Time and time again, I hear about people who feel mistreated or neglected by their physicians. Some of my EndoWarriors have even been verbally abused by their physicians and their staff. But what can you, as a mistreated patient, do? Do not simply put your head down and cry. Do something about it! Report it to someone of authority. Here are a few tips on how best to do that:
You can ask to speak with the physician’s supervisor, which may be a higher-up physician in that practice, or even a Customer Service, Quality Control, or Patient Advocacy department. Larger hospitals may have departments that deal with grievances. Some physicians work under the umbrella of a medical group. Feel free to send a letter to the doctor and cc: his supervisor/medical group/grievance department, etc. Give him/her the opportunity to respond to your letter. Send that piece of correspondence by certified mail with a return receipt so you have confirmation that they’ve received it.
In the United States, each state has a medical licensing board. You can contact your state’s board to lodge a formal complaint against the doctor. Some states even offer a consumer-complaint hotline and you can ask to lodge a formal complaint against your doctor. They may open an investigation and may take action against your physician. For example, if you live in California, you can lodge a complaint online for a variety of reasons, including substandard care, unprofessional conduct, and office practice issues. If you live in the UK, you can lodge a complaint with the General Medical Council. If you live in Australia, you can lodge a complaint with various organizations.
You may even wish to alert your insurance carrier about your physician’s alleged misconduct, and if needed, ask to be assigned to a new physician.
If you have Medicare, you must contact your Beneficiary and Family Centered Care Quality Improvement Organization (depending on what state you live in, KEPRO or Livanta handle these claims). Such complaints can be about errors with drugs, unnecessary or inappropriate surgery, unnecessary or inappropriate treatment, issues with customer service, complaints about your doctor, unsafe conditions, etc.
If the complaint has to deal with medical negligence which caused damages, you may even want to seek a consultation with a medical malpractice attorney. You can contact your state’s local bar association for a referral to one.
You have a voice. Feel free to use it.
~ Again, I am a layman. I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge. Please take what I say with a grain of salt. If curious, do your own research 😉 Validate my writings. Or challenge them. And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always. Yours ~ Lisa