Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Who can file a Complaint?
A. Complaints are received by the Enforcement Division of the Department of Health Professions from any source, including, but not limited to: consumers, patients, licensees, facilities, employers, employees, the media, the courts, anonymous sources, other licensing boards, etc.
Q. Who can I Complain About?
A. The Department of Health Professions includes 13 regulatory Boards that regulate more than 62 types of professions and occupations and a limited number of facilities. This Agency has authority over any person or facility licensed by the Department of Health Professions, as well as persons practicing without a license where a license is required. Click Here to see the list of professions and facilities regulated by this Agency.
Q. How do I file a Complaint?
A. Complaints can be submitted to the Enforcement Division using our online complaint form, e-mail, mail, telephone, and in person. Go to the Complaint page to see detailed information about the complaint process and to access the online complaint form. For any questions contact the Enforcement Division at (804) 367-4691 or toll free at 1-800-533-1560 (Virginia only).
Q. What happens to my Complaint?
A. Complaints are processed upon receipt and, if an address is provided, the source is notified by letter that their complaint has been received. When information received by the Department of Health Professions indicates a violation of law or regulation within this Agency's jurisdiction may have occurred, it is the responsibility of the Enforcement Division to obtain whatever additional information is needed to prove or disprove that a violation has occurred. Information is gathered and submitted to the appropriate Health Regulatory Board for consideration and action. The Board initially decides whether the evidence is sufficient to indicate that a violation law or regulation may have occurred. If the evidence is not sufficient for that purpose, the case is then closed and no further action is taken. If the Board believes there is sufficient evidence to indicate that a violation of law or regulation may have occurred, a determination is made (following the Administrative Processes Act) whether the accused has violated a law or regulation, and if so, the Board imposes disciplinary action. Click here to see a detailed explanation of the Disciplinary Process.
Q. How can I find out if my health care practitioner has been Disciplined?
A. You can access public record information about health care practitioners on the License Lookup website. If you have specific questions, you may want to contact the specific Health Regulatory Board directly.
Q. How Do I complain about a Hospital or Nursing Home?
A. The Department of Health, Office of Licensure and Certification, has regulatory authority over health care facilities including hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, hospices, etc. They can be contacted at 9960 Mayland Drive, Ste. 401, Henrico, VA 23233-1463, or by telephone at (804) 367-2106 or 1-800-955-1819, or via their web site.
Q. Can I get copies of my Medical Records?
A. Medical records are the property of the practitioner; however, the consumer is entitled to copies of those records under the provisions of several sections of the Virginia Code, including: §32.1-127.1:03; §51.4-111(C)(ii); and §8.01-413. To search for laws or regulations you may access the Virginia Legislature Information System.
You or your authorized representative must request a copy of your medical record in writing to the provider. The provider has 30 days to respond to you. If the provider does not respond to your written request after 30 days, you have the option to file a complaint with our agency. Be sure to keep a copy of the written request you send to the provider and its delivery method, as it may be needed later on if an investigation is conducted.
Q: I want to complain about a practitioner but I don't have the first name.
A: In general, the Department is unable to assist in identifying the practitioner you wish to complain about. You may want to contact the practice or facility to request information, review your medical records, or use the License Lookup feature on our website for more information.
Q: How long does this process take?
A: There isn’t a set timeframe. Each case is different therefore the processing time from start to finish may vary. The agency thoroughly reviews every complaint, in line with our mission to ensure safe and competent patient care.
Q: Can you intervene with the practitioner on my behalf?
A: Unfortunately it is not that simple. There is no instantaneous action that the Enforcement Division can take. However, if you file a complaint, the Department may begin an investigation to look into the matter.
Q: Am I required to report this situation?
A: There are certain situations that hospitals, other health care institutions, and licensees are required to report to the Department. You may wish to review §54.1-2400.6, §54.1-2909, and DHP Guidance Document 76-34.
Q: Will the Board grant me money damages against the licensee or make them refund/reimburse me?
A:DHP/the Boards do not have the legal authority to order reimbursement or award damages.You may wish to contact the civil court in your jurisdiction for additional information.
Q: Should I contact a lawyer?
A: That is something you will have to determine; the Department is unable to provide legal advice.