If you are having problems getting behavioral services, including care for mental health conditions and substance use disorders, the Ombudsman for Behavioral Health can help. We can answer questions and help you resolve a complaint about services received at a state hospital or a community mental health center. We can also help you with concerns about access to behavioral health care through your health insurance plan, whether it is a private plan or a public plan like Medicaid.
We can help you:
- Access behavioral health services
- Answer questions about programs and providers
- Navigate your health plan's requirements to pay for services
- Find a way to solve problems with your services
- Understand your rights, including your:
- Right to humane treatment
- Right to the least restrictive treatment
- Right to participate in the development of your treatment plan
- Right to complain
- Understand any charges you might need to pay (PDF) at a community mental health center
- Connect to other resources
How to Get Help
There are four ways to contact us:
- Call: 800-252-8154, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday - Friday
If you have a hearing or speech disability, call the toll-free Relay Texas service at 7-1-1 or 800-735-2989.
- Online: Submit your question or complaint online.
- Mail: Texas Health and Human Services Commission
Ombudsman for Behavioral Health
P.O. Box 13247
Austin, TX 78711-3247
- Fax: 888-780-8099
Publications Explaining Your Rights
Click here to go to our publications page, which includes a handbook for consumers receiving mental health services at state hospitals and through community mental health centers. There is also a version appropriate for teens.
Accessing Behavioral Health Services Through Your Health Plan
The Texas Insurance Code requires a health plan to provide benefits and coverage for mental health conditions and substance use disorders under the same terms and conditions applicable to the plan's medical and surgical benefits and coverage. This is sometimes referred to as a "parity" law.
- Click here to see some common examples of violations of parity laws in other states.
- Click here to view a resource that explains important concepts related to parity.
There is also helpful information on the Texas Department of Insurance's page, as well as on the HHS Medicaid page.
The Ombudsman for Behavioral Health will gather information from you or your provider about your concerns, and ensure they are sent to the agency that oversees your health plan. This will vary depending on the kind of insurance you have. For example, if you have Medicaid, we will work with staff here at Texas HHS to resolve your concern but if you have insurance through your employer or the federal health insurance marketplace, we might need to ask the Texas Department of Insurance to help.
Other Behavioral Health Resources
- If you are in crisis and are looking for services, find the community mental health center closest to you.
- For information on making a complaint about an inpatient facility where you are being treated for a substance use disorder, you can contact the HHSC Regulatory Services Division's Health Care Regulation section by calling toll-free 888-973-0022.
- MentalHealthTx.Org is a resource for people seeking information on services available in Texas, and is a project of HHSC's Office of Mental Health Coordination.
- The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health has a mental health guide designed to help advocates, policy makers, families, and consumers prepare for and navigate mental health systems and services in Texas.
- Disability Rights Texas is the federally-designated legal protection and advocacy agency for people with disabilities in Texas.
- To report immediate risk of abuse or neglect, call the Texas Abuse Hotline at 800-252-5400.