Complaints or Grievances Filed with the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration Are Not Substitutes for a Civil Lawsuit.
In most instances, the State of Florida will not obtain monetary compensation for medical bills or pain and suffering.
The State of Florida may impose a fine or education requirements to the medical provider as penalties for violations or poor care. If the State begins an investigation, creates a penalty or comes to a decision, they are subject to appeal by the medical provider. Any findings, opinions, or decisions by the State of Florida are not controlling in a civil case. As such, even if the State determines that a medical provider violated the law or provided bad care, this does not mean you will win a civil case. Medical malpractice lawsuits are complex and subject to different rules, regulations, and evidentiary requirements.How Do I File a Complaint?
You may print the Complaint Form with the Authorization for Release of Patient Records form from the list below or call 1-888 419-3456 or (850) 245-4339 to request one by mail. To avoid delays in processing, please complete all sections of the form and attach the requested information.
If the Department determines that your complaint is a possible violation of Florida Law, it will be investigated. A Department investigator may contact you for additional information. Following legal review, the Department will refer the complaint to the appropriate panel or regulatory board to determine if a violation of Florida Law has occurred.Will My Complaint be Confidential?
Florida Statutes require that the health care practitioner be provided a copy of your complaint. The complaint remains confidential until ten days after the probable cause panel of the Board has determined that a violation has occurred. Patient identity and patient records remain confidential at all times.What Happens to the Health Care Practitioner as a Result of my Complaint?
After a Board hearing, if the practitioner is found to have violated the law, the regulatory board may impose one or more of the following penalties: reprimand, fine, restriction of practice, refund of fees billed and collected from the patient or a third party on behalf of the patient, remedial education, administrative cost, probation, license suspension or license revocation.What Issues Are NOT Within the Authority of the Department?
You will be notified in writing of the status of your complaint throughout the process. Please advise us of any address changes. Important questions to ask your health care provider and information you should know:
If your complaint was not accepted for investigation by the Department of Health or it was referred to another agency or department for possible action, please see the Note of Explanation.Know What is Covered by Your Insurance or Health Plan.
It is your responsibility to know which procedures, prescriptions, treatments, etc. your insurance or health plan will pay. Be sure to verify that your health care practitioner is a provider for your insurance plan.Can I Obtain a Copy of my Patient Records From my Health Care Practitioner?
Yes. Section 456.057, Florida Statutes, allows a patient, or his legal representative to obtain, in a timely manner, a copy of all reports and records relating to an examination or treatment by a health care practitioner.Can I Be Charged for Copies of My Records?
Yes. Section 456.057, Florida Statutes, allows a health care practitioner to charge no more than the actual cost of copying, which may include reasonable staff time or an amount designated by rules provided by the regulatory board.Can I File My Complaint Anonymously?
Yes. Section 456.073, Florida Statutes, allows the Department to investigate an anonymous complaint if the complaint is in writing and is a possible violation of the law. The statute further requires that the Department investigate anonymous complaints if the alleged violation of law and/or rule is substantial and the Department has reason to believe, after a preliminary inquiry, that the alleged violation in the complaint is true. It is important for persons filing anonymous complaints to provide detailed information and documentation.Where Can I Call to Obtain Licensure and Discipline Information About My Health Care Practitioner?
Licensure information on health care practitioners licensed by the Department of Health can be obtained from the Department by visiting the Department’s web site at www.doh.state.fl.us or by calling (850) 488-0595. Discipline information on health care practitioners can be obtained from the Department by calling 1-888-419-3456.Will a Pending Criminal or Civil Action Prevent Me From Filing a Complaint?
No.Is There a Time Limit in Filing a Complaint?
Effective July 1, 2001, complaints with incidents occurring on or after July 1, 2001 must be filed within 6 years of the occurrence of the incident. In cases where it can be shown that fraud, concealment or intentional misrepresentation of facts prevented the discovery of the alleged violation, the time limit is extended to 12 years of the occurrence of the incident. These time limits do not apply to complaints involving criminal actions, diversion of controlled substances, sexual misconduct, or impairment by a licensee. Additionally, patient records may be destroyed according to time limits (generally after 5 years) provided by Florida Administrative Code.