Private accreditors, such as The Joint Commission, may spot errors and safety issues at hospitals during inspections, but the public doesn't know because the information isn't released. The proposed rule would require accreditors to make the information public.
The reports describe uncovered problems in hospitals, such as medication errors, patient abuse and operations on the wrong patient or body part.
CMS hopes the proposed rules will resolve the inconsistency of some inspections being made public, while others are not. “We believe it is important to continue to lead the effort to make information regarding a healthcare facility’s compliance with health and safety requirements” publicly available, CMS officials wrote.
The rules would affect The Joint Commission, as well as smaller competitors, such as the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program.
The American Hospital Association said it supports providing more hospital quality information to the public, but questioned whether the public needs detailed inspection reports that aren't easily readable. Rather than having patients dig into accreditation reports, Nancy Foster, AHA’s vice president of quality and patient safety, said in a statement that quick summaries with takeaways could be a better option.
The proposed rule was just one of a number of proposed changes in a 1,840-page ruling released last week. The other rules include more money for inpatient hospitals and changes to EHR reporting. Though health IT officials praised proposed changes to the meaningful use reporting next year, HHS didn’t delay the required use of 2015 certified EHRs in the proposed rule. Some providers could wind up using either 2014 or 2015 technology or both of them in 2018.
CMS is taking comments on the proposal between April 28 and June 13.