Where to complain about problems with psych clinic?
I have been a depression patient at an outpatient psychiatric clinic (USA) for some time. It is associated with a teaching hospital, and all of my therapists there have been residents who treat patients as part of their training. (When I look at the signup sheet I see that attendings also treat patients, but I donít know how thatís determined. My best guess is that it depends on how much your insurance will pay.)
I have observed shocking treatment, incompetence, and indifference that seems to be firmly rooted in their system. In particular, I know of two egregious occasions that might well have resulted in patient suicide, and I would not be surprised if this place will contribute to the deaths of patients in the future. For all I know it already has.
I have tried to bring my concerns to the people running the place, but was not taken seriously. In fact, I was told by the director in a moment of honesty that their mission is training residents, not helping patients. Having low self-esteem, a large part of me feels I deserve to be treated that way. But when I think of other patients being treated with such lack of concern, I get angry as hell, and I simply *must* do something to try to improve things for them. I have nearly completed a detailed web page about what Iíve observed. But publishing (and promoting) it is a really big step, and I would much rather try to work in a less public way if at all possible.
In light of that, I have three questions that Iím hoping that someone with greater knowledge of such matters can help me with:
1. What authority (or authorities) at a level higher than hospital officials overseas such clinics? Iíve pretty much exhausted trying to work through hospital officials, and have come away convinced that their only real concern is in keeping their butts well-covered legally.
2. I want to ask for copies of my full patient records. Iím not sure how much value they will have, as Iíve been told by outsiders that most of the interesting stuff is written in ďprivate work notes.Ē Plus, Iíve already asked for and seen a limited number of my recent records, and theyíre mostly repeated cut-and-paste from previous records, together with untruths that I canít refute with evidence. But they should be of value in establishing exact dates, at the very least. However I can see a potential problem in asking for the full records: With my previous complaints, Iím no doubt seen by them as a troublemaker. And some of the records Iím extremely interested in obtaining may or may not still exist, since they are years old, possibly beyond the time the clinic is required to keep them. (*Are* they, in fact, required to keep records for a certain amount of time?) My concern is that they might exist, but only because no one got around to destroying them, and that if I ask for them they will deny their existence and *then* destroy them. Is there any way I can (inexpensively) try to protect myself from this happening?
3. Anyone have any good ideas for fixing the situationóor promoting the web page, should it come to that?
Thanksófor reading this far, if nothing else.