The Association of Health Care Journalists has called upon The Joint Commission to make public its hospital accreditation surveys and complaint reports.
In a letter to the agency sent last week (PDF), AHCJ president Charles Ornstein noted that some consumers can obtain hospital inspection reports while others cannot, depending on where they live and which organization or regulator did the survey.
State licensing agencies and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services consider the results of their inspections to be public record. But the Joint Commission does not release details on inspections it performs.
“This peculiar patchwork system treats consumers unequally and leaves millions in the dark about the performance of their local hospitals,” Ornstein wrote to Joint Commission president Mark Chassin, M.D.
AHCJ’s letter follows an effort by a group of consumer organizations to change the law to make inspections public.
“I urge the commission to take the lead on this issue, and demonstrate your commitment to transparency, by voluntarily opening these records to the public,” Ornstein wrote.
The Joint Commission said it has received AHCJ’s letter and is reviewing it.