Healthcare News & Insights

New site gives patients access to hospital inspection results

Public perception is everything when it comes to hospitals. Patients don’t want to go to a hospital with known quality issues. So it’s important you know exactly what info is floating around out there about your facility.

If your facility has ever been subject to an inspection caused by a complaint regarding its quality of care, you need to know about a new website that makes it easier for the public to scrutinize your hospital.

The Association of Healthcare Journalists has created HospitalInspections.org, which contains data on complaint inspections conducted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in acute care and critical access hospitals dating back to January 2011.

Accessible inspection info

HospitalInspections.org focuses solely on inspections that resulted from a complaint of some nature. It doesn’t include data about routine inspections, or inspections that take place in long-term care hospitals or psychiatric hospitals.

Because of differences in the way certain states share their complaint reports, not every complaint report is available online, and not all reports contain full narrative details.

But this means patients will now have access to many of these reports through the site without having to file a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

In cases where states didn’t make complaint reports for its hospitals readily available in an electronic format, CMS provided the date of the report, along with the number of problems identified.  This info is listed on an individual page the site maintains for each hospital. Patients can then request a full report from the hospital itself to get all the details.

While the site is touted as a great way to increase transparency in the healthcare industry for patients, it can also be useful for hospitals to compare their performance with that of other neighboring hospitals.

Potential patient inquiries

Note that one thing the site lacks is an accompanying copy of each hospital’s response to any deficiencies discovered during an inspection.  CMS doesn’t have any immediate plans to make this info readily available online to patients along with the inspection reports.

So if patients bring up the results of your complaint inspections, be ready to present a copy of your hospital’s plan of correction for them to view. This way, they’ll know you’re taking the appropriate steps to correct any issues, and they’ll feel more confident in seeking care at your institution.

It’s also good to review the site and see what info patients have access to regarding your hospital, so you can be forearmed with any details needed to give them a complete picture of the care your hospital’s providing.

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