The Board’s mission is to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of Oregon citizens by regulating the practice of medicine. The Board investigates violations of state law (the Medical Practice Act) by the professionals it licenses. The Board licenses:
Medical Doctors (MD)
Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DO)
Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPM)
Physician Assistants (PA)
Your complaint will be assigned to an investigator to gather information. The Board’s Investigative Committee will review that information. This Committee can ask for more investigation or send the completed investigation to the Board. The Board will decide whether to discipline the medical professional.
Your complaint is important, and the Board will fully investigate it. However, violations of the Medical Practice Act are sometimes difficult to prove, even after investigation. While less than 10% of complaints result in discipline, other complaints result in Letters of Concern from the Board to the licensee. This confidential letter stays in the licensee’s permanent file and may help with future investigations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will the Board investigate all of my concerns?
The Board only investigates concerns that involve a violation of the Medical Practice Act. Some examples are gross negligence, repeated acts of negligence and sexual misconduct with a patient. Usually, the Board will not investigate questions about your bill or concerns about office staff conduct or the medical provider’s attitude because they often are not violations of state law.
Will the person I complained about know my identity?
Your name is confidential, and the Board does its best to protect your identity. In some cases, the person under investigation may think they know who made the complaint because of the circumstances, but the Board will not release that information.
Will the investigator need more information from me?
Probably not, but if the investigator needs more information from you, he or she will usually try to contact you by phone first. If you have more information that you want to share, you may call or send it in writing. If your phone or address changes, please tell the investigator.
What kind of information will the investigator gather?
The investigator gathers information like medical records and witness statements. The Board may also interview the person under investigation and other health care providers.
How long will the investigation take?
The time varies greatly. Some investigations close in a few months while others may take over a year. Investigations that are complex, have many patients or witnesses, and require interviews or outside medical opinions take longer. The Board tries to complete investigations quickly while still collecting all of the facts. You may contact the investigator for an update on the status.
Can I get a copy of the investigation or use the information gathered in a malpractice lawsuit?
No. By law, investigations are confidential, and the Board cannot share the information. Also, the information cannot be used in a malpractice lawsuit.
What are the possible outcomes?
Investigations close different ways depending on what violations are found. Some outcomes include:
- Closed with no formal action ‒ This means there was not enough evidence of a violation.
- Closed with no formal action and a Letter of Concern ‒ This means there was not enough evidence of a violation, but the Board is concerned about some part of the care or conduct and sent a confidential letter about those concerns.
- Corrective Action Agreement ‒ This is an agreement between the Board and the medical provider. The provider agrees to take certain actions or steps such as educational classes.
- Stipulated Order ‒ This is a disciplinary action by the Board. The provider must follow certain terms or conditions and may include suspensions, fines, reprimands and educational classes.
- Hearing with disciplinary action ‒ The disciplinary action may include license suspension or revocation, fines, reprimands and education.
How will I find out the outcome of the investigation?
During the investigation, you will get occasional updates on the status. At the end, the Board will send a letter to you to tell you how the case closed. If there are any public documents like a Corrective Action Agreement or a Stipulated Order, that will be sent to you. If you have any questions during the investigation or after it closes, please contact the investigator.