A searchable database of federal inspection reports surrounding hospital complaints has been made available to the public by the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ).
The website, hospitalinspections.org, contains thousands of federal inspection reports for hospitals. However the journalist organization say that there is a more important trove of data that reporters can’t touch because it is a private organization, The Joint Commission. The commission, a not-for-profit organization, manages the certification process for hospitals, but does not make its reports public.
The AHCJ last week sent another request to The Joint Commission, requesting the organization publish its complaint and routine inspection reports. “The commission has rejected two previous AHCJ requests for this information, saying disclosure would compromise its efforts to improve hospital quality,” AHCJ reported.
“Being able to easily review the performance of your local hospital is vital for health care journalists and for the public,” said AHCJ President Charles Ornstein in a statement.
The database of federal complaint reports covers acute-care and critical-access hospitals, but not psychiatric hospitals or long-term care facilities.
“The inspection reports have been configured by AHCJ to be easily searchable by keyword, city, state and hospital name,” AHCJ said in a statement. While the website is open to the public, “only AHCJ members have access to additional resources to help users understand what is being reported and what is not.”
Funding for the website was provided by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.
The Association of Health Care Journalists is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing public understanding of health care issues. Its mission is to improve the quality, accuracy and visibility of health care reporting, writing and editing. The association has more than 1,400 members.