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Healthcare Provider Issues

You have the right to be treated well by your healthcare providers and other health professionals, including the doctors, nurses, and other medical staff you may encounter. However, situations can arise sometimes, such as:

  • The doctor was rude and talked down to you during the exam when you tried to ask questions.
  • The nurse did not answer your question of how often you should take a medication, and referred you to the instructions on the bottle, instead of explaining them to you.
  • You repeatedly asked for a follow up call from the provider and your requests went unanswered or were not answered within a reasonable amount of time.


It’s good to know how to address these issues with the provider directly, when to ask someone else for help, and when to switch providers completely. Remember to take notes during visits to the doctor and all your follow-up conversations, phone calls, or written correspondence.

aloe plantTalk directly to your healthcare provider if:

  • You do not understand the provider’s questions or explanations during the office visit or exam.
  • Your concerns were not resolved during the office visit, exam, or the follow-up.
  • You still have questions that were not answered or addressed.

Talk to a nurse or other medical professional if:

  • You feel you were not treated well.
  • You don’t feel comfortable talking directly to your provider about your issue.

Switch to a new healthcare provider and consider contacting a facility administrator if:

  • You don’t feel your provider is competent.

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Addressing Issues with Your Provider

It may be uncomfortable to talk to your provider when you have an issue with them, but it is their job to make sure you can understand them and that they meet all your needs. The next time you see the provider,

  1. Explain the issue you are having, such as their accent is hard to understand, they use words that you don’t know, or they don’t speak loudly enough for you to hear.
  2. Tell them what they can do better, such as speaking slower or louder. 


If you don’t want to wait for another appointment to talk to your provider,

  1. Call your provider’s office and ask to speak with them on the phone.
  2. Explain your issue and ask that someone call you back.
  3. If you don’t get a call back, be persistent and call again.


If you prefer not to speak directly to the provider,

  1. Call the office manager or administrator where they work and tell them your concerns. Be specific and give specific examples of what happened during the appointment that you made you feel that you were not treated well.  You can ask them to not to tell anyone your name, if you prefer.
  2. You can also consider writing a letter to the office manager or administrator. Be specific and include your contact information, if you feel comfortable.
  3. If you have serious concerns about a provider, contact the administrator or CEO where your provider works and tell them about your issue. Be sure to tell your health insurance provider too by calling the Member Services phone number on the back of your health insurance card.
  4. If the issue(s) continue to be a problem, you can consider changing providers or bringing someone with you who can help you either understand what the provider is saying or assist you in getting answers to your questions.

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