Filing a complaint with your licensing board

As a licensed physician, pharmacist, or nurse, it may one day become necessary to file a complaint with the Oregon Medical Board, the Oregon Board of Pharmacy, or the Oregon State Board of Nursing, reporting the conduct of another licensed professional. We all take this aspect of our professional responsibility seriously. In a close-call case, we may prefer not to file the Board complaint, and in a bad case, the ramifications of filing the Board complaint can make the act of doing so seem overwhelming.

What to do?

In a close-call case, no one wants to file a Board complaint that need not be filed, or is otherwise unnecessary, and some worry that an unfounded complaint will backfire, and no one wants that either. In a bad case, especially when the complaint turns you into a witness and you will become part of the ensuing investigation, the weight of reporting is heavy. In either case, you will be uncomfortable, left to wonder has best to proceed.

Consult an Oregon licensure lawyer

In a close-call case, your licensure lawyer can call the Board, whether it be the Oregon Board of Pharmacy, the Oregon Medical Board, or the Oregon State Board of Nursing, and discuss whether the report needs to be made in the first place and, if so, how best to present it. An experienced licensure lawyer will have existing relationships with investigators and others at each of the licensing Boards and will know whom best to call. In many cases, it will not be necessary to disclose your name to during initial discussion. If it turns out that the report needs to be made, the ground will have been prepared and the expectation that the complaint be filed is “shifted” somewhat to your licensing Board. If the Board complaint later turns our to be unfounded, this additional care taken while making the Board complaint will serve you well later.

In a tough case, your licensure lawyer can shoulder the burden of writing the Board complaint (an email will be fine), sending it to your licensing Board, and then following up the Board answering any follow-up questions the Board might otherwise direct to you.This approach will life some of the weight from your shoulders, and also ensure that the complaint is presented in an arms length fashion, which may be quite helpful in some circumstances. In one case earlier this year involving a pharmacy drug loss, my report to the Board of Pharmacy on behalf of the pharmacists, was just the beginning – the start of an investigation by the Oregon Board of Pharmacy. In cases these, where the complaint will trigger an investigation that will involve you, it is highly recommended that your licensure lawyer be involved from the start anyway, providing just one more reason to consult a licensure lawyer.