Approximately 40 million Americans provide unpaid care to older adults and adults with disabilities, most of whom also juggle a job or other responsibilities.
Source: National Council on Aging
Reporting Facility Problems
If facility issues cannot be resolved by speaking with staff, supervisors, or management, reporting issues to state-level authorities may be your best course of action. Medicare recommends following this protocol for filing complaints against skilled nursing facilities. Based on the magnitude of the issue, use your best judgment. If you believe that staff and management are dysfunctional or complaints won’t be taken seriously, going straight to authorities may yield faster results.
Complaint Offices by State
Reporting Problems with a Doctor
You can file a board complaint against a doctor with the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) if your family member has experienced inadequate care or unprofessional conduct. Inappropriate behaviors include negligence, alcohol and substance abuse, fraud, incompetence, and sexual misconduct. Understandably, you may be hesitant to file a complaint and prefer to walk away and avoid the hassle. I encourage you to take action so that other patients are not harmed. See this guide on how to file a complaint against a doctor.
Common standard-of-care complaints:
- Prescribing the wrong medicine
- Inappropriately prescribing controlled substances
- Failure to diagnose a medical problem that is found later
- Willfully or negligently violating the confidentiality between physician and patient except as required by law
- Disruptive behavior or interaction with physicians, hospital personnel, patients, family members, or others that interferes with patient care
- Failure to provide appropriate post-operative care
- Failure to respond to a call from a hospital to help a patient in a traumatic situation
Medical Boards by State
Long-Term Care Resident Advocates
Under the federal Older Americans Act, every state has an Ombudsman Program to address complaints and advocate for improvements in the long-term care system. The Long-Term Care Ombudsman program advocates for residents of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, boarding homes, and similar adult care homes. Ombudsmen provide information about how to find a facility and what to do to get quality care. They are also trained to resolve problems and can assist you with complaints if you permit them to share your concerns; otherwise, matters are kept confidential.