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CMS Unveils Hospital Violations Database

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, March 18, 2013

Prior to CMS's release, these documents were available only after members of the public or news media filed Freedom of Information Act or state public records requests.

"It was a time-consuming process, and there would be no way to compare (various hospitals or regions of the country) except by spending a lot of time and spending many hours creating spreadsheets, and creating data tools to do that," Ornstein says. "What we wanted to do was make this easy for the public to access these reports."

The new database does not include documents about results of complaint investigations involving psychiatric hospitals or long-term care facilities. Routine inspection reports are also not included. However Ornstein's group said it was working to get disclosure of those files as well.


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Ornstein also said that the database would be updated quarterly.

In response to questions on Saturday, CMS spokeswoman Kathryn Ceja said in an e-mail, that the agency released the data with AHCJ because the government wants to "promote an informed citizenry, patient engagement in healthcare, quality improvement on the part of providers, and transparency in government."

She added that the release of these reports about acute care, including critical access hospitals, follows the release last year of a similar searchable database on nursing homes.

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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