Complaint Statistics

The College maintains a five-year history of complaints statistics as well as providing a detailed explanation of the previous year’s numbers.

 Full Report

 At-a-Glance

2016 Complaint Satistics

Click on tabs to alternate between number of complaints, days to close and complaint natures:

Totals 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
No. of complaints received 831  746  677 766 714
No. of physicians complained about  702  623  591 647 615
Complaints open at year end  406  311  248 225 416
Complaint Process Used 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
Hearings  643  995  111 553 467
Investigation/Resolution  335  344  307 436 518
Investigation/Dismiss  180  150  179 267 405
Resolve with Consent  119  130  94 116 135
Direct Resolution  28  30  35 45 75
Outright Dismissal  11  18  14 16 20

Definitions of processes

An investigation is a formal process used for complaints that are serious in nature and/or have complicating factors such as when the complainant has no authority to receive medical information about the patient. These complaints often involve more than one physician, require additional information from others involved and/or the collection of medical records. If the investigation finds no evidence of unprofessional conduct, the complaint is dismissed. When the Complaints Director dismisses a complaint, the complainant can request a review of that decision.
An informal resolution process best suited for single-issue complaints usually related to practice management or explanation of a medical decision. With this process, the College encourages the physician to work directly with the complainant to resolve the matter. Open and honest discussion between both parties helps them to understand the issues, and often a simple explanation or apology can close the file. More importantly, both the physician and the complainant learn from this process improving future interactions.
An informal resolution process used when the complaint seems straight forward, but one in which the physician needs to provide further explanation to the complainant and the College about the care provided, and, when necessary, make a change to his/her practice. Consent from both the physician and the complainant is required to proceed with this approach; the College then works directly with the physician to address the complaint. The underlying issue in many of these complaints is poor communication, often around patient consent or follow up care rather than lack of knowledge or skill. Resolve with Consent enables the College to respond more quickly to the complaint and allows the physician to implement practice changes sooner.
If a complaint lacks sufficient information to identify unprofessional conduct or is frivolous or vexatious in nature, the HPA allows the College’s Complaints Director to review the complaint and then dismiss it with no further action. When the Complaints Director dismisses a complaint, the complainant can request a review of that decision.
An investigation is a formal process used for complaints that are serious in nature and/or have complicating factors such as when the complainant has no authority to receive medical information about the patient. These complaints often involve more than one physician, require additional information from others involved and/or the collection of medical records. If the investigation identifies one or more problems, the College engages the physician and complainant in a collaborative resolution process that allows for a comprehensive, effective and timely intervention. These files are resolved through a written agreement and may include things like peer review, assessment and educational activities.
Disciplinary hearings occur when informal methods of resolution are unsuccessful, or when a complaint investigation reveals a serious breach of a practice standard or ethical conduct by a physician.
* Note one complaint file may have multiple natures

Nature 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
Practice Management 277 246 226 239 248
Medical Reporting 116 115 135 107 112
Third Party 18 18 16 24 17
Ethics 134 91 75 94 82
Quality of Care 461 421 348 435 425
Systemic 10 14 8 18 4
Unclassified 74 64 60 43 34
Total 1,090 969 868 960 922

 

Practice Management – Physician availability, office management including finance and communication

Medical Reporting – Release of records, report completion and accuracy

Third Party – Independent Medical Examination, (WCB, and Non-WCB, all others)

Ethics – Confidentiality, informed consent, advertising/self promotion, research related, and boundary violations (including sexual, financial and others)

Quality of Care – Diagnosis (incorrect or delayed), Treatment (prescribing, procedural and counseling, referral/consultations, follow-up)

Systemic – Access to human resources and technology, continuity of care and interdisciplinary issues

Unclassified – All others

Contact

Complaints Line: 1-800-661-4689 (in Canada)
complaints@cpsa.ab.ca*

*Email cannot be used to file a complaint. Please see File a Complaint.