The Division of Quality Assurance (DQA) is responsible for assuring the health, safety, and welfare of persons using health and community care provider services in Wisconsin. If any individual believes that a caregiver or DQA regulated health or residential care provider has violated state or federal laws pertaining to regulated entities, that individual has the right to file a complaint with DQA.
What types of complaints can I submit to DQA?
Any issues and concerns involving quality of care or quality of life, including, but not limited to abuse, neglect, lack of staffing, unsafe conditions, poor care, mistreatment, transfers, discharges, and caregiver misconduct.
Is the identity of the complainant disclosed?
The identity of the person filing the complaint is not disclosed to the provider by DQA. The complainant may provide a name, address, and phone number when filing a complaint. This information is required if the person would like to receive written notification of receipt of the complaint and notification of the outcome of the complaint investigation. Complaints may be filed anonymously. Note: If you provide any personal identifying information (PII), the law will likely require our agency to release this information in the event of a public records request for the complaint.
How do I file a complaint?
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:
- File a complaint online by completing the Complaint Intake Survey, F-00607.
- Call the toll-free number to file a complaint by dialing 800-642-6552. Leave a voicemail message and your call will be returned by the next working day.
You may also refer to the Filing a Complaint Resource Sheet, P-00082 (PDF)
Additional complaint filing options specific to a provider type
Assisted Living Facilities: adult day care, adult family homes (group homes), community-based residential facilities, residential care apartment complexes
- To contact the appropriate DQA Regional Office directly, please refer to the Bureau of Assisted Living regional office map.
Other Non-Long-Term Care Providers: ambulatory surgical centers, end stage renal dialysis, hospitals, outpatient rehabilitation agencies, pain clinics, personal care agencies, rural health clinics
- Contact DQA at 608-266-8481.
- To submit a written complaint, mail to:
DQA/Bureau of Health Services
819 N 6th St., Room 609-B
Milwaukee, WI 53203
Long Term Care Facilities: nursing homes, facilities serving people with developmental disabilities/intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities
- To contact the appropriate DQA Regional Office directly, please refer to the Bureau of Nursing Home Resident Care regional office map.
Home Health and Hospice Agencies
- Refer to Home Health Care Hotline Information
- To file a complaint via mail:
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Programs
- Contact DQA at 608-266-8481.
What is a caregiver misconduct complaint?
A caregiver misconduct complaint involves a specific incident between a caregiver and a resident or patient. Such incidents include, but are not limited to:
- abuse (hitting, slapping, verbal, mental, sexual)
- neglect (intentionally withholding care, failure to carry out a plan of care, disregard of policy)
- misappropriation (theft of money, identity, credit cards or jewelry, misuse of property, such as using a client's phone without consent)
A caregiver misconduct complaint may involve any of the following types of staff:
- non-credentialed caregivers (nurse aides, home health aides, personal care workers, etc.)
- credentialed staff (nurses, physicians, dentists, counselors, etc.)
How do I file a caregiver misconduct complaint?
You may use any of the following options to file a caregiver misconduct complaint:
- Contact the DQA Caregiver Intake Unit by dialing 608-261-8319.
- File a complaint online by emailing DQA at DHSCaregiverIntake@dhs.wisconsin.gov.
- Call the toll-free number to file a complaint by dialing 800-642-6552.
What happens after a complaint is filed?
All complaints are reviewed and triaged. Complaint investigations occur based on the the nature, scope, and severity of the complaint allegations.
Caregiver misconduct complaints are screened to determine whether further investigation is warranted. Investigation screening decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.
Alternatives to filing a complaint with DQA
- Contact the health care provider if the complaint can be resolved by some immediate action by the provider.
- Contact the Ombudsman Program. An ombudsman responds to complaints and problems of residents or recipients of long-term care, such as care in nursing homes and community-based residential facilities, and services provided by managed care organizations. To contact an ombudsman call 800-815-0015.
- The following resources are available on the Department of Health Services website:
- For health information and privacy complaints, refer to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights: How to File A Health Information Privacy Complaint (HIPAA).
- The Ombudsman Program provides advocacy services to persons age 60 and older who are consumers of Wisconsin long-term care programs.