How to Find Complaints Against a Doctor

Finding the right doctor is a difficult process. If you recently moved to a new area or need to find a new doctor for any other reason, it’s wise to do your research before paying for any care. Luckily, there are several resources you can use to do research on a potential doctor. Before entering a doctor’s care, you should look carefully for any past complaints against the doctor. While some may be from disgruntled patients with unrealistic expectations, other patient complaints may indicate the doctor is not qualified to provide the care you need. The types of complaints you should look for include:

  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
  • Medication or prescription errors
  • Unnecessary or inappropriate treatment
  • Unnecessary or inappropriate surgical procedures
  • Premature patient discharge
  • Incomplete patient discharge records

If you or a loved one has experienced any of the above you may have grounds for a lawsuit and should consult an experienced Kansas City medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to learn your legal options.

Court Records

One of the easiest ways to find out about a doctor’s past is to search the local court records for medical malpractice or negligence claims about the doctor. It’s important to scrutinize these records carefully, as frivolous lawsuits against doctors appear all the time, and the court will quickly throw them out. For example, a record may indicate that someone sued the doctor, but if the plaintiff was suing for poor bedside manner or bad attitude, this doesn’t necessarily mean the doctor committed any wrongdoing or medical negligence.

State Medical Boards

Your state’s medical board will have a record of complaints against doctors in your state. The state also manages medical licenses for doctors, and your state’s medical board database will likely include a doctor’s previously license revocations or suspensions. Check online for your state medical board’s database or call the medical board if possible for more specific information.

Nationwide Records

The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) maintains a nationwide database of disciplinary actions taken against doctors. This “DocInfo” database is searchable for a $10 fee.

State Department of Health Services

Your state’s Department of Health Services will have records on past hospital complaints and complaints against doctors. This will be useful if you want to research a hospital, private practice, or a specific doctor. Their records will include past code violations and improper care reports against the hospital or doctor to help inform your decision.

Health Insurance Carriers

Your private health insurance carrier may also be a valuable resource for researching a hospital or doctor. Most health insurance carriers provide their policyholders with background information on doctors in their networks, such as work history, training, education, and areas of specialization. Your insurance company’s website may contain this information, and you can also call a representative from your health insurance carrier for more specific answers to your questions.

Physician Grading Systems

There are many private organizations that track doctor performance across the country. The National Committee for Quality Assurance is one such organization that compiles reviews and data pertaining to quality of care. Search its database for more information about the doctor or hospital you are researching.

Review Sites

If you exhaust the previous options, you can also find typical reviews for doctors and hospitals on Google, Yelp, and other pages that compile reviews. It’s important to remember to take these reviews with a grain of salt, as some patients may write negative reviews without any real justification. However, if you notice very specific negative comments about a doctor or hospital, look for common threads among them. If a doctor’s reviews all seem to reflect poor bedside manner, communication problems, or prescription errors, this could be a sign that the doctor doesn’t provide the quality of care you need.

Decisions about health care are some of the most important choices a person can make, and it’s important to use whatever resources are available to help you find the right doctor. These are just a few examples of the ways you can research complaints against a doctor. Conduct research specific to your area and talk to friends, neighbors, and coworkers about their experiences with local doctors, too. All of these are great resources for finding trustworthy medical care in your area.