Hospital Inspection Reports Are Now Public

The Association of Health Care Journalists launched www.hospitalinspections.org. The site compiles hospital inspection reports dating back to January 2011. The website features government inspections of acute-care hospitals and critical-access (rural) hospitals resulting from complaints. Until now, reporters and the public had to file Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to get the documents, a process fraught with delays that can stymie timely public knowledge of problems at hospitals. For year, AHCJ has urged the government to release the deficiency reports in an electronic format. The inspection reports are easily searchable by keyword, city, state, and hospital name.

 

However, it does not include reports of deficiencies at psychiatric hospitals or long-term care hospitals, nor does it include the routine hospital inspections. Thousands of hospital inspection reports are still under wraps. AHCJ sent a letter urging the largest private a creditor of hospitals to make its hospital inspections public. As a private agency, the Joint Commission is not subject to FOIA. It  does complaint and routine inspections separately from CMS. The commission has rejected two previous AHCJ requests for this information, saying disclosure would compromise its efforts to improve hospital quality. AHCJ president Charles Ornstein, a senior reporter at ProPublica in New York said, “The AHCJ board cannot accept the notion that patients are best protected by keeping hospital problems secret. Such reasoning also flies in the face of growing consensus among health care leaders and policy makers about the importance of transparency to improve medical care quality.”

Last Updated 9/8/2017

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