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Complaints Regarding California Health Care

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) often receives health-related complaints from the public. Some of the complaints regard agencies other than CDPH. The information on this page will assist you in directing your questions or complaints to the appropriate California agencies.

Dentists and Dental Care Complaints

Complaints about dentists and dental care.

Food, Drug, or Medical Device Complaints

The CDPH, Food & Drug Branch (FDB) is responsible for ensuring that these products are safe and not adulterated, misbranded, or falsely advertised and that drugs and medical devices are safe and effective for their intended use. FDB evaluates each complaint to determine the seriousness of the problem. Action taken by FDB can range from referral to responsible firm for corrective action to immediate investigation to protect the public health.

Health Insurance Plan Complaints

The California Department of Managed Health Care is the only stand-alone HMO watchdog agency in the nation. It was formed by the legislature in 2000 to unify regulatory and consumer protection functions for HMO patients in California. Californians are fortunate to have the strongest patients' rights laws in the nation. The DMHC is here to make sure these laws are followed and that all health plan members get the right care at the right time. Find out how in this section.

Problems and Complaints about Health Plans or Health Insurance

Provider Complaint Unit: The prompt and fair payment of health care providers is crucial to California's health care delivery system.

Hospital and Nursing Home Complaints

Health care facilities in California are licensed, regulated, inspected, and/or certified by a number of public and private agencies at the state and federal levels, including the CDPH Licensing and Certification Program (L&C).  L&C is responsible for ensuring health care facilities comply with state laws and regulations. L&C also oversees the certification of nurse assistants, home health aides, and hemodialysis technicians, and the licensing of nursing home administrators.

Complaints Against Health Facilities or Providers

Laboratory Complaints: Clinical 

Laboratory Field Services (LFS) at CDPH is the primary link between the health of California citizens and quality-oriented, accurate, and reliable clinical laboratory testing. LFS provides oversight for clinical and public health laboratory testing and for the licensed scientists and certified cytotechnologists and phlebotomists who work in clinical laboratories.

Here is information on how to file a complaint, how a complaint is handled, and how to contact us: Laboratory Field Services Complaints.

Nurse Complaints

The Board of Registered Nursing regulates the practice of registered nurses and certified advanced practice nurses in order to protect the public health, safety, and welfare. The Board exists to protect patients by ensuring that registered nurses are competent and safe to practice. The Nursing Practice Act located in the California Business and Professions Code is the body of the law that authorizes the Board to accomplish this.

Complaints to the Board of Registered Nurses

Osteopathic Physician and Surgeon Complaints

The Osteopathic Medical Board of California licenses osteopathic physicians and surgeons. The board investigates consumer complaints and uses its enforcement power to ensure practitioners abide by the provisions of the state Business and Professions Code/Medical Practice Act.

Complaints to the Osteopathic Medical Board of California

Pharmacy Complaints

The Board of Pharmacy protects and promotes the health and safety of Californians by pursuing the highest quality of pharmacist’s care and the appropriate use of pharmaceuticals through education, communication, licensing, legislation, regulation, and enforcement. One of the ways this is accomplished is by the board’s careful review, evaluation, and resolution of all complaints submitted by consumers regarding licensees.

Complaints to the Board of Pharmacy

Physician Complaints

The Medical Board mission is to protect health care consumers through the proper licensing and regulation of physicians and surgeons and certain allied health care professions and vigorous, objective enforcement of the Medical Practice Act, and to promote access to quality medical care through the Board's licensing and regulatory functions.

Complaints to the Medical Board: The Medical Board is responsible for investigating complaints and disciplining physicians and other allied health professionals who violate the law.  If a doctor or other Board licensee appears to have violated the laws that apply to the practice of medicine, Board staff will investigate and charges may be filed.

X-Ray Complaints

The Radiologic Health Branch (RHB) is within the Food, Drug, and Radiation Safety Division of the Department of Public Health. The Branch enforces the laws and regulations designed to protect the public, radiation workers, and the environment. RHB is responsible for providing public health functions associated with administering a radiation control program. This includes licensing of radioactive materials, registration of X-ray-producing machines, certification of medical and industrial X-ray and radioactive material users, inspection of facilities using radiation, investigation of radiation incidents, and surveillance of radioactive contamination in the environment. Contact RHB to submit X-ray complaints or inquire about radiation issues.

Last modified on: 2/25/2015 4:18 PM