Ombuds and Advance Directive


An Ombuds can:

  1. Assist with concerns and grievances with public funded mental health or substance use disorder (behavioral health) providers.
  2. Provide information and referral about behavioral health services in Thurston and Mason Counties.
  3. Assist with preparing Mental Health Advance Directives for people receiving publicly funded mental health services or who have received in the past.

The service is designed to resolve issues quickly, impartially and in the best possible way.

The Ombuds receives information concerning the quality of service and satisfaction and assists in resolving issues confidentially.

Am I eligible to get Ombuds services?

Thurston and Mason County residents who receive or are eligible for Medicaid funded mental health and/or substance use disorder services may use the Ombuds services. There is no cost for this service.

What can the Ombuds do for me?

  • Listen to your problem.
  • Address all issues in a way consistent with Washington State and Federal Laws.
  • Analyze what is involved and help you determine an appropriate solution.
  • Assure that your concerns are heard in the way in which you want them heard, clearly and without judgment.
  • Explain and investigate facts, laws, policies and procedures.
  • Advocate for your behavioral health treatment choices and rights.
  • Mediate to resolve the problem consistent with Washington State law.
  • Assist in resolution of a grievance on behalf of a behavioral health services consumer and the Thurston-Mason BHO until the matter is resolved.
  • Assist public behavioral health consumers in addressing a denial, termination, suspension or reduction of services through the grievance or appeal process.
  • Assist family and community members in addressing issues with publically funded behavioral health services.
  • Assist with Administrative Hearings.
  • Provide information and referral on resources and your rights.
  • Remain in contact with you to see that you are kept informed until the issue or grievance is resolved.
  • Recommend changes to correct a problem or prevent future occurrences.
  • Maintain your confidentiality.
  • Act as an Authorized Representative in clients’ behalf in grievances and appeals if requested and legally authorized.

How do I contact the Ombuds?

Thurston-Mason BHO Ombuds
612 Woodland Square Loop SE Suite 401
Lacey, WA 98503
360-763-5793 or 800-658-4105
Fax: 360-584-9745

Download the Ombuds Brochure: English or Spanish


A Mental Health Advance Directive is a written document that describes what you want to happen if you become so incapacitated by mental illness that your judgment is impaired and/or you are unable to communicate effectively. It can inform others about what treatment you want or don’t want, and it can identify a person to whom you have given the authority to make decisions on your behalf.

How do I complete a Mental Health Advance Directive?

You can download the form or contact the Ombuds for a copy.

Will everything in my Mental Health Advance Directive be followed?

Here are some instances in which your Mental Health Advance Directive may not be followed:

  • Your instructions are against medical standards or are unavailable.
  • Following your directive would violate state or federal law.
  • You are hospitalized under the Involuntary Treatment Act, or are in jail.

What can I do if I feel my Mental Health Advance Directive is not followed?

If you feel your mental health or medical health advance directive was not followed, you can receive information or file a complaint with the Washington State Department of Health (DOH):

All complaints are reviewed by DOH to decide if there is a violation of the law or if DOH has authority to take legal action. If there is a violation of the law and authority to take legal action DOH conducts an investigation.

If you would like further assistance with understanding and filling out your advance directive you can contact the Mental Health Ombuds at 360-763-5793 or 800-658-4105.