The Indiana State Medical Association (ISMA) is a private, nonprofit membership association for physicians. It is not a state or government agency. We also do not have any relationship with hospitals or other types of facilities, nurses, physician assistants, chiropractors, psychologists, optometrists, dentists, podiatrists or any other persons who are not doctors of medicine or osteopathy.
If you are trying to find more information about physicians, consider the following sources:
- Indiana State Medical Association Physician Directory (ISMA membership, location, specialty)
- Indiana Medical Licensing Board License Verification Search (license status and history)
- Indiana Department of Insurance Patient’s Compensation Fund Database (malpractice claims history)
Filing a Complaint
If you wish to file a complaint against a physician, your options depend on who the physician is, the nature of the complaint and what you are seeking as relief. Read the following bullets below for further explanation.
- Direct Communication. As a first step, ISMA always recommends that you contact the physician and express your concern to the physician directly, either in person, by telephone or by written mail. Sometimes the issue has simply been a misunderstanding and can be quickly resolved.
- License Sanction. If you want someone to take action against the physician’s license to practice medicine, only the Indiana Medical Licensing Board has such authority. Complaints must start with the Office of the Indiana Attorney General Consumer Protection Division.
- Money Recovery (Malpractice Injury). If you wish to recover money for injuries you believe you suffered as a result of medical malpractice, you may only recover through a medical malpractice lawsuit in the courts. You should contact an attorney for advice.
- Money Reimbursement/Repayment. If you wish to be reimbursed money that you paid the physician for services and which you believe you deserve to be repaid, only the physician or physician’s office or a court of law have such authority.
- ISMA Non-Members. If the physician is not a member of ISMA (see the ISMA Member Directory), ISMA has no relationship with that physician. The Office of the Indiana Attorney General has jurisdiction over all Indiana licensed professionals.
- ISMA Members. If the physician is a member of ISMA and you are not seeking money or action against the physician’s license, contact ISMA’s Legal Department to discuss the issue further. However, if the physician is located in one of the following counties, contact the county medical society to ask about the possibility of filing a complaint:
- Marion County ( Indianapolis) – (317) 639-3406
- Lake and Porter counties – (219) 769-3551
- St. Joseph County – (574) 288-4401
- Vanderburgh County – (812) 475-9001
- Allen County ( Fort Wayne) – (260) 420-1011
- Monroe and Owen counties – (812) 332-4033
Requesting Correction of Medical Records
If you think the information in your medical or billing record is incorrect, under the Federal HIPAA law, you can request that the health care provider or health plan amend the record. The health care provider or health plan must respond to your request. If it created the information, it must amend the information if it is inaccurate or incomplete. If the provider or plan does not agree to your request, you have the right to submit a statement of disagreement, which the provider or plan must add to your record.
For further information, you may refer to 45 C.F.R. 164.508, 45 C.F.R. 164.524 and 45 C.F.R. 164.526.
Locating Medical Records
Note that Indiana law only requires health care providers to maintain patient health records for 7 years from the last date of service. After that, they may be destroyed. If your records are older than seven years, there is an increasing likelihood that they are no longer available.
If your physician is retired, has closed his or her practice or relocated, and you are trying to locate your medical records, follow these steps:
- Review any written notice you may have received from the physician indicating how you could obtain your records, and follow the instructions provided. If you did not receive such notice, contract the local newspaper to determine if the notice was published. If so, obtain a copy.
- Attempt to call the office.
- If possible, attempt to visit the office and check the office door for a posting of notice.
- Submit a written request to the physician at the office mailing address. Even though the office may be closed, the physician may still be receiving mail there. Your request must include particular information, as set forth in IC 16-39-1-4. Requests for medical records must be in writing in order to be valid. Therefore, this step must be followed.
If the above attempts are unsuccessful, consider the following options:
- Telephone Book. Search for contact information for the physician in the community where he or she practiced.
- Relevant specialty society (e.g., Indiana Academy of Family Physicians).
- Hospital where doctor had privileges. The medical staff office may have information.
- Physician's employer, if it was a large group or hospital system. It may have taken possession of the records.
- Court dockets. If the physician has had legal activity, an attorney may be representing the physician.
- Local Civil Matter (local county)
- Probate Matter/Death (local county)
- Bankruptcy (Indiana Federal District Court, Northern District or Southern District )
- Medical Licensing Board of Indiana (MLB)
- Medical Licensing Board of another state. If you know the physician has relocated out of state, contact that state's medical licensing board for the physician's contact information. If you are unsure whether the physician has relocated, determine where the physician's National Provider Identifier (NPI Number) is registered, at https://nppes.cms.hhs.gov/NPPES/NPIRegistryHome.do.
- Internet Search. Use a standard search engine (e.g., Google) to search the physician's full name for helpful information (e.g., location, employer, etc.).
- If the doctor is a member of ISMA (check ISMA Physician Directory), contact the local county medical society or ISMA. If the physician is not a member of ISMA, and all other efforts have failed, call the Indiana Office of Attorney General Consumer Protection Division at (317) 232-6330 or (800) 382-5516 about filing a consumer complaint.