DISCLAIMER: By sharing this email template with information, Deaf Vee Journal‘s intention to empower Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, hard of hearing, and late-deafened community members in knowing their own rights for their preemptive safety and having access to the proper venues for reporting in the event of provider misconduct. We are absolved of any responsibility or liability related to this post, and we ask you not to interpret this as legal advice.
Subject: Complaint Against [Name at Program/Office]
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is _____________ and I [was/am] a client from [date] to [date] at [name of office or program], located at [insert address]. I received services from [name of psychiatrist, dentist, counselor, doctor, optometrist, surgeon], and I want to file a complaint. The license/certification number for [insert provider’s name] is _______________.
[Describe what happened, when, who, where, how]. I can be reached at [phone number] or [e-mail address].
Thank you for your time,
In the state of California, complaints often require you to include the employee’s license or certification number, and you need to make sure the license or certification number is accurate. Some of the agencies below do allow you to make complaints anonymously, and you can report either suspected or actual incidents of misconduct. If you do not have any complaint, you still have the right to ask your provider for their license or certification number and verify it online on your own anytime–even before you become their client.
- If the person is a psychiatrist, a clinical social worker, a professional clinical counselor, or a marriage and family therapist: you need to go to the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) website, click on “Verify License,” do a name search, and find the matching result. You can file a complaint online or by mail with the BBS, and you will need to click on the “Submitting Complaints to the Board” heading for further instructions on what to include in your complaint. This also applies to professionals in behavioral health services who are registered with the BBS and have not yet received their licenses. The BBS prefers current/former clients to file the complaint, and that, if possible, all documented evidence be included in the complaint.
- If this is for a doctor, surgeon, or midwife, you need to go to the Medical Board of California. You can look them up by name, license number, city, and county location. You can file a complaint under the “Consumers” tab on the Medical Board of California’s website.
- If this is for an acupuncturist, you can go to the Acupuncture Board under the Department of Consumer Affairs where you can do a license search or file a complaint.
- For naturopathic physicians, you can check out the Naturopathic Medicine Committee of the Department of Consumer Affairs and verify their license status or file a complaint.
- If the person is a Registered Alcohol or Drug Technician or a certified Substance Abuse Counselor, you need to look them up under the Department of Health Care Services’ list of certifying credential organizations. The two certifying organizations are the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals (CCAPP) and the California Association of DUI Treatment Programs (CADTP). You can click on “Verify a Credential” on both the CCAPP and CADTP websites to do a name search, and both websites do have a separate section for you to report ethics violations. You can also file a complaint with the Department of Health Care Services under their Licensing & Certification Division.
- If your complaint is related to a dentist, a dental assistant, or a dental hygienist, you can go to the Dental Board of California’s website and click on the “Consumers” tab, where you can find the options to do a license search and file a complaint.
- If you know your provider receives funding from the local county you receive or received services in, you can look up the Health and Human Services Agency under that same county online and search for their Compliance Office’s e-mail address and phone number.
- If this is about an optometrist (eye doctor), you need to go to the California State Board of Optometry and click on the “Consumers” tab. Again, you have the option to do a license search and file a complaint.
E-mail templates with information on state boards for license/certification verification can be made available for other states. If you need assistance in completing your complaint, contact your local Deaf advocate.