What is a Formal Complaint?

A formal complaint pertains to chronic and routine non-compliance with ACGME Institutional, Program, and/or Recognition Requirements.

Sponsoring Institutions and their programs that are accredited by the ACGME are expected to comply with the ACGME’s applicable Institutional, Program, and/or Recognition Requirements. The ACGME and its Review Committees address only matters regarding non-compliance with ACGME accreditation requirements. Formal complaints should, therefore, allege violations of ACGME requirements. Complaints may affect the accreditation and/or Recognition status(es) of the Sponsoring Institution and/or program.

Through its formal complaint process, the ACGME will investigate potential non-compliance with accreditation and/or Recognition requirements that relate to program quality. The ACGME does not adjudicate disputes between individual persons and Sponsoring Institutions or residency or fellowship programs regarding matters of admission, appointment, contract, credit, discrimination, promotion, or dismissal of faculty members, residents, or fellows.

Please see the FAQs about reporting an issue here.

How to Submit a Formal Complaint

Before submitting a complaint, the complainant should use all the resources available in the Sponsoring Institution and program, unless there is a valid reason for not doing so.

Anyone who has evidence of non-compliance with accreditation or recognition requirements by a Sponsoring Institution or program can submit a complaint to the ACGME Office of Complaints. Such complaints must be submitted in writing and bear the name and address of the complainant(s). Allegations of non-compliance that occurred prior to the current and preceding residency/fellowship year should not be submitted.

Complaints are submitted through an online form. Before submitting a complaint:

  • The complainant(s) should review the ACGME Institutional Requirements and the Program Requirements for the applicable specialty or subspecialty on the ACGME website to ensure the allegations to be reported are within the scope of the ACGME’s accreditation oversight.
  • The complainant(s) should determine whether they wish to share their identity with the Sponsoring Institution, program, and relevant ACGME Review Committee(s) or if they wish to keep their identity confidential. Note, that there are some issues that are so specific to an individual that the ACGME must have consent to use the complainant’s name to move forward with the complaint.
  • As complainants will be asked to outline attempts to resolve the alleged non-compliance with accreditation requirements and to complete a narrative portion outlining the allegations of non-compliance with detailed examples, the ACGME recommends that the complainant(s) draft these portions outside of the electronic form and pay close attention to the noted word limits.

To submit a formal complaint, complete this form.

The complaint submission process involves several steps. Step one is identifying the program or Sponsoring Institution for which a complainant is alleging non-compliance by using the search functions provided. Once the complainant has identified this information, they will move to the second step.

Formal complaints must be submitted using the form linked above. The ACGME does not accept complaints submitted via phone, email, mail, or fax. The Office of Complaints will answer process-related questions via email at complaints@acgme.org.