearing.

Sec. 17a-506a. Voluntary admissions. Notification of commissioner. Maintenance of identifying information.

Sec. 17a-507. (Formerly Sec. 17-187a). Admission to general hospital having psychiatric facilities.

Sec. 17a-508. (Formerly Sec. 17-188). Commitment after expiration of specified period.

Sec. 17a-509. (Formerly Sec. 17-191). Placement of persons with psychiatric disabilities in residential care homes or chronic and convalescent hospitals.

Sec. 17a-510. (Formerly Sec. 17-192). Release or transfer; procedure.

Sec. 17a-511. (Formerly Sec. 17-193). Transfer of patients by agreement.

Sec. 17a-512. (Formerly Sec. 17-194b). Definitions.

Sec. 17a-513. (Formerly Sec. 17-194c). Voluntary admission of inmates of correctional institutions in hospital for psychiatric disabilities.

Sec. 17a-514. (Formerly Sec. 17-194d). Emergency confinement in hospital for psychiatric disabilities of inmates of correctional institutions.

Sec. 17a-515. (Formerly Sec. 17-194e). Commitment proceedings for inmates of correctional institutions to hospitals for psychiatric disabilities.

Sec. 17a-516. (Formerly Sec. 17-194f). Discharge from hospital of inmates of correctional institutions.

Sec. 17a-517. (Formerly Sec. 17-194g). Hospitalization of individual with psychiatric disability in Whiting Forensic Hospital. Exception. Limitation of placement of inmate requiring maximum security conditions.

Service Animal Defined – State of Connecticut, Office of Legislative Research

Service Dogs and the Law – State of Connecticut, Office of Legislative Research

Patient Rights & Laws – National

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – Title I – Employment

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – Title II – State and Local Governments

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – Title III – Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities

Family and Medical Leave Act – U.S. Department of Labor:The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.


Using the FMLA for Rehab – in the United States, only about one in ten people in need of rehab actually receive treatment. One of the main concerns that prevent people from getting the help they need is the concern of losing their jobs. Addiction is a serious medical issue and is therefore covered by FMLA and it’s unfortunate that not a lot of people are aware of this. This resource was shared with us by a Community Outreach Specialist with AddictionResource.net

The guide can be found at: www.addictionresource.net/fmla-rehab-coverage/

Fair Housing Act – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Patient Rights Advocacy Groups

Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Disability Rights Connecticut Advisory Council: The PAIMI Council comprises of people with mental illness, their family members and others who have experience advocating for or serving people with mental illness.


Disability Rights Connecticut, Inc. (“DRCT”), a new independent, nonprofit organization established to be the successor entity to Connecticut’s Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities which was abolished by Connecticut law as of June 30, 2017.  We are a statewide organization largely funded by federal entities and authorized by the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, Rehabilitation Act and Social Security Act. DRCT opened its doors on July 1, 2017 and is hoping to hear from you!

Location: Hartford, CT

Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI): An official website of the United States government. PAIMI is administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS).

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