So let’s say you have a problem with a facility. Perhaps you saw staff yelling at a nursing home resident. Maybe you are a nursing home resident and the staff are ignoring your requests for assistance. Perhaps you are a patient in a hospital and the staff are not doing your care right. Maybe it is your managed care insurance company who is not approving treatment you need. What do you do? You are sick, you aren’t feeling well, they (meaning the doctors and nurses) are smarter than you aren’t they? They should know what they are doing, right? So you accept it without question.. until now! You do have rights as a patient or resident of a facility. When those rights are violated, you have the right to make a complaint, to have someone look at it and see if the facility violated your rights and/or any regulations.

Every state has one or more agencies to which you can report issues and complaints for any type of facility. Since every state has its own agencies, the agency you contact in one state might not be the agency you contact in another. You can search on the Internet and you might find a phone number to call, or you might find many phone numbers to call, and none of them are the right one to help you. What can you do?

There are several resources on the Internet that can help you. They will have information to lead you to the right agency for your state.

  • One of these is The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA). The NCEA has a directory of all state and regional ombudsmen, state offices on aging, state licensure and certification agencies, state adult protection agencies, nursing home quality review boards, Medicaid agencies and Medicare Fraud Control Units nationwide.

  • Another source for making a complaint or reporting a hospital problem is This site, which is administered by a hospital administrator, walks you through steps you should take prior to contact any outside agencies. Many times a complaint can be handled “in house”.

  • You can also contact the Joint Commission to make a complaint against a hospital. There is a box & link towards the bottom right of the page that will lead you to the appropriate place for submitting a complaint.

Stand up, get help and watch out for yourself!


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