- Complaints are investigated for all facility types regulated by Healthcare Licensing and Surveys (HLS).
- Complaints are reviewed and prioritized; the timeframes and the processes for investigation are program specific.
- If the complaint falls under the jurisdiction of HLS, staff will investigate the complaint.
- Complaint investigations are comprised of interviewing residents, patients, family members, and staff–and reviewing facility records.
HLS encourages solving concerns or complaints at the facility level through communication between residents, family, staff, and an ombudsman. The primary duty of an ombudsman is protecting the rights of individuals by doing inquiries and resolving problems and grievances, providing information, and working with institutions, organizations, and agencies to increase their responsiveness to the people they serve. If concerns are not satisfactorily resolved, a complaint may be filed with HLS. Wyoming Ombudsman Contact Information
Filing a complaint:
Anyone with knowledge or concerns about a healthcare facility may file a complaint, and complainants may file the complaint anonymously. It is important that the complainant be able to provide as much specific information as possible about the situation, including who is involved, what happened, when it happened, how it happened, and where it happened.
Healthcare Licensing and Surveys (HLS) can investigate complaints relating to quality of life and quality of care at a facility, including residents’ rights, abuse, dietary concerns, staffing, and environmental concerns. HLS cannot investigate complaints related to billing or insurance concerns.
To protect patient/resident confidentiality, please do not e-mail the complaint form. Submit by:
• telephone (307) 777-7123 (ask to speak with a health surveyor);
• fax (307) 777-7127; or
• mail to: Healthcare Licensing and Surveys, Hathaway Building, Suite 510, 2300 Capital Avenue, Cheyenne WY 82002
Complaint Form – handwritten complaints
- Complaints are prioritized based on level of actual harm to resident health and safety. A complaint that alleges immediate jeopardy (a crisis situation in which individuals are in imminent danger or harm that may result in death or serious injury) will be investigated within two working days. A complaint that alleges a higher-level actual harm, such as abuse, neglect, assault, or inappropriate use of restraints, will be investigated within 2 to 10 working days. Most complaints will be investigated within 60 working days.
- When a complaint is received, staff review it, prioritize it, and initiate the investigation process by sending the complainant a letter confirming the receipt of the complaint. A complaint investigator may then call the complainant to ask further questions and clarify the situation.
- Most complaints are investigated onsite, and the complaint investigator will make an unannounced visit to the facility. To protect confidentiality, complaint investigators do not share the complainant’s name with the facility. However, in some cases, the facility may be able to detect the complainant’s identity because of the nature of the complaint.
- While onsite at the facility, the complaint investigator will review records, conduct interviews with staff and residents, and observe facility practices. An investigator may also make calls to others, such as family members, who may be involved in the complaint or situation.
- Following the on-site investigation, the investigator may substantiate the complaint allegations or find the allegations are unsubstantiated. The investigator may also cite the facility for deficient practice.
- The complaint investigator will notify the complainant of the investigation outcome, and will write a summary of the investigation.
- If Healthcare Licensing and Surveys (HLS) is able to find corroborating evidence that the complaint allegation occurred, the office may cite deficient practice, which shows that the facility violated state or federal laws. If the office cites deficient practice, the facility has to respond with a Plan of Correction to assure that problems are corrected.
- HLS may not be able to cite deficient practice if the facility has corrected the problem prior to the investigation, if the facility has been recently cited for the same/similar deficient practice during an annual survey or complaint investigation, if the deficient practice occurred a long time ago, or if there is no violation of state or federal regulations.
Home Health and Hospice Hotline:
If you have a question about, or a complaint regarding, a Wyoming Medicare/Medicaid certified home health agency or hospice facility, call the Home Health and Hospice Hotline: 1-800-548-1367. This number may also be used to lodge complaints about the implementation of advanced directives. The hotline service is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding state holidays.