Category Archives: Public records

More hospitals reporting quality data from EHRs but these data are not available by facility

Rebecca Vesely

About Rebecca Vesely

Rebecca Vesely is AHCJ’s topic leader on health information technology and a freelance writer. She has written about health IT since the late 1990s for a variety of publications.

Photo” PINKÉ via Flickr

The number of hospitals voluntarily submitting data on quality generated by electronic health records (EHRs) increased significantly over the past year, according to the Joint Commission, a leading health care facility accreditation organization.

However, these data are not publicly available by facility, according to the Joint Commission. This is unfortunate because the information offers another window into hospital quality. AHCJ has long advocated for the public release of the Joint Commission’s hospital accreditation surveys and complaint reports. Continue reading

New hospital inspection reports added to website

Jeff Porter

About Jeff Porter

Jeff Porter is the special projects director for AHCJ and plays a lead role in planning conferences, workshops and other training events. He also leads the organization’s data collection and data instruction efforts.

Photo: Norman Mosjos via Flickr

AHCJ has just updated the HospitalInspections.org website. The updated version adds 1,024 records of hospital inspection results, as recent as September. Most of the records show a detailed narrative of each deficiency among hospitals in the United States.

The website includes the results of government inspections of acute-care hospitals, critical-access (rural) hospitals and psychiatric hospitals resulting from complaints. The site now searches through 26,814 records. Continue reading

HHS officials pledge availability to reporters

Felice J. Freyer

About Felice J. Freyer

Felice J. Freyer is AHCJ’s vice president and chair of the organization’s Right to Know Committee. She is a health care reporter for The Boston Globe.

Media officers for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have promised to make top HHS officials available to answer reporters’ questions, after AHCJ President Ivan Oransky, M.D., called for a press conference with the HHS secretary and the administrator of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

“We’re looking at ways to make our officials more available in multiple settings,” said Mark Weber, deputy assistant secretary for public affairs for human services. “It might not be a press conference but a series of venues.”

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AHCJ continues to advocate for release of hospital inspection reports

Irene M. Wielawski

About Irene M. Wielawski

Irene M. Wielawski (@wielawski), an independent journalist based in New York, is a founder and former board member of AHCJ and serves on the organization’s Right to Know Committee.

See the full comment at Regulations.gov.

AHCJ has submitted a statement to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services supporting the agency’s proposal to open hospital inspection reports to the public.

The proposed rule change applies to inspections by private accrediting organizations, which are often kept secret, even though they detail patient safety shortcomings of potential interest to the public.

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Reporter’s work pushes regulators, legislators to act on opioids

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at determinants@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Sam Owens, Charleston Gazette-MailEric Eyre’s investigative series, Painkiller Profiteers, chronicled massive pain pill shipments to West Virginia. This shows the cremated ashes of a West Virginia woman who died from a drug overdose.

Lack of work, educational gaps, despair, overprescribing – there’s a host of reasons behind the nation’s opioid crisis. It may seem daunting to reporters who want to nail down the epidemic’s causes, but sometimes you just have to keep digging – literally.

West Virginia reporter Eric Eyre realized something was off when, during a trip to the state pharmacy board, he began digging through boxes filled with faxes from drug wholesalers reporting suspicious pharmacy activity. Continue reading