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Metropolitan New York, Long Island, and the Mid-Hudson Region
Checking Out Your Doctor or Dentist

Before visiting a doctor it is important to do some research first. Ask friends and family for recommendations or your current physician. Also, some area hospitals offer referral services. In addition, insurance companies, health maintenance organizations, and managed care plans usually have a panel of physicians from which to select.

After obtaining the names of possible doctors, check to make sure that they are properly licensed and have clear records. You can find out this information from two New York state agencies, the Department of Education and the Department of Health. Doctors are licensed by the Department of Education, but any disciplinary action that must be taken against them is taken by the Department of Health.

Your Rights as a Patient

1. Doctors must show you your medical records and X-rays at any time at your request.

2. Doctors may not reveal personal information about you without your consent except as required by law.

3. Doctors may not order you to receive excessive tests or treatments.

To check if a doctor has a currently valid license, you can check with the Department of Education in the following ways:

  • Write to:
    New York State Education Department
    Office of the Professions
    Education Building – 2nd Floor
    Albany NY 12234
  • Call 518-474-3817 or 212-417-4000 (General Information)
  • Search the database on the World Wide Web at www.nysed.gov/prof/profhome.htm


You must have the full name of the doctor in order to search for the license.

To find out what disciplinary actions have been taken against a doctor, you may contact the Department of Health, Office of Professional Medical Conduct. They can be reached in the following ways:

  • Write to:
    New York State Department of Health
    Office of Professional Medical Conduct
    433 River Street, Suite 303
    Troy, New York 12180-2299
  • Call 800-663-6114
  • Search the database on the World Wide Web at www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/opmc/main.htm


Complaining about Your Doctor

If you have a malpractice complaint against a doctor, write a letter to the New York State Department of Health, Office of Professional Medical Conduct, 433 River Street, Suite 303, Troy, New York 12180-2299, or call 800-663-6114 or 518-402-0836. You may also visit the Department of Health website at www.health.state.ny.us to find out what practices qualify as misconduct (this does not include psychologists, or medical specialists such as optometrists and podiatrists).

For more information on doctors you may contact your local County Medical Society in the following areas:

Bronx Medical Society, Inc.
(718) 548-4401

Medical Society of the County of Kings, Inc.
(718) 596-4406


Nassau County Medical Society, Inc.
(516) 832-2301

New York County Medical Society
(212) 684-4741

Putnam County Medical Society
(914) 241-2526

Medical Society of the County of Queens, Inc.
(718) 268-6918

Suffolk County Medical Society Inc.
(631) 851-1212

Medical Society of the County of Westchester, Inc.
(914) 967-9232
 

Checking Out Your Dentist

Before visiting a dentist it is important to do some research first. Ask friends and family for recommendations or your current dentist. Also, insurance companies, health maintenance organizations, and managed care plans usually have a panel of dentists from which to select.

After obtaining the names of a few dentists, you should make sure that they have the proper licenses and a clear record. You can find out this information from the New York State Department of Education, the agency that licenses and disciplines dentists.

Dentists and dental hygienists must be licensed by the Board of Regents in New York State. They may only perform the following services:

  • Apply cavity-preventing agents to your teeth
  • Counsel you on the importance of good nutrition
  • Review your health history, take your blood pressure, and maintain your dental chart
  • Remove tartar from your teeth and gums


For other oral procedures such as root canals and disease treatment, you must see a specialist, which your current dentist can recommend.

To check if a dentist has a currently valid license, you can check with the Department of Education in the following ways:

  • Write to:
    New York State Education Department
    Office of the Professions
    Education Building – 2nd Floor
    Albany NY 12234
  • Call 518-474-3817 ext. 330 or 212-417-4000 (General Information)
  • Search the database on the World Wide Web at www.nysed.gov/prof/profhome.htm


You must have the full name of the dentist in order to search for the license.

You can also find out if a dentist has had any kind of legal action taken against him or her by the Department of Education. To get a full copy of the actions taken against a dentist, you must send a written request that includes the name, profession and license number of the person to the New York State Education Department, Division of Professional Licensing Services, Room 3045, Cultural Education Center, Albany NY 12234. You will be billed $.25 per page for the legal records.

Complaining about your dentist

If you have a malpractice complaint against a dentist, psychologist, or other medical specialist (optometrist, podiatrist, etc.), write a letter to the Office of Professional Discipline, 475 Park Avenue South, Second Floor, New York, NY 10016-6901, or call 800-442-8106.