Filing a Complaint
Download a Complaint Form
Most complaints which arise are not due to medical malpractice, but rather due to poor communication between the veterinarian and the client. Before submitting a complaint, please try to work out the situation with the veterinarian in question. The Board cannot provide legal or veterinary medical advice. The Board has no jurisdiction over the amount of charges for services. Complaints about fees should be directed to your local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau. However, charging for services which were not rendered, charging for services that were not documented in the patient's records, or charging for services that were not consented to by the owner of the patient or the owner's agent is under the jurisdiction of the Board.
Complaints need to be written, signed, and contain at a minimum the following information:
- name of the licensed veterinarians or unlicensed individuals the complaint is being filed against
- description of actions prompting the complaint and the time of occurrence
- name and address of the individual filing the complaint
- telephone number is optional, but helpful
- signature is required
The Board encourages you to contact the Board's Executive Director prior to filing a formal complaint.
What Happens Next?
Once a complaint has been submitted, rights to due process, including adequate notice and an opportunity to be heard, are assured by law. Board office staff review each complaint submitted for determination of the Board's authority to act, the adequacy of information, the need for consultants, and the form and extent of investigation. Submitters of complaints which are clearly not within the jurisdiction of the Board are notified, and the Board takes no further action. All other complaints are forwarded to the Board's Liaison Officer for review.
After reviewing the complaint, and perhaps discussing the case with the parties involved, the Liaison Officer may deem the complaint to not have merit. In cases such as these, the submitter and licensee will be notified in writing. If the case is deemed to have merit, the Liaison Officer may resolve the complaint her/himself with the parties involved, or send the complaint on to the Board's investigator for further review. The investigator then provides finding of facts to the Liaison Officer, who determines if the Board should pursue further action. Further action may include resolution by stipulation or a formal administrative hearing. The Board itself may hear the case, or a hearing officer presides over the case and reports to the Board with a transcript and a recommendation, which may or may not be accepted. After complete review of the transcript and exhibits, the Board makes its finding.
Because of intricacies of investigation and formalities involved, final resolution of complaints can take several months to more than a year. Decisions of the Board can be appealed to district courts, and to the Idaho Supreme Court. Medical records, staff reports, and investigative materials are confidential and unavailable to any source for review during the investigation. Formal actions are public records.