Reporting Abuse, Neglect and Fraud Against Healthcare Providers
Before you report neglect or abuse to a governmental agency, you should call our office to find out the best way to proceed. In some situations, reporting abuse or neglect to certain agencies will not only result in no action being taken, but a shoddy investigation could result in the facility being exonerated. In addition, the manner in which you report information, including the facts being communicated to the investigator, can have a significant impact on the outcome of the investigation.
A. Reporting Abuse or Neglect of a demented or incapacitated adult
In Virginia, Abuse or Neglect of an incapacitated adult is a crime under Va. Code 18.2-369. Under this code provision, abuse means (i) knowing and willful conduct that causes physical injury or pain or (ii) knowing and willful use of physical restraint, including confinement, as punishment, for convenience or as a substitute for treatment, except where such conduct or physical restraint, including confinement, is a part of care or treatment and is in furtherance of the health and safety of the incapacitated person.
While criminal conduct can be reported to your local police department, most police are not going to get involved unless there is clear-cut physical abuse or intentional conduct. In most situations the abuse or neglect of an elder can be reported to Virginia to Adult protective services or by calling 888-823-3858.
B. Reporting or Filing a Complaint Against a Nursing Home or Rehab Facility
In Virginia – Virginia’s Department of Health Office of Licensing and Certification (OLC) investigates consumer complaints regarding the health care services received at nursing homes and inpatient rehab facilities in hospitals.
If the concerns relate to the provision of health care services, an investigation is conducted and complainants receive notice of the results of that investigation. If the concerns are not found to be a violation of applicable law or regulation, complainants are informed of available options. Please note that OLC’s oversight authority does not extend to provider fees, charges or billing practices.
Consumers are encouraged to address their concerns directly with the medical care entity whenever possible, as most want to be informed if there is dissatisfaction with the care delivered. Do not hesitate, however, to contact the OLC with complaints that may seriously jeopardize patient health and safety. The earlier an incident is reported, the better opportunity of a thorough investigation of your concerns.
Statement Regarding Confidentiality
Whenever the OLC conducts inspections and investigations in response to complaints received from the public, the identity of the complainant and the identity of any patient who is the subject of the complaint, or identified therein, shall be treated as confidential and shall not be open to inspection by members of the public. Identities of the complainant and patient who is subject of the complaint shall be revealed only if a court order so requires. Nothing contained herein shall prevent the OLC, at its discretion, from disclosing to the facility or service provider the nature of the complaint or the identity of the patient who is the subject of the complaint. Nothing contained herein shall prevent the OLC or its employees from making reports under §63.2-1603 et. seq. of the Code of Virginia. (Ref. §32.1-127.1:03 of the Code of Virginia).
To report a nursing home for the neglect of a patient, contact the Department of Health.
The Virginia Department of Health investigates neglect and regulatory violations involving nursing homes. You can file a complaint online here.
To File a Written Complaint:
- Select from the 2 types of complaint forms:
Nursing Facility Complaint Form | Other Licensed Entity Complaint Form
- Complete the form in its entirety; be as thorough as possible.
- Attach any available copies of documents related to your concerns.
- Forward the written form and applicable documents as follows:
Through US Mail:
Office of Licensure and Certification
Virginia Department of Health
9960 Maryland Drive, Suite 401
Henrico, VA 23233-1463
By EMAIL: OLC-Complaints@vdh.virginia.gov
C. Reporting Neglect or Filing a Complaint against Assisted Living Facility
For Assisted living facilities, report neglect or abuse to the Department of Social Services.
You can also contact the division of enforcement directly at 800-533-1560 or 804-367-4691. If the neglect involves an assisted living facility the complaint must be filed with the Department of Social Services. You should lodge your complaint in the local office of DSS here (or here) or call the hotline at 888-832-3858.
Department of Social Services
801 E. Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219
D. Filing a Complaint with the Virginia Attorney General
The Office of the Attorney General provides legal services to the Commonwealth’s agencies, boards, commissions, colleges and universities. They are the Commonwealth’s law firm, defending the interests of Virginians and Virginia government and also work with law enforcement throughout the Commonwealth to prepare for emerging public safety threats and to promote successful, secure communities. They also handle consumer transactions and will get involved with healthcare facilities who attempt to defraud patients.
- Handle Consumer Complaints
- Veteran Assistance
To reach them contact, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Office Phone: (804) 786-2071; or
Office of the Attorney General of the Commonwealth
202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, VA 23219
E. Contacting the Ombudsman
Ombudsman are people who can act as advocates or go-betweens in addressing complaints or concerns in our long-term care system. They can bring attention to health concerns in nursing homes in a constructive way and can elevate serious complaints to the local Department of Health.
VIRGINIA – Virginia Office of State Long-Term Care Ombudsman
Phone: 1 (800) 552-3402; (804) 565-1600; Fax: (804) 662-7663
In the Virginia Counties DC region (Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William) here.
F. File a Complaint Against a Doctor
The Department of Health Professions receives complaints about Virginia healthcare practitioners who may have violated a regulation or law. Complaints for all the licensing and regulatory Boards are received and investigated by the agency’s Enforcement Division. You can visit the Licensing Boards page for information about the 13 individual licensing and regulatory Boards under this agency’s authority. Additionally, you can find out which health care practitioners and facilities are regulated by this agency, or get a detailed explanation of the Disciplinary Process for Licensed Healthcare Professionals in Virginia. It is important that you in your complaint you get the full name of the health care professional.
If you have a complaint about a violation of the Governor’s Public Health Emergency Orders or Executive Orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact the Virginia Department of Health at 877-275-8343 click here.
Other methods of registering a complaint are:
Call 1-800-533-1560 or (804) 367-4691
Or through US Mail at:
Virginia Department of Health Professions
9960 Maryland Drive, Suite 300
Henrico, VA 23233-1463
If you have questions about reporting issues or if you or a loved one has been neglected or abused, call the Law Office of Jeffrey J. Downey for a free consultation.