42 CFR § 476.120 - Submission of written beneficiary complaints.
(a) Timeframe for submission of written complaints. A QIO shall be responsible for conducting a review of any written complaint received from a Medicare beneficiary or a Medicare beneficiary's representative about the quality of health care if the complaint is received not later than 3 years from the date on which the care giving rise to the complaint occurred.
(1) A written complaint includes a complaint submitted electronically to the QIO.
(2) In those instances where a Medicare beneficiary contacts the QIO regarding a complaint but declines to submit the complaint in writing and immediate advocacy has not been offered, the QIO may complete a general quality of care review in accordance with § 476.160 if the QIO makes a preliminary determination that the complaint involves a potential gross and flagrant, substantial or significant quality of care concern.
(b) New concerns raised by a Medicare beneficiary. If a Medicare beneficiary raises new concerns relating to the same complaint after the completion of the interim initial determination in § 476.130(c), the concerns will be processed as a new complaint. The QIO may process new concerns raised after the receipt of the written complaint as part of the same complaint, provided they are received prior to the completion of the interim initial determination. Even if a concern is received before the interim initial determination, the QIO can address it as a separate complaint if the QIO determines that this is warranted by the circumstances.