New hospital inspections database launched

Includes federal inspection reports

The Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ) has launched a free, searchable new application that compiles thousands of federal inspection reports for hospitals around the nation since January 2011.

The new site, hospitalinspections.org, comes after the association spent years lobbying for easier access to the reports. Until now, journalists and others had to file a Freedom of Information Act request with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to obtain the documents.

The AHCJ also sent a letter to The Joint Commission asking it to make its information on hospital surveys public. As a private organization, it is not subject to FOIA requests. TJC has rejected previous requests from AHCJ related to this, saying that disclosure would compromise efforts to improve hospital quality.

The new hospitalinspections.org website includes the results of government inspections of acute-care hospitals and critical-access hospitals resulting from complaints. It does not include reports of deficiencies found at psychiatric hospitals or long-term care hospitals, nor does it include the results of routine hospital inspections.

The database is searchable by keyword, city, state, and hospital name. While anyone can use the site, only members of the journalists’ group get additional information on the context of the data and what isn’t being reported. Those hospitals with missing reports — delayed by state health departments or CMS regional offices — are labeled on the site. CMS told the AHCJ they would work to upload the missing information.