A physician or other health care provider must file a report (a "5F report") with the Board of Registration in Medicine (the "Board") when he or she has a reasonable basis to believe that a physician is in violation of Massachusetts General Laws chapter 112, §5, or any of the Board's regulations. Such violations include substandard care, prescription violations, insurance fraud, sexual misconduct or other boundary violations, and practicing while impaired (although there are exceptions in some impairment cases). If your report is filed in good faith, state law protects you from being discriminated against by an employer for reporting.
Peer Report Instructions
There is no specific form, but the report must be in writing. The Board strongly encourages you to email the report to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also mail or fax the report to:
Data Repository Counsel
Board of Registration in Medicine
200 Harvard Mill Square, Suite 330
Wakefield, MA 01880
Please explain in as much detail as possible the incident or circumstances causing you to file the report. Anonymous reports may be accepted; however, without specific information, the Board may be unable to investigate the allegations.
Most statutory and regulatory reports, including 5F reports, are reviewed by the Data Repository Unit (the "DRU"). In some circumstances, a report may be referred directly to the Board's Enforcement Division for appropriate action.
The Board may ask the physician for a response to the allegations contained in the report. Your 5F report will be paraphrased and your name will be redacted in the Board's correspondence with the physician. The Board maintains the confidentiality of the reporter at this stage of the Board's review. Please be advised, however, that the identity of a reporter may not be withheld indefinitely, especially if the matter is referred to the Enforcement Division. Once the Board decides to bring charges against a physician, due process considerations allow him or her to know the identity of the reporter. In addition, in some cases that progress to a formal disciplinary proceeding, the Board may ask you to serve as a witness.
Often the DRU needs to obtain additional information, such as patient medical records, before making a final decision. Pursuant to Board regulations 243 CMR 1.02(8) (c) 5 and 243 CMR 1.03(14), Board records in connection with statutory reports are confidential, and therefore you may not be notified of a Board action taken on a report you file. Any such report that results in formal Board discipline, however, is a matter of public record and will be available on the Board's website. If the case is referred to the Enforcement Division, you may be contacted by a Special Investigator or by the Complaint Counsel assigned to the case.
If you have any questions about this process, or the status of your report, please call the Board's Data Repository Counsel at 781-876-8200.
Laws and Regulations
Please note that the statutory exception to the reporting requirement for impaired physicians applies only for physicians who are chemically dependent or impaired by alcohol. It does not extend to physicians impaired by physical or mental disorders.
In addition, you may wish to consult other laws and regulations, including the following: MGL c. 112 §§ 5, 5G(b); MGL c. 111 § 1; 243 CMR 1.03(5) and 243 CMR 2.07 (23).