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CMS Unveils Hospital Violations Database

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, March 18, 2013

See Also: How the Hospital Inspections Database Came to Life


For the first time, providers, payers, and patients now have an enormous searchable database containing documents detailing about 8,000 serious federal safety rule violations—many of which have caused serious patient harm or death—at about 1,000 U.S. hospitals since January, 2011.

The documents, which resulted from federally authorized complaint investigations and are called "2567s," were released over the weekend by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services after a long-standing request from and collaboration with the Association of Health Care Journalists. The AHCJ has organized the document files on a searchable website on its site, hospitalinspections.org.

AHCJ president Charles Ornstein, a senior reporter at ProPublica in New York, made the announcement about the database during a news conference Saturday at the organization's annual meeting in Boston. He said the documents "show deception, fraud, falsification, and medical errors that are inexcusable."

Also, he said, now members of the public can find out not only which hospitals in their cities or regions had incidents serious enough to prompt such investigations, but how often errors of a particular type occurred in any facility to receive such a federal investigation report in the last 26 months.

For example, hospital deficiencies may now be searched by keyword or phrase, such as "wrong site," "wrong patient," "infection," "sponge," "transfusion," or "falsified," to catalogue types and frequency of hospital errors, and often whether a patient death was involved. Some of the violations involved a declaration of immediate jeopardy, which are so serious and immediately threatening to patients or workers that the situation must be resolved within 24 hours.

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2 comments on "CMS Unveils Hospital Violations Database"


Susan Reese (3/19/2013 at 2:21 PM)
Bravo!! Maybe this will cause hospitals to take a look at their 'top-down' processes and begin their conversations with, How would that affect the nursing staff and patient care? Nurses are the 'eyes and ears' and 24/7 care provider. Ask any nurse if they have an idea how to reduce patient harm, the answer would be, yes! So, if this is true, why don't hospital administrators listen? Probably, because they haven't asked. A nurse can never say, "I can't take another patient right now because it would jepordize patient safety" or "No, I can't work another 4 hours on top of this 12-hour shift". Fatique and inadequate staffing are major contributors to situations which lead to patient harm. These comments are from a nurse with 30 year's of hospital experience

jsilver (3/18/2013 at 12:17 PM)
Long overdue! Hospitals must learn that they do not have a right to provide healthcare services- they are granted that right by the citizens of the states in which they provide services. The citizens have a right to know what's going on, and given the IOM report from 1999 showing that a fully loaded 747 is crashing every day in our country (98,000 lives a year) and that we now know that 2 747's are closer to that truth, CMS has both a moral and oversight repsonsibility to get this information out. CMS should TELL JCAHO what to do if they want to keep surveying hospitals, not ask. I applaud all the efforts by CMS to provide safe and effective care to all Americans. Dr. John Silver