These Frequently Asked Questions will help answer the most common questions that people ask about the complaint process. For a complete explanation of the process, please click on Compliance and Complaint Information.
The Board conducts an investigation, sometimes with the assistance of the Attorney General: the results of investigations are reviewed by one of the Boards Compliance Panels: the Panel may meet with the social worker informally or formally: and the Panel or the full Board take appropriate action. For complete information about the complaint process, please click here.
Reporting requirements are found in Minnesota Statutes section 148E.240. You must self-report certain acts and conduct, report other licensed social workers and licensed health professionals, and report unlicensed social work practice. Other licensed health professionals must also report social workers to the Board under Minnesota Statutes section 148E.240. Some facilities, insurers, and professional associations must report applicants and social workers under Minnesota Statutes section 148E.285. Please click here for contact information for all Minnesota health licensing boards.
Please read Minnesota Statutes section 148E.185 to 148E.290, the standards of practice section of the Social Work Practice Act. Please call the Boards Compliance Director at 612-617-2112. Please remember that the Board cant provide legal advice and can only offer guidance. For legal advice, please contact a lawyer. You can also talk with other licensed social workers. The Board recommends that you document your consultation. If a complaint is made, this is the best evidence of how you resolved an ethical dilemma.
If you have concerns about potential legal liability or any other legal issues, please consult your agencys attorney or a private attorney. The Board cant provide legal advice.
The Board can investigate complaints against applicants for licensure: persons holding active licenses: persons with expired, inactive, or no license if they are alleged to be practicing social work illegally: and persons using social work credentials who dont have them. The Board cant investigate complaints against unlicensed social workers practicing in exempt settings or unlicensed persons who arent practicing social work or arent illegally using social work credentials. If the person you want to file a complaint against isnt under the Boards authority, or if you have a complaint about a facility, there may be other agencies that can help you. Please click here for contact information for other Minnesota health licensing boards. The Department of Healths Health Occupations Program licenses other health-related professions. Some facilities that employ social workers are regulated by the Department of Healths Office of Health Facilities Complaints and by the Department of Human Services Division of Licensing. The Department of Human Services also has Ombudsmen for Long-Term Care and for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities.
Please click here for contact information for other Minnesota health licensing boards. School social workers are also licensed by the Minnesota Board of Teaching. The Department of Healths Health Occupations Program licenses other health-related professions. Some facilities that employ social workers are regulated by the Department of Healths Office of Health Facilities Complaints and by the Department of Human Services Division of Licensing. The Department of Human Services also has Ombudsmen for Long-Term Care and for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities.
-Unlicensed social work practice or use of a social work designation or title
-Lack of competence, failure to consult or obtain supervision, or improper delegation of social work services to an unlicensed or unqualified person
-Impairment by reason of chemical dependency, mental illness, or physical illness
-Discrimination or improper research practices
-Improper relationship with a client, former client, or certain other people
-Failure to follow accepted social work practices, failure to maintain records, and improper termination of services
-Failure to maintain confidentiality
-Failure to make a mandated report
-Improper or fraudulent billing practices
In most cases, the Board contacts the licensee in writing and asks for a written response to the complaint. In some cases, the Board will ask the Attorney General to conduct the investigation, either initially or after getting the licensees written response. The written response and the Attorney Generals investigative report are reviewed by the Boards Compliance Panel. The Panel can dismiss the complaint if the facts dont show a violation of the law. The Panel can decide to meet with the social worker, formally or informally, to learn more face-to-face and to try to resolve the complaint. If the Panel decides that the licensee violated the law, the Panel can propose corrective or disciplinary action. If the Panel proposes corrective or disciplinary action and the social worker doesnt agree to a voluntary settlement, the Panel can attempt to resolve your complaint by using alternative dispute resolution or by holding a contested case hearing before a state administrative law judge.
Complaints can take from two months to more than a year to resolve. Most complaints are resolved within two to six months, generally four or less. The time it takes to resolve a complaint varies and depends on the complexity of the complaint, the severity of the complaint, the need for formal investigation, and the willingness of the social worker to work with the Board to resolve the complaint.
The Panels and the Boards decisions are guided by how best to protect the public. Decisions are based on the severity of the violation, the level of evidence, the clarity of the law, and the Boards determination of the licensees current ability and fitness to practice social work competently, ethically, and safely. The Boards Panels consist of four Board Members each. Three of the four are licensed social workers and one is a public member.