Most complaints about physicians fall into these categories:
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 Doctoror 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Filing a complaint will not preclude other legal action you choose to consider.
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.