Frequently asked questions - consumers

How do I look up information on a doctor?

Can you refer me to a doctor?

How do I file a complaint against a doctor?

Can a doctor charge me for a copy of my medical records?

Can a doctor withhold copies of medical records?

How long must a doctor retain medical records?

How can I locate my records from a doctor who has moved, retired or died?

Can a doctor refuse to accept me as a patient?

Can a doctor terminate me as a patient?


How do I look up information on a doctor?

Use our web site to look up a licensee. We provide the following information:

  • name
  • license number
  • original issue date
  • expiration date
  • year of birth
  • specialty (provided by licensee; not verified)
  • medical school and dates attended
  • whether there are any disciplinary actions against the license (includes restrictions, probation, etc.)
  • Alabama Controlled Substances Certificate (controlled substances prescribing authority)
  • collaborative practices with nurse practitioners or registration agreements with P.A.s

The following information is not available:

  • patient complaints (confidential by state law)
  • malpractice case information in possession of the Board (confidential by state law)
  • whether a physician accepts Medicare/Medicaid or a particular type of insurance
  • whether a physician is board certified (see www.abms.org for this information)


Can you refer me to a doctor?

  • we cannot make physician referrals
  • you may contact local hospital physician referral lines or contact your heath insurance carrier

How do I file a complaint against a doctor?

See our complaints page for complete information, instructions and forms


Can a doctor charge me for a copy of my medical records?

Yes, although there is a limit to what can be charged:

  • $1 a page for the first 25 pages
  • $.50 for each page in excess of 25
  • actual cost of mailing
  • actual cost of x-rays or other special records

Can a doctor withhold copies of medical records?

  • a doctor may condition the release of copies on payment of the copying fees
  • a doctor may NOT condition the release of copies on payment of an unpaid bill

How long must a doctor retain medical records?

  • according to Board rules, "as long as necessary for medical and legal purposes"
  • ten years from the date of the last visit is generally suggested

How can I locate my records from a doctor who has moved, retired or died?

  • call or visit the old office and ask who has possession of the doctor's records
  • if you are unable to speak with anyone from the old office, check with the local hospitals, chamber of commerce, county medical society or police department; sometimes they will have information on the physician's whereabouts
  • if you know the physician is deceased, call the local probate court to find out who is the administrator of the estate (court records will list a telephone number); call the administrator for assistance
  • contact our office and see if we have been given any information (this occurs infrequently)

Can a doctor refuse to accept me as a patient?

Yes, doctors and patients both have the prerogative to choose whether to enter or terminate a physician-patient relationship.


Can a doctor terminate me as a patient?

Once a physician-patient relationship has been established, a doctor may not discontinue treatment that is necessary without having given reasonable notice and assistance in finding alternate care.

Copyright 2016 The Alabama Board of Medical Examiners
All rights reserved