Skip to:

How to file a complaint

Questions and Answers About the Board of Medical Practice's Complaint Review Process

  • What can I do if I am concerned about the way a physician practices medicine?
    If you are concerned about the way a physician practices medicine, you may wish to take one or more of the following steps:
    1. Talk with the physician about your concerns, for in most cases she/he will want to know that you are dissatisfied with the medical services received.
    2. Talk with the Chief of Staff or Clinic Manager about your situation, for they, too, want satisfied patients who will recommend their clinic services.
    3. If you are unable to receive satisfaction from the above efforts or if you feel it is inappropriate to do (1) and/or (2) above, call the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice at 612-617-2130 to discuss your concerns. If the Board is able to be of assistance, you will receive complaint forms. To initiate a formal review, complete the forms, have your signature notarized, and return the packet to the Board.
  • What kinds of things can I complain about?

    Most complaints about physicians fall into these categories:

    1. Competency matters of all kinds
    2. Impairment or chemical abuse
    3. Sexual misconduct
    4. Inappropriate prescribing
  • What are the things that the Board can't help me with?

    The Board can only take action against a physician's license. It can't help you recover money from a doctor. The board can only take action against an M.D. (Doctor of Medicine), a D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine), a Physician Assistant, a Respiratory Therapist, Athletic Trainer, an Acupuncturist, a Naturopathic Doctor or a Traditional Midwife. It can't help you with problems regarding any other health care professional such as a psychologist, a dentist, or a podiatrist. The Board can't help you with any billing or collection problems.

  • Must I use the Board's form to file a complaint?

    Yes. The Board's complaint review process actually begins when the Board receives your completed, notarized complaint. By completing a form and having it notarized, you are providing the documentation the Board's staff needs to begin its review.

  • How does the Board review a complaint?

    First, the Board's staff gathers information from a variety of sources, starting with the information you include in your complaint. The staff will gather medical records, collect data and may interview those involved, You will be asked to sign a release of information form to allow the Board to obtain your medical records. Signing this release will speed the handling of your complaint. If it is appropriate, the staff will also obtain a response from the physician involved. When the information gathering is completed, the Board's Complaint Review Committee will review the facts and decide whether to take action against the physician involved.

  • What kinds of action can the Board take?

    The Board can take a variety of actions: It can limit, suspend or revoke a physicians's license to practice medicine in Minnesota. It can order a physician to pay civil penalties and to pay all court and investigative costs incurred during the complaint review process. It can order physicians to take more training, to stop treating some illnesses or to stop performing certain procedures. It can order physicians to enroll in appropriate treatment programs. It can issue a written reprimand.

  • Will a physician know that I filed a complaint?

    During the review process, the board will protect your identity, unless you consent to have it disclosed. Disclosing your identity can, however, assist the board in investigating your complaint, since physicians must respond to specific complaints rather than to general accusations. The Medical Practice Act provides immunity from civil lawsuits or criminal prosecution to people who file a complaint.

  • How long does the complaint review process take?

    There is no set time limit. The length of the review process tends to vary with the complexity of the complaint. Some reviews move very quickly, others take months, some have taken years.

  • How can I find out about the status of my complaint?

    You can contact the Board staff at any time. In addition, the Board staff will contact you when the review process is complete and the Board has made a decision about your complaint.

  • Do all complaints lead to action against physicians?

    The Board receives some complaints that do not lead to action against physicians. The Board cannot take action against a physician unless there is sufficient evidence to show that the physician violated Minnesota's Medical Practice Act. The Board must thoroughly review each complaint before it takes any action.

  • If the Board cannot act, is there anything I can do?

    The Board's staff may advise you on the services of other governmental agencies or professional associations if the Board is not the appropriate agency to deal with your concerns.

  • Are there any costs associated with filing a complaint?

    There are no costs for filing a complaint. You may have to pay a notary public to notarize your complaint before you file it. Notary fees are usually less than $5.

  • Do I need an attorney to help me file my complaint?

    The Board's complaint process is designed for the public. If you have questions about filing your complaint, the Board's staff can assist you.

  • If I file a complaint, can I also take legal action?

    Filing a complaint will not preclude other legal action you choose to consider.

  • Who is on the Board of Medical Practice?

    The Board of Medical Practice has sixteen members including eleven physicians and five members of the general public, all appointed by the Governor. The Board is supported by a professional staff. The staff and the Board work closely with attorneys from the Minnesota Attorney General's Office when reviewing complaints against physicians. Physicians under investigation are required, by law, to cooperate with the Board and its staff.