Search Site
Menu

Has Eliminating Anonymous Complaints Taken the Air Out of Whistleblowers?

In September 2011, Texas enacted a law prohibiting anonymous complaints to the Texas Medical Board (TMB). Whether the new law has dissuaded people from filing complaints about medical professionals requires further examination.

In 2011, the last year anonymous complaints were allowed, 8,182 complaints were filed with the TMB. In 2012, the first year after anonymous complaints were prohibited, 7,550 complaints were filed. In 2011, the TMB took disciplinary actions against 534 physicians. In 2012, only 327 disciplinary actions were entered.

Texas Medical Board Complaints

The legislative changes eliminating anonymous complaints to the TMB became fully effective in December 2011. Although complaints are anonymous, the identity of complainants will be revealed to the TMB only. If the complainant is an insurer or pharmaceutical company, its details will be given to the physician about whom the complaint is filed.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that in 2010, only four percent of the 6,849 complaints to the TMB were anonymous.

Advantages and disadvantages of anonymous complaints

Some speculate that requiring complainants to attach their names to complaints to the TMB will dissuade people from whistleblowing. One patient, who recently filed a complaint, said that people might fear facing repercussions such as criminal actions faced by the Winkler County nurses.

In 2009, two nurses filed an anonymous complaint against a doctor at Winkler County Memorial Hospital. The doctor contacted the local sheriff, who happened to be a friend. Although all charges against the nurses were dismissed, the damage was already done.

On the other hand, lawmakers and other activists applaud the new law and discount any concerns about people being dissuaded from filing complaints. The attorney for the Texas Nurses Association called the law a decent compromise because most anonymous complaints are never truly anonymous when the complaint’s fact pattern is reviewed. Both of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s and Internal Revenue Service’s whistleblower programs allow anonymous complaints.

If you have witnessed negligent treatment provided by a physician and want to report it to the TMB, it is recommended that you consult with a Texas whistleblower lawyer who may help advise you of your rights.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Honors
Our Office
  • Dallas Office
    4514 Cole Ave
    #600
    Dallas, Texas 75205
    Phone: 214-306-8045
    Fax: 469-729-9926
Testimonials
  • "Steve Kardell was terrific in representing me in some very adversarial discussions with Citigroup and also later represented me in my testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission."  -Richard Bowen, Citigroup Whistleblower

  • "Incredible knowledge of employee related concerns and equally brilliant knowledge of health care regulations, standards of practice. I would recommend this firm to anyone."  -V.B.

  • "Reaching out to Steve Kardell was the best decision I made. His ability to provide immediate insight and direction was very powerful, and a huge relief during a very stressful time period. For anyone struggling with a whistleblower situation, I would highly recommend at least speaking with Steve. After a 10 minute call with him, I had a better understanding of what I was dealing with. Even better, he gave me some immediate hope. In the end Steve did a better job than I thought was possible. Steve was able to get in contact with people in my organization, that I didn’t have access to. Because of his years of experience, he already has contacts in many organizations in Dallas. The entire situation was handled peacefully. I was impressed by his ability to “keep the peace”–rather than creating a battle with the organization. The reason I didn’t reach out to a lawyer initially, was because I thought it would mean an immediate end to any hope of a positive relationship with the company. Steve was able to address my concerns, and in the end I was able to continue to work for them."  -KS

  • "Never thought my career would end like it did after 30 years of service. I was part of the first round of the so called reduction of force. I asked myself how can I be part of this with 30 years of seniority. How did they pick these 90 plus employees? Now, the culture of this organization made you question every decision they made. It wasn’t what you knew it’s was a culture of who you know. Nonetheless, I did not accept their severance package. I immediately starting looking for an attorney who would take on my case. After the initial call to Steve I had hope again. He was open and honest about everything and reassured me he would do his best for me, and he did. I had an awesome outcome. Thanks Steve you’re the best."  -S.S.

FOLLOW US
Facebook Twitter Linkedin RSS Feed JD Supra