Filing a Complaint
Anyone may file a complaint against a physician, physician assistant or fluoroscopy technician if they believe the practitioner has violated the state’s medical practice laws. The grounds for discipline for Physicians are found here and those for Physician Assistants are found here.
The complaint may be filed online by filling out the online complaint form or by downloading and printing a PDF version of the complaint form. If you use the online complaint form, you will be asked to submit it when you have finished completing it. If you download a printed complaint form, you may fill it out and mail it to:
North Dakota Board of Medicine
418 East Broadway Avenue, Suite 12
Bismarck, ND 58501
The complaint form is easy to complete and asks only for a specific statement of the actions believed to be subject to discipline. It is very helpful to identify the specific action and the date that the action occurred. Complaints may be filed against more than one practitioner.
The law provides that any person filing a complaint in good faith will not be subject to any legal liability for filing the complaint, even if it is later dismissed or found not to be subject to discipline.
The law also provides that the complaint and the investigation of it by the Board are confidential, even after the investigation is completed. Of course, any formal action taken as a result of a complaint is a matter of public record.
The Board's Actions
In response to a complaint and investigation, the Board may conclude that action should be taken against the license of a practitioner. The Board has broad authority to revoke or suspend a license, place restrictions or limitations on the scope of practice, or require retraining, treatment or other appropriate remedies to ensure a practitioner practices safely and competently.
The Board’s jurisdiction extends only to a licensed practitioner, and only to the practitioner’s license and practice. The Board does not have the authority to:
- Resolve insurance claims or billing disputes
- Award money damages to any individual filing a complaint
- Regulate the operation of a hospital or clinic
- Require a physician or hospital to amend a medical record or take any other action with regard to a patient
- Regulate any medical professional other than physicians, physician assistants, genetic counselors or fluoroscopy technicians
The Investigative Process
When a complaint is received, it is assigned to an investigative panel drawn from the Board as a whole. Each investigative panel is comprised of five physicians, a public member and, in some cases, a physician assistant.
A letter will be sent to the person filing the complaint confirming the complaint matters.
The board staff will then investigate the allegations of the complaint by obtaining the practitioner’s response, subpoenaing any relevant medical records and interviewing any relevant witnesses. When appropriate, medical experts will review the cases to offer an opinion of whether the practitioner’s action complies with the medical practice standards contained in the Medical Practice Act. Typically, staff will then present the results of the investigation to the panel at its next meeting. Meetings are held in March, July and November of each year. In cases where it is determined that a practitioner’s actions pose an immediate and ongoing threat to the public, however, the board may be take immediate action.
When the investigative panel decides a case, the Board will inform the person who filed the complaint and the physician involved of the decision. The panel may decide to 1) file a formal disciplinary complaint with the Board, in which case an administrative hearing will be held before an administrative law judge; 2) issue a confidential letter of concern to the physician, or 3) dismiss the complaint.
If you have any questions about the disciplinary process, click here to submit them and a staff member will contact you with a response.