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Consumer Guide: Problems with Nursing Homes, Residential Care Facilities, Behavioral Health Programs, Mental Health Treatment Providers, or Substance Use Treatment Providers

The Division of Quality Assurance (DQA) is in charge of protecting the health, safety, and welfare of people who use health and residential care services in Wisconsin. You have the right to file a complaint with DQA. File a complaint if you think a caregiver or provider that DQA regulates has broken the law.

This page has what you need to know to report a nursing home, residential care facility, behavioral health programs, mental health treatment provider, or substance use treatment provider. Expand each section to learn more.

There are several ways to file a complaint against a provider regulated by DQA. You may use one of these methods or you may use an option specific to a provider type:

You can file a complaint about any issue or concern related to quality of care or quality of life. This can include:

  • Abuse
  • Caregiver misconduct
  • Discharges
  • Lack of staffing
  • Mistreatment
  • Neglect
  • Poor care
  • Transfers
  • Unsafe conditions

It's your choice. You can file a complaint anonymously. If you want to know in writing that DQA received your complaint and the outcome, you must tell them:

  • Your name
  • Address
  • Phone number

DQA does not give these details to the provider or facility. The law can require DQA to release this information if there's a public records request for the complaint.

To file a complaint with DQA, use one of these methods:

  • Call 800-642-6552 (toll-free). If you leave a voicemail, someone will call you back the next workday.
  • Report Abuse, Neglect, or Misappropriation. Submit a public report or use the Misconduct Incident Reporting system.

You can also file a complaint based on the type of provider:

  • Assisted living - Contact the right DQA Regional Office. See the list of Bureau of Assisted Living Regional Offices. Includes issues related to:
    • A 3-4 bed adult family home.
    • A community-based residential facility.
    • A residential care apartment complex.
  • Corporate guardianship - See the Corporate Guardianships: Contacts and Complaints web page.
  • Home health and hospice - Complete one of these forms. They also include instructions on how to file your complaint.
  • Long-term care - Contact the right DQA Regional Office. See the list of Bureau of Nursing Home Resident Care Regional Offices. Includes issues related to:
    • Nursing homes.
    • Facilities serving people with developmental disabilities.
    • Intermediate care facilities for people with intellectual disabilities.
  • Behavioral health programs, mental health, and substance abuse treatment - Call DQA at 608-266-8481.
    • Emergency mental health services (crisis programs)
    • Comprehensive community services
    • Community support programs
    • Intoxicated driver programs
    • Mental health and substance use clinics
    • Mental health and substance use inpatient programs
    • Residential substance use treatment programs
    • Adult or youth stabilization facilities
  • Other non-long-term care - Call DQA at 608-266-8481. You can also send a complaint in writing to:

    DQA/Bureau of Health Services
    Complaint Coordinator
    PO Box 2969
    Madison, WI 53701-2969

    Includes issues related to:

    • Adult day care centers.
    • Ambulatory surgical centers.
    • End state renal dialysis.
    • Hospitals.
    • Outpatient rehabilitation agencies.
    • Pain clinics.
    • Personal care agencies.
    • Rural health clinics.

DQA helps with complaints against caregivers and health and residential care providers who they regulate. To file a complaint without using DQA, you can either:

  • Contact the provider. They may be able to resolve the complaint with a quick action.
  • Submit a complaint to the Client Rights Office.
  • Use the Ombudsman Program. An Ombudsman responds to issues and complaints from people who:
    • Get care in community-based living facilities.
    • Get care in nursing homes.
    • Get services from managed care organizations.

Related topics

Last revised May 23, 2024