Understanding the Complaint Process
The Georgia Composite Medical Board (GCMB or Georgia Medical Board) is responsible for protecting health care consumers by ensuring the highest standards of professional conduct, patient care, competency and training for physicians and certain members of the healing arts.
Filing a complaint helps GCMB protect Georgians by bringing possible misconduct to the boards attention. Submitting a complaint is a good way to help ensure that Medical providers who engage in misconduct are held accountable and that similar misconduct does not occur in the future.
Complaints are the leading source of GCMB enforcement cases. Anyone can file a complaint with the Medical Board. Deciding to file a complaint is a personal choice. GCMB cannot advise patients if they have a “good case” nor predict possible outcomes.
The GCMB reviews and investigates all complaints regarding Physicians (M.D. or D.O.), Physician Assistants, Respiratory Care Professionals, Acupuncturists, Clinical Perfusionists, Orthotists, Prosthetists, Cosmetic Laser Practitioners or Genetic Counselors.
Serious complaints, criminal violations, public safety threats, and similar situations are referred directly for formal investigations by the Board’s agents. These agents are certified law enforcement personnel who are trained in traditional investigations. GCMB has the authority to take regulatory action against a licensee only when it determines that a violation of the medical practice act has occurred.
Many matters of concern may fall within GCMB jurisdiction including:
- substandard medical care
- missed or delayed diagnoses and medical errors
- inappropriate or excessive prescribing
- unprofessional or unethical conduct (a broad category that may include misrepresenting credentials, violating patient confidentiality, or billing for services not provided)
- sexual assault
- other sexual misconduct by a medical provider
Matters which Do Not fall within GCMB jurisdiction include:
- Investigate complaints against anyone who is not licensed under the under the Medical Board. Some examples are: Nurses, PhDs, Dentists, Hospitals, Insurance Companies, Pharmacists, Chiropractors, Clinics, Doctors office staff, Family counselors, Laboratory’s, Podiatrists, Veterinarians, or Social Workers. (Such complaints should be directed to the appropriate state-licensing agency)
- Assist with billing complaints or fees disputes.
- Help with Workers Compensation Complaints.
- Give Legal or Medical Advice.
How does filing a complaint impact you?
Patients who file complaints should be aware that the medical professionals in question will be notified. This could lead the licensee to dismiss you as a patient. Medical professionals have the right to do this. If you wish to continue as a patient, you may be better served by raising issues directly with your provider or the practice manager. Patient should also understand that filing a complaint will not have a direct impact on them. GCMB does not provide direct assistance or intervene in patient care.
Filing a complaint will not help you:
- resolve a dispute with a medical professional
- persuade a provider to change his or her mind about treatment
- obtain a financial settlement
- prepare a lawsuit against a provider
If your objective is to obtain help with any of these things filing a complaint will not help you achieve this.
Keep in mind there is no “statute of limitations” when it comes to filing a complaint. However, GCMB is usually able to get the most accurate and complete information when a complaint is submitted as soon as possible after a problem occurs.
You will receive notification acknowledging receipt of your complaint immediately upon electronic submission or will receive a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint via email or US mail if submitted by mail. If your complaint is within the boards jurisdiction, we will notify you of the status upon receipt of your request, verbal or written and when final action is taken. Should your complaint be outside the boards jurisdiction, will notify you immediately via mail.
Trained professionals investigate all complaints. An investigator may contact you for additional information to secure your written statement, or for written permission to obtain copies of your medical records. A copy of your complaint will be provided to the licensee to allow him or her to respond. Copies of medical records are obtained as part of any investigation related to quality of care. A complaint regarding quality of care or conduct by a practitioner may require a lengthy investigation by experts. All investigated material including medical records, investigators interviews, and reviews by board consultants, become part of the boards investigative files and is confidential and privileged by law.