Healthcare transparency took a step forward this week. The Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have collaborated to bring HospitalInspections.org online.
The searchable database contains information about serious federal safety rule violations in U.S. hospitals since January, 2011. It does not contain hospital responses to deficiencies cited during inspections. Those can be obtained by filing a request with a hospital or the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Searching is free.
One example documents a lengthy trail of CMS interviews with hospital personnel related to a patient’s complaint regarding a grievance letter to which she had received no response..
“An interview was conducted with S2 Divisional Director, Regulatory Management on 9/19/12 at 9:05 a.m. She reported the hospital was unable to locate what happened to the grievance letter after it was signed for on the loading dock. Also the hospital has been unable to locate the letter sent by regular mail by the mother of Patient #7.
Review of the policy titled Patient Rights, Complaint, and Grievance Process, policy reference # OrgClin/020, revealed in part, ” …All expressed concerns regarding care or treatment are entered into the approved complaint tracking software program …”
Example: Environment of Care / Fire Safety
“The inspector observed, while accompanied by the Plant Manager during the hours of the inspection from 8:00 am to 9:45 am on 7/24/2012 that the fire doors going into the generator room had the closers removed and the doors were propped open. The doors must be self-closing. If the facility requires the doors to be open, they must be placed on hold opens that will release with activation of the fire alarm.”
The site also has a list of states that post their hospital inspections online.