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Poor Care - Doctors

What to Do If You Have a Concern about the Quality of Care from a Maine Doctor

Advice and resources for dealing with quality concerns
For many of us, our doctor is one of the most important people in our lives.  We trust him or her to help keep us well or care for us when we're sick.  There are about 3,600 actively practicing doctors in Maine, and most provide high-quality care to their patients.  There are times, however, when people have concerns about the quality of care they or their loved ones receive from a doctor.  If this happens to you, this tip sheet can help.  It gives you:

Practical advice about what to do and who to talk with, including phone numbers and addresses
Links to resources that can help

This tip sheet explains steps you can take in your doctor's office to deal with your concerns about quality.  It tells you how to contact places that regulate or oversee doctors.  You can also consider filing a lawsuit, but that is not the focus of this tip sheet.

Is it worth it to pursue a concern about quality?
For many of us, it's not easy to act on a concern about the quality of physician care that we or loved ones receive.  It's even harder if we try to talk with a doctor or their staff about our concerns, but don't feel we're getting anywhere. The process can be stressful, frustrating, and take a long time.  And in the end, it's possible that others may not agree with the way we see the situation. 

Is it worth the time and energy to take action about the quality of a doctor?  Only you or your loved one can decide.  In making the decision, think about the continued harm that might take place if you do nothing.  And think about how the actions you take might lead to better care for future patients and their families.

What is quality of care?
Quality health care is doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right way, for the right person, and with the best possible results.  Generally, care delivered by doctors and other health professionals must meet a “standard of care.”  That standard is the expected level and type of care provided by the average competent health professional in a given situation. A standard of care is based on good scientific studies or agreement among experts. 

To find out more about what you can do if you think you've received poor quality care, this tip sheet can help.

This copy was prepared by Carol Cronin of the Informed Patient Institute through the generous support of the Maine Health Access Foundation

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