Checking Out Your Doctor or Dentist


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

Before scheduling an appointment with a new doctor, check their disciplinary record and make sure they are properly licensed.  You can obtain this information from the New York State Department of Education (for license information) or the Department of Health (for disciplinary information). 

Your Rights as a Patient 

1. Doctors must show you your medical records and X-rays at any time at your request without charge, and you may obtain a copy of your records for a reasonable fee.

2. Doctors may not reveal personal information about you without your consent except as required by law. Your individually identifiable health information has protection through federal law (“HIPAA”).  For more details, view the page about consumer health information privacy on the Department of Health and Human Services website here

3. Doctors must provide you with all the information you need to give informed consent to a procedure or treatment, including any potential risks and benefits.

A New York State list of patient rights in English can be found here. For Spanish, click here

To check if a doctor has a currently valid license, search the Department of Education database at: , or call (518) 474-3817.

To find out what disciplinary actions have been taken against a doctor, you may search the Department of Health, Office of Professional Medical Conduct database at : , or call (800) 663-6114.

Complaining about Your Doctor 

If you have a malpractice complaint against a doctor, you can obtain a complaint form here and view instructions about how to file the complaint with the New York State Department of health.

You may also write a letter to:

New York State Department of Health
Office of Professional Medical Conduct
Central Intake Unit
Riverview Center
150 Broadway, Suite 355
Albany, New York 12204-2719

Or call: (800) 663-6114 (complaints/inquiries) or (518) 402-0836 (main number).

You can visit the Office of Professional Medical Conduct website at to find out what practices qualify as misconduct.

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) 745-5800

Nassau County Medical Society, Inc.
(516) 832-2300

New York County Medical Society
(212) 684-4670

Medical Society of the County of Queens, Inc.
(718) 268-7300

Suffolk County Medical Society Inc.
(631) 851-1400

Medical Society of the County of Westchester, Inc.- Also serving Putnam County
(914) 967-9100

Checking Out Your Dentist

Dentists and dental hygienists must be licensed by the Department of Education in New York State and may only perform certain services. For a full list of services that dentists and dental hygienists may perform, visit Certain procedures might require a specialist, which your current dentist can recommend. 

To check if a dentist has a currently valid license, search the Department of Education database at , or call (518) 474-3817.

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 by searching the database at

To get a full copy of the actions taken against a dentist, send a written request including name, profession and license number to:

New York State Education Department
Office of the Professions
Division of Professional Licensing Services
State Education Building – 2nd Floor
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12234

Complaining about Your Dentist 

If you have a malpractice complaint against a dentist, or other medical specialist excluding physicians, fill out the complaint form found here, and send it to your nearest Office of Professional Discipline.  A list of Regional Offices can be found at .  You may also contact them by phone at (800) 442-8106, or by sending an email to

Consumers may also file complaints against professional medical businesses regarding marketplace issues (please note that this does not include claims of medical malpractice) with the Better Business Bureau at  For details about types of complaints accepted by BBB, click here.   

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