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Consumer Help

Consumer's Bill of Rights

OHLA-regulated professions  
Consumers of services provided by professionals regulated by the Health Licensing Office (HLO) have specific rights outlined in the Consumer's Bill of Rights.  

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Problem Unresolved? Contact Us

If you can’t resolve a problem or issue with a practitioner of one of the health and related professions we regulate, you may file a complaint with HLO.
 
If the complaint is out of the central agency’s jurisdiction (i.e. a medical issue that would be addressed by the Oregon Medical Board or fraudulent activity responded to by the Oregon Department of Justice's Financial Fraud/Consumer Protection Section), we will refer you to the appropriate agency or organization.
 
You may also search an A-Z listing of state agencies to find the appropriate regulatory agency to contact. 
 
You may want to file a complaint if you have:
  • Been injured or have been subject to the spread of infectious disease or conditions 
  • Purchased goods or services that were not provided or not provided as advertised 
  • Purchased goods or services that were unacceptable; shoddy or failed to meet minimum standards 
  • Observed work areas that are unclean, instruments or supplies that are not properly disinfected or sterilized, or practitioners who have not followed proper disinfection/sterilization procedures 
  • Observed practitioners providing services without required state authorization (license, certification or registration) 
  • Observed or been subject to sexual harassment or other unprofessional conduct
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Financial Transactions/Refunds

Dollar sign  
With the exception of contractual rights granted to consumers of hearing aids, HLO does not have the statutory authority to mandate refunds to consumers of HLO-regulated professions for services or products provided.  Any financial or business transaction should be resolved with the business and/or professional.
 
You may also contact your local Better Business Bureau, Oregon Department of Justice's Financial Fraud/Consumer Protection Section, or the respective professional association if you believe you have been financially taken advantage of unlawfully.  Small claims court is one more option for financial recourse.
 
If you are unsure of your rights or where to turn for help, contact HLO for clarification.

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Responding to a Complaint

The length of time it takes to resolve a complaint depends on a number of factors: type and complexity of the issues involved, the agency’s investigatory workload, and if the complaint is considered "critical" status. Critical status complaints are those involving unlicensed activity or high-risk health situations. We attempt to respond to these complaints within a week or sooner.
 
The agency responds to approximately 350 consumer complaints annually. To view complaints the agency receives, visit the board meeting page of the specific profession of interest and click on the latest "Meeting Information and Materials" link. Then, scroll down to the Regulatory Operations Division report.

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How to File a Complaint

We recommend that consumers fill out a complaint form and submit it via mail, fax or in person. 
  
Find Regulatory Operations Division contacts in the HLO staff directory.  
  
Download a complaint form or obtain one in person at our Salem office. The form asks for specific information regarding your complaint. You need to specify whom the complaint is against, the address and phone number of the individual(s) involved and the type of complaint, such as: 
  • Competency of services performed 
  • Standards of practice violation 
  • Practicing/advertising without a license
You are not required to include your name and contact information on the complaint. However, we prefer to have the opportunity to contact you for more information to assist us in the investigation.​  ​
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The Complaint Process

After you submit your complaint form, HLO Regulatory Operations Division staff will review it to determine if the practitioner has violated any Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) or Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR). If a violation is suspected, HLO staff will conduct an investigation.

Investigations may include, but may not be limited to, obtaining documents, and interviewing those involved, including witnesses. Upon the conclusion of the investigation the volunteer citizen board representing the profession may review the specifics of the case.

Disciplinary action begins with a notice from the agency, which states the alleged violation(s) and penalties. This information becomes a public record.

Until a final order is issued, HLO staff will not disclose specific information related to any investigation.  If information related to a complaint is requested it must be made through a public records request.

Public records request form

Disciplinary actions may include civil penalties, which may include, but aren't limited to, fines up to a maximum of $5,000, and suspension or revocation of a practitioner’s authorization (license, certification or registration) to provide services.  HLO may also require additional education to assist the license holder with compliance issues, or any combination of the sanctions listed.
 
We ask you to be patient during the complaint investigation and resolution. Because of the agency’s complaint caseload, the thoroughness with which we conduct our investigations and the statutory, or legal, steps we must take, resolution of your complaint may take up to several months or longer. However, we make every effort to resolve complaints as quickly as possible.

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Questions & Answers

We hope that you have a positive experience with the professionals licensed and regulated by the Health Licensing Office. But if for any reason you feel you have not received the services or products as promised or advertised, you have rights as a consumer.
 
Following are general questions and answers to help you understand your consumer rights and to help guide you in protecting those rights.
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Competency of Services

Q: What exactly does "competency of services performed" mean?
 
A: All practitioners are required to meet minimum professional competencies (experience, abilities, skills or expertise). If they do not and their lack of minimum competencies negatively affects the outcome of the goods or services provided, you may have cause to complain. For example:
  • If a hair designer does not follow the proper steps in providing a color treatment or permanent wave 
  • If an athletic trainer does not exhibit proper knowledge and training to prevent, recognize and evaluate athletic injuries and to provide immediate care, as well as rehabilitation and reconditioning services 
  • If a respiratory therapist does not properly treat, manage, provide diagnostic testing, or control and care of patients with deficiencies and abnormalities associated with the cardiopulmonary system in accordance with the prescription of a licensed physician
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Standards of Practice

Q: What is a "standards of practice" violation?
 
A: "Standards of practice" are those practice standards set in state law that apply to each regulated profession and usually refer to safety and infection control requirements (i.e. the cleanliness of the facility, whether or not instruments are disinfected or sterilized). Practice standards address requirements as general and basic as hand-washing to the specific and technical, such as the type of prescription, or "legend" drugs direct entry midwives may administer.

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Nursing Home Resident Care

Nursing home  
Q:  I have a complaint about substandard care at a nursing home where my mother is a resident.  Do I file the complaint with the Health Licensing Office (HLO) or Nursing Home Administrators Board (NHAB)?
 
A: Complaints regarding resident care, staffing, food service, physical environment, etc. should be reported to your local Department of Human Services (DHS), Protective Services office or your local Area Agency on Aging. You may also report abuse to DHS at 1-800-232-3020.
 
If you are experiencing an emergency, please call your local emergency phone number. In most communities, you should dial 911.
 
If your complaint is against a nursing home administrator, contact HLO/NHAB​.

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Not Happy with Hearing Aid(s)

hearing aid  
Q: I just purchased a new set of hearing aids and I’m not happy with them. I would like to return them and want to know my rights as a consumer.
 
A: You have the right to rescind, or cancel, a hearing aid purchase if you:
  • Return the hearing aid within 30 days of purchase 
  • Provide written notice in person or by certified mail return receipt requested 
  • Return the hearing aid in good condition "less normal wear and tear"
Be sure to work with your hearing aid specialist first to determine if adjustments could be made to the aid(s) to provide you with satisfactory hearing results before you decide to return the aid(s). 
Your complete rescission rights are required to be on the purchase agreement that hearing aid specialists must give to you before you agree to purchase a hearing aid(s).
 
You are entitled to a refund of your purchase price, minus a maximum of 10 percent of the total purchase price, or $250 per hearing aid, whichever amount is less. The 10 percent / $250 maximum amount a hearing aid specialist may retain on returned hearing aids is allowed by law to protect consumers while also allowing the practitioner to recoup costs associated with the initial fitting of the hearing aid.
 
NOTE: The 10 percent / $250 maximum fee on returns is negotiable, so be sure to discuss with your practitioner the details-including costs-of the hearing aid(s) purchase before signing the purchase agreement.
 
As with any major purchase, be sure you understand all of the details before you sign on the "dotted line." The purchase agreement is legally binding, but any oral agreement you make is not. Taking notes sometimes help to clarify any issues or questions you may have as well as assist the agency if an investigation is necessary.
 
More information on hearing aid consumer rights and protections

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Dentures Do Not Fit

Denturist  
Q: My dentures are making my mouth sore. I have gone back to my denturist several times but my dentures still aren’t comfortable. What can I do?
 
A: You may need to make several return visits to your denturist for adjustments to achieve a proper fit. However, if you’re not experiencing any improvement over the span of several visits,  please contact our Regulatory Operations Division.

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Is My Midwife Licensed?

Midwife  
Q: My health insurance requires that if I use a midwife to delivery my baby, the midwife must be licensed. How do I find a licensed midwife and how do I determine the qualifications of the midwife?
 
A: You can quickly access our public license database of licensed direct entry midwives (LDMs) and other agency-regulated professionals by using our online License Inquiry feature on our Web site.
 
All LDMs must meet professional qualifications set in state law regarding training, education and experience. As with all HLO-regulated professions, you may contact the agency’s Regulatory Operations Division to request information regarding complaints or disciplinary actions taken against a particular practitioner.

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Teen-Age Tattoos Prohibited

Q: To my surprise, my 16-year-old daughter just came home with a tattoo. I didn’t give her permission. Are there regulations regarding the tattooing of minors?
 
A: In Oregon, tattooing is prohibited on anyone under the age of 18-regardless of parental or legal guardian consent. In other words, even if you had given your daughter permission, the tattoo artist who gave her the tattoo would be in violation of state law and subject to disciplinary action.

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Parents, Piercing & Permission

Q: To my surprise, my 16-year-old son just came home with a tongue piercing. I contacted the piercing parlor and was told an adult signed a consent form. What can I do?
 
A: In Oregon, a parent or legal guardian must present current government-issued photographic identification at the time of signing a consent form for the piercing of anyone under the age of 18. However, the facility is not required to verify the authenticity of the person signing the consent form.
 
We have no legal jurisdiction over fraudulent criminal activity. Please contact your local law enforcement agency if you believe someone has committed fraud by presenting themselves to be your child’s parent or legal guardian.
 
However, if the facility failed to obtain a signed consent form prior to the piercing of a minor, it is in violation of state law and subject to disciplinary action. Please file a complaint with the agency and we will conduct an investigation and take appropriate disciplinary action against the practitioner.

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