Continuing Education & Resources for Mental Health Professionals

Informing Patients How to Report Provider Misconduct

Virginia Statute Requiring Certain Action
If a Patient Describes Misconduct By A Provider


  • §54.1-2400.4. Mental health service providers duty to inform; immunity; civil penalty.
  1. Any mental health service provider, as defined in §54.1-2400.1, shall, upon learning of evidence that indicates a reasonable probability that another mental health provider is or may be guilty of a violation of standards of conduct as defined in statute or regulation, advise his patient of his right to report such misconduct to the Department of Health Professions, hereinafter referred to as the “Department.”
  2. The mental health service provider shall provide relevant information to the patient, including, but not limited to, the Department’s toll-free complaint hotline number for consumer complaints and written information, published by the Department of Health Professions, explaining how to file a report. The mental health service provider shall document in the patient’s record the alleged misconduct, the category of licensure or certification, and approximate dates of treatment, if known, of the mental health service provider who will be the subject of the report, and the action taken by the mental health service provider to inform the patient of his right to file a complaint with the Department of Health Professions.
  3. Any mental health service provider informing a patient of his right to file a complaint against a regulated person and providing the information required by this section shall be immune from any civil liability or criminal prosecution resulting therefrom unless such person acted in bad faith or with malicious intent.
  4. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any person required to inform a patient of his right to file a complaint against a regulated person pursuant to this section who fails to do so shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $100.

 (2000, c. 578.)   [emphasis added]


Note that this statute requires mental health professionals to:

(a) Inform patients about how to report alleged provider misconduct

(b) Document the patient’s allegations

(c) Document that the patient was given information about how to report

This is now required not only by the above statute, but also by two Virginia licensing boards.

Below is a sample patient handout prividing the


(Mental health service providers duty to
inform patients how to file a complaint about another provider)

 How to file a Complaint:

Complaints may be submitted to the Enforcement Division of the Health Regulatory Boards in writing, by telephone, fax, email, in person, or anonymously.

Virginia Department of Health Professions
Perimeter Center
9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 300
Henrico, VA 23233-1463

Telephone: 1-800-533-1560 or (804) 367-4691
Fax: (804) 527-4424

To Obtain Official Complaint Form:

Department Website “How to File a Complaint:

Download Official Complaint Form from that page in fillable word version or pdf version

# Provide your name, address, and telephone number (unless anonymous)

# Identify the practitioner you are reporting.

# Provide a detailed summary of your concerns.

# Attach copies (not originals) of documents relating to your concerns, if applicable.

# Return the completed Complaint Form to the Enforcement Division.

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