Investigating a Report or a Complaint Filed with the Office of Health Facility Complaints
MDH protects the identity of the person making the complaint and the mistreated patient or resident. Serious questions of health or safety are investigated within two business days.
- We first do an initial investigation to discover if we are the right people to investigate and whether a site visit is required. Sometimes we refer complaints to partners at this stage.
- We let the person who filed the complaint know that we received it.
- If a site visit is needed, the investigator will go to the facility unannounced. He or she will do interviews and review charts and other records.
- Complaints may be resolved in days or weeks, with complex cases taking months.
- The investigator decides if the complaint is substantiated, unsubstantiated or inconclusive. Substantiated means that most or more than 50 percent of the weighted evidence showed a violation occurred.
- We share an investigation report with the person who filed the complaint.
- We put a public report summarizing the investigation on our website.
- OHFC also sometimes shares the outcome with partners such as law enforcement, the Board of Medical Examiners, the Board of Nursing, and the county attorney.
Remember: An MDH investigation of a complaint can have a positive impact even if a violation is not found. The complaint and findings become a part of a home's public record for several years regardless of the findings.
You will receive a report of the investigation. If you are not satisfied with the results, or have additional information which may help support the investigation, you can ask the Office of Health Facility Complaints for additional review.
Even if you don't know the exact rules or don't follow these steps, if you are concerned about a possible violation, you have the right to call the Office of Health Facility Complaints.