If I am a consumer, how do I file a complaint about a hospital?

The Division of Health Care Facility Licensure and Certification is a regulatory agency required to identify and address Federal or State regulatory violations. In order for us to help you in the most effective and timely way please read the following guidelines before submitting your complaint.

  • We investigate complaints about ongoing or recent problems only.  If the matter about which you are complaining occurred more than 12 months ago we are generally unable to investigate your case. 
  • It is outside our authority to act as healthcare advocates for individuals or their families or to resolve general healthcare complaints where we do not have regulatory jurisdiction. (See the resource list below for alternative sources of support.)
  • Before filing a complaint with us, we urge you to first register your complaint with the facility’s management team or Patient Advocate. Any member of the management team will be able to provide you with information about the facility’s complaint procedure.  Their contact details should be readily available from the facility’s administrative staff.
  • If your complaint is about a person, facility or issue which is outside our jurisdiction, the complaint should be made direct to the correct agency:
  • If you are not the person receiving care, their legal surrogate or have their permission to receive their personal medical information, you will need to complete a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) form  pdf format of HIPAA form
rtf format of                             HIPAA form                . It will streamline the process if you print and complete a copy of this form, obtain necessary signatures and submit it with your written complaint. If you do not have legal authority to receive patient information, you will not receive a copy of the entire report, but you will receive a synopsis with a conclusion.
  • We ask that you put your complaint in writing unless it is impossible for you to do so.  This is to ensure that the formal complaint most closely reflects your own concerns and is in your own words.  Complaint forms are available on this site to ensure that you provide us with all the information needed to complete our investigation.
  • All cases are reviewed and prioritized. The highest priority is given to cases where there is a potential or immediate threat of harm to a patient or patients.

If you are a Patient, Consumer or their representative please send the complaint form (along with any necessary HIPAA legal forms) to:

Division of Health Care Facility Licensure and Certification
Complaint Intake Unit
99 Chauncy Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02111

or by fax to 617 753 8165

If you are not able to provide a written complaint, you may call our 24 hour consumer complaint line: 
800 462 5540 or 617 753 8150

If you are a facility and wish to report an incident please contact:
617 753 8165 (fax reports)

Please note if you are supplying follow up fax information to a report already made it should be sent to 617 753 8095 and marked for the attention of the person handling the complaint.