How to handle a consumer complaint about a veterinarian

Created by Tim Atkinson, Modified on Mon, 25 Jun 2018 at 09:55 AM by Tim Atkinson

Consumers frequently contact us to complain about their veterinarian.

We are often the first person they call, and one way they want to deal with their frustration (and sometimes grief) is to talk about it. So it is usually best to listen and let the person tell their story, even if it appears that there will be nothing we can do to help. It is fine to be a sympathetic listener, but make sure you don't say anything that can be taken as an indication that we think the veterinarian did anything wrong. 

You should be familiar with the NYSVMS procedure for handling complaints,

If it looks like it fits our procedure, direct them to complete an online complaint form. We can't do anything with an email - they must go through the form because that includes some questions relating to liability and other issues that must be covered before we proceed. They can get to the form by going to the website - and under the tab "Public" choose "Complaints".  

You can help them establish if the veterinarian concerned is a member or not. If they are not a member we cannot proceed.

Also - if they mention that they are taking legal action, or have complained to the State Office of Professional Discipline, we can also not proceed with their case.

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