Hospital Complaint Process

Fletcher Allen encourages patients and families to voice their concerns, complaints, suggestions for improvement or compliments to any staff at any time. Upon admission, each patient receives a copy of a patient handbook, which includes contact information for the Office of Patient and Family Advocacy as well as information about patient rights, how to file a complaint and explains the complaint resolution process (see below). A copy of Fletcher Allen’s “Patient Bill of Rights" can be found throughout the organization, posted on the walls of patient clinics and in public areas and is also found on our web site. This posting contains the contact information for the Office of Patient and Family Advocacy, as well as a description of the patient’s rights and responsibilities, and addresses matters of confidentiality, ethics, access to medical records, interpreter services, billing and other issues, as well.

What is the Office of Patient and Family Advocacy?

The Office of Patient and Family Advocacy is staffed by nurse advocates who serve as a resource to all Fletcher Allen customers and staff. The advocates work to support the best possible patient experience in the following ways:

• Serving as a liaison between patients, their families and the health care team to address quality of care concerns and provide service recovery.

• Providing a formal avenue for grievance resolution.

• Providing an organizational resource for maintaining complaint data and actions taken as required for licensure and regulatory compliance.

• Assisting Health Service Leaders in identifying patterns, trends and opportunities for patient care improvement.

• Collaborating with Ethics, Risk Management, Safety, Compliance and other leaders to ensure patient and family concerns have been resolved and that system-related issues are forwarded to the James M. Jeffords Institute for Quality and Operational Effectiveness for further action.

• Providing concierge services and way-finding by connecting patients and families with the right resources.

The Complaint Process

Patients and their representatives have the right to express concerns about the quality of care or service received at Fletcher Allen Health Care. This is called presenting a complaint. We encourage the resolution of concerns by speaking directly with a staff member in the department or unit where the problem has occurred.  However, if an issue cannot be resolved by speaking with a staff member or if a patient feels uncomfortable discussing the issue within the department or unit where the issue occurred, we invite them to contact the Office of Patient and Family Advocacy or to submit their complaint using the Sharing A Concern form.

A patient advocate can be reached in the following ways:

  • By phone: 802-847-3500 or fax: 802-847-0384
  • By email: patientandfamilyadvocacy@vtmednet.org
  • Or in writing:
      Office of Patient and Family Advocacy
      Fletcher Allen Health Care
      111 Colchester Avenue
      Burlington VT 05401

A patient advocate will acknowledge the receipt of the complaint within two business days.

What happens next?

Upon receipt, a patient advocate will make every effort to resolve the concerns at that time. If the complaint requires further review, that will be explained and an advocate will provide a response within 7 business days. A written letter of response will be sent to the patient within 30 business days. The letter will include the name of the patient advocate who coordinated the review, the steps taken to address the concerns, the results of the process and date of completion.

In addition to filing a complaint with Fletcher Allen, patients also have the right to file a complaint with the state agency responsible for hospital oversight (see below).  

Patients or their representatives may file a complaint by contacting

The Division of Licensing and Protection:

Phone: Toll-free: 800-564-1612 or fax: 1-802-241-4092
Email: http://www.dlp.vermont.gov/protection/report
Mail: Division of Licensing and Protection 103 South Main Street, Ladd Hall, Waterbury VT 05671-2306

or

Vermont Board of Health:

Phone: Toll-free: 800-464-4343 Fax: 802-865-7754
Email: submit at http://healthvermont.gov/contact/contact.aspx
Mail: Vermont Department of Health
108 Cherry St., P.O. Box 70, Burlington VT 05402-0070 

Recording and Tracking Complaints

The Office of Patient and Family Advocacy maintains comprehensive records of all complaints and interventions/actions taken to resolve those complaints. The Office has the ability to track patterns or trends that may emerge, and to identify specific areas in need of improvement. Patient concern reports are generated by the department and presented to the Quality Council and annually to the State for licensure requirement and as needed to specific units by location.

Other channels for resolution of concerns and complaints:

  • The Division of Health Care Administration, Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration, 89 Main St. Drawer 20, Montpelier, VT 05620-3101. Phone: 802-828-3301 or 1-800-631-7788 (Concerns about health care services you have received)
  • The Vermont Health Care Ombudsman, P.O. Box 1367, Burlington, VT 05401, (800) 917-7787 or the Vermont Board of Health, c/o Department of Aging and Disabilities, 103 South Main St., Waterbury, VT 05671-2301 (Concerns about health insurance)
  • The Vermont Department of Health and State Board of Health, 108 Cherry Street, Burlington, VT 05401, Voice: (802) 863-7200.
  • The Vermont Secretary of State, Office of Professional Regulation, 26 Terrace Street, Montpelier, VT 05609-1101, (802) 828-2363 (Concerns about the quality of care provided by licensed professionals)
  • The Vermont Board of Medical Practice, Vermont Department of Health, P.O. Box 70, Burlington, VT 05402-0070, Telephone: (800) 745-7371 (Concerns about physicians)
  • The Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living - Division of Licensing Protection, 103 South Main Street, Ladd Hall, Waterbury, VT 05611-2306, Telephone- (802) 241-2345; Toll-free (in Vermont): (800) 564-1612 (To make a complaint against a facility or agency that provides health care services or to report abuse, neglect or exploitation of a vulnerable adult)
  • Northeast Health Care Quality Foundation, 15 Old Rollinsford Road – Suite 302, Dover, NH, 03820 (603) 749-1641 (Concerns about the quality of care provided to Medicare consumers)
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Avenue S.W., Washington, D.C. 20201. 1-800-Medicare (1-800-633-4227) (Concerns about the quality of care provided to Medicare consumers)
  • The Joint Commission, One Renaissance Blvd., Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181. 1-800-994-6610 (Concerns about the quality or safety of care)