Patient & Nursing Home Safety Tips

Patient Safety Activist Training Kit (PDF)

    • Texas Watch has created an activist training kit that contains information about the patient safety issues and how you can get involved. Click on the link above to download this kit in PDF form.

To make a formal complaint about a

Doctor: Texas Medical Board

The Texas Medical Board is the state agency that regulates doctors. The Complaint Information page on their website contains information on the Board’s complaint and disciplinary processes and how to file a complaint. You can file a complaint online or by mail (the complaint form is available in several formats on the website). You can also call their Complaint Hotline at to request that a form be mailed to you.

Complaint Hotline: 1-800-201-9353
Complaint Information
Online Complaint Form

Nurse:  Texas Board of Nursing

The Texas Board of Nursing is the state agency that regulates nurses. You can find their complaint form online, or you can request a complaint form by calling their Enforcement line or the Health Professions Council Complaint Line.

Enforcement Line: (512) 305-6838
Health Professions Council Complaint Line: 1-800-821-3205
How to File a Complaint

Hospital or Health Facility: Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS)

The Texas Dept. of State Health Services is the state agency that regulates hospitals and other specified health facilities. Their Complaints page has information on how to file complaints against different types of facilities and DSHS procedures for handling complaints. See their How to Submit a Complaint page as well for more information. They also have a Patient Safety section on their website that includes several recent reports on the annual occurrence of medical errors in the state and other helpful links.

Complaint Hotline: 1-888-973-0022
Complaints page
How to Submit a Complaint
Patient Safety

Long-Term Care Facility: Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS)

The Department of Aging and Disability Services is the agency that regulates nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. You can call DADS’s Consumer Rights and Services department or check out their “How do I make a complaint?” page for more information on how to report a complaint to the agency.

Consumer Rights and Services Dept Phone: 1-800-458-9858
Consumer Rights and Services Dept Website
How Do I Make a Complaint?

The Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman

DADS also runs this program called that advocates for quality of life and care for residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. You can view their Addressing Problems page for tips on how to solve problems with long-term care facilities. Call their office to find and contact your local managing ombudsman.

Phone: 1-800-252-2412
Addressing Problems

If your procedure was covered by

Medicare

You can file a quality of care complaint with TMF Health Quality Institute, the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization in Texas. The File a Complaint page on their website has details on what may constitute a quality of care issue and how to submit a complaint.  You can also call their Beneficiary Complaint helpline.

Beneficiary Complaint helpline:1-800-725-8315
TMF webpage
File a Complaint page

Medicaid

You can call their client hotline to discuss your complaint with them.

Client Hotline: 1-800-252-8263.

Medication Safety

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

The FDA has a safety information and adverse event reporting program called “MedWatch” for FDA-approved prescriptions and other medical products. You can report a problem online.

Report adverse effects by phone: 1-800-332-1088
MedWatch website
Report a problem online

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP)

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices is a non-profit organization dedicated to medication safety and has been certified as a Patient Safety Organization (PSO) by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. ISMP also runs ConsumerMedSafety.org, where you can find information on drug alerts and other medication safety issues, and file a complaint about a medication safety error or concern online.

Consumer Med Safety website
File a complaint online

Patient Safety Organizations

The Joint Commission

The Joint Commission is a national health care accreditation organization that accredits hospitals and other facilities that request evaluation and meet certain quality and safety standards.  According to their website, around 88% of hospitals nationwide are currently accredited by the Commission.  To make a complaint about an accredited hospital, visit their Report a Complaint page or contact the Office of Quality Monitoring.  To find out if a facility is accredited in the first place, you can use their Quality Check search engine.

Office of Quality Monitoring phone: 1-800-994-6610
Report a Complaint page
Quality Check search engine

The Empowered Patient Coalition

The Empowered Patient Coalition is a nonprofit advocacy group that is dedicated to helping the public improve the quality and the safety of their healthcare. They have patient safety resources on the website along with an online survey for reporting medical errors.

Report a Medical Event

Safe Patient Project – Consumer’s Union

Consumers Union is the independent nonprofit publisher of Consumers Reports. They have a Safe Patient Project that allows you to get involved by sharing your story. They have an office in Austin that can be reached by email.

Consumer’s Union website
Safe Patient Project website
Safe Patient Project’s Austin office email address: safepatient@consumersunion.org

Disability Rights Texas

Disability Rights Texas is the federally designated legal protection and advocacy agency (P&A) for people with disabilities in Texas. Their mission is to help people with disabilities understand and exercise their rights under the law, ensuring their full and equal participation in society. They have a number of offices around the state. See their website for locations and contact information.

Main In-take Line: 1-800-252-9108

National Alliance on Mental Illness of Texas (NAMI Texas)

NAMI Texas is a nonprofit that supports and advocates for people with mental illnesses. The organization has 44 affiliates around the state and offers a number of education and support services.

Nursing Home Comparison Tools

Nursing Home Compare

This is a website created by Medicare that allows customers to find and compare every Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the US. There are multiple search criteria available, and the nursing homes are rated on a five-star scale using multiple sources of data. The website also contains other information about choosing and living in a nursing home.

Long Term Care Quality Reporting System

This tool on the DADS website allows you to find specific information about a particular long term care provider (including nursing homes, adult day cares, assisted living facilities, and home health care agencies) or to compare providers in a particular area. For each provider, you can find descriptions, overall ratings, and specific violation information.

Nursing Home Advocacy Organizations

The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

Consumer Voice is a national non-profit that provides information, advocacy and policy analysis of long-term care issues.

Washington DC Phone: (202) 332-2275

Texas Advocates for Nursing Home Residents (TANHR)

TANHR is a non-profit that advocates for improved quality and care in Texas nursing homes.

Toll Free Number: (888) 826-4748
Dallas-Area Number: or (972) 572-6330.

AARP Texas

AARP is another organization that works on long-term care issues that has a state office in Austin.

Austin Office Phone: 866-227-7443

The Silver-Haired Legislature

The Silver-Haired Legislature “provides senior citizens an opportunity to become directly involved in the legislative process.” They are “a forum for older citizens…to debate issues and establish priorities based on the result of these discussions.”  They also work on nursing home problems.

Attorney Referrals

State Bar Referral Service

The State Bar Association has a lawyer referral number that can help you locate a lawyer in your area who deals with your type of case. You can reach them Monday-Friday 8:30am – 4:30pm. Make sure to tell them the county where you need a lawyer.

Referral Service:1-800-252-9690

Research & Reports
Research & Reports

The Texas Watch Foundation, a non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization, conducts research and public education activities on consumer law, consumer protection and civil justice issues. Read More »

Court Watch
Court Watch

Court Watch, a program of the Foundation, documents the role and impact of the Texas civil court system on Texas families and Texas public policy. Read More »