Frequently Asked Questions about Investigations and Filing a Complaint

 

 

Q.  Can I file a complaint on behalf of another individual?

A. Yes

 

Q.  How do I file a complaint once I have established that the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners is the correct agency to handle my complaint?

A.  All complaints must be in writing and there are two ways to do this.

1. Go to the Board’s website at www.lsbme.la.gov and download the forms from the investigation section of our website.  Complete these forms and enclose any other information you might have that is pertinent to the complaint.

2.  The Board is aware that everyone does not have access to a computer and in this case you may call 504-568-6820 and ask to speak with the investigation department.  We will be glad to take your name and address and mail the forms to you. 

   

Q.  Can I file an anonymous complaint?

A.  In most cases we require the complainant to sign a release so we can ask the licensee to respond to the complaint.  In rare occasions, on a case by case basis, the Board can investigate an anonymous complaint.  We would need enough information to prove the allegation through other means. If this is the case, you may want to discuss your concerns with a member of the Board’s investigative staff.

 

Q.  What happens to my complaint after the Board receives it?

A.  Provided we have a signed release, the licensee is provided a copy of the complaint and asked to prepare a written explanation concerning his/her alleged conduct.  In most cases, making the licensee aware of the complaint is enough for him/her to address any problems that are found.

Sometimes the allegations are so egregious that they result in a formal disciplinary action.  In this instance, you will be able to view a copy of the Board’s action on our website after a final decision is made.  You can find these documents by selecting Disciplinary Actions on the home page, searching for the professional of interest, and clicking “additional documents.”

  

Q.  What types of actions may be taken against the licensees?

A.  The Board has a variety of actions it may take against a licensee when a complaint is made.  These actions may range from informal advice and education to a formally action that includes the imposition of probationary conditions or in some cases suspension or revocation.

 

Q.  What information will I receive from the Board after I file a complaint?

A.   In most cases you will receive a letter acknowledging that the complaint has been received.  After the complaint is reviewed, if it is decided that no statute or rules have been broken or that the allegation cannot be substantiated, you will receive a letter notifying you that the case is closed.  If you have not received a letter notifying you of the closure of the case, you should use the directions given to you in the fourth paragraph of the acknowledgement letter you received earlier in the complaint process.  The directions will guide you in viewing the final action taken by the Board.

 

Q.  How long does it take to process my complaint?

A. We strive to complete the review and investigation of complaints within 90 days of receipt of the forms.  Occasionally, when a complaint is more complex and involves multiple patients, practitioners or allegations, these investigations may take up to a year or more to complete. 

 

Q.  My doctor won’t release my medical records, what can the Board do?

A. According to the Board’s rules the failure of a physician to surrender a patient’s records upon receipt of proper authorization is considered unprofessional conduct.  Therefore you may wish to file a complaint.

 

Q.  Can my physician refuse to see me?

A.  A physician generally has the right to terminate the doctor/patient relationship.  The doctor should give adequate notice to the patient and provide required care until the patient has had reasonable time to find a new physician.  Adequate notice will depend on the circumstances.

 

Q.  Can I file a malpractice claim through the Medical Board against my Physician?

A.  No.  Malpractice claims are heard in civil court.  The LSBME does not evaluate or give advice regarding malpractice claims.  Note: The LSBME cannot give legal advice.  Please consult an attorney if you have questions regarding malpractice claims.

 

Q.  My Physician died.  How do I get my medical records?

A.  At this time there is no centralized state repository for medical records.  Sometimes patients send a written request for records to the doctor’s next of kin or the executor of the doctor’s estate.  A patient may also contact the LSBME to determine if a custodian of records has been reported.  If another physician has taken over the practice, the records may be available there.

 

Q.  My Physician closed his office.  How do I get my medical records?

A.  Put your request in writing and send it to the physician’s address found on the verifications page of the LSBME website.  You can also contact the LSBME to determine if a custodian of records has been reported.  If another physician has taken over the practice, the records may be available there.