Complaint Unit

  • 401-222-5200

Food Complaints

    401-222-2750

After-Hours Emergency Number

  • 401-272-5952

Physician Complaint Process

  • The Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline receives complaints from a variety of sources, including patients, pharmacists, other physicians, malpractice insurers, licensed facilities, and law enforcement.
  • Being the subject of a complaint is uncomfortable, but the complaint process is an important element in the effort to maintain the public's trust.

  • Many physicians appropriately seek legal counsel.
  • The BMLD cannot recommend an attorney.
  • It is common for physicians to contact their malpractice insurance carrier or their employer's risk manager to find a qualified attorney.
  • All communications from the BMLD throughout the entire adjudication process will be sent to the physician, not the attorney. Physician submits response to RIDOH within 30 days.
  • The physician's response to RIDOH should include all appropriate medical records.
  • If additional time is needed, a one-time, 30-day extension may be granted upon request.
  • If medical records are maintained elsewhere (hospital, other facility), the BMLD can subpoena the patient's medical record(s). If the physician needs a copy of medical records, a copy can be subpoenaed by the BMLD or by the physician's attorney.

  • The IC conducts its review in closed session (not open to the public).
  • If the IC determines the physician needs to appear before the IC, the matter is tabled until the physician can appear. A request to appear before the IC is usually sent by letter, but it can be sent by a subpoena.

The Investigative Committee (IC) is a committee of the full BMLD. The IC can recommend one of the following:

  1. No Unprofessional Conduct (NUPC): no apparent violation
  2. NUPC with a non-disciplinary letter: no apparent violation with addition of letter from the BMLD
  3. Non-disciplinary letter with no decision: acknowledgment from BMLD, may offer advice to physician
  4. Administratively Close: may be revisited later when new information appears
  5. Unprofessional Conduct: there appears to be a violation of law; findings of fact and recommended sanctions are determined


  • If the full Board approves the IC's recommendation, any administrative action is completed and the case is closed.
  • If the full Board rejects the IC's recommendation(s), the case is sent to another IC for review.