At the Quality Institute, transparency is critical to our mission to promote quality and safety. We know that giving consumers easy-to-understand data drives better decision-making and therefore better care.
Private, national accrediting companies — such as The Joint Commission — assess the safety of health care facilities. But their reports are kept from the public. A private assessment of a facility’s safety that consumers can’t see is not transparency.
That’s why we strongly support a proposal by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to require accrediting organizations to make all survey reports and plans of correction available on their websites. CMS went a step further to ensure greater transparency in health care by including not just hospitals, but other health care facilities, such as ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs).
Consumers put their lives and the lives of their families in the hands of health care facilities every day. They have a right to know the results of these safety reports to help them make the best choices about where to get care. And when consumers are making more informed choices, health facilities are pressured to compete for their business by improving safety and quality.
Outpatient surgery centers have lower overhead costs than hospitals and as a result can provide care at lower costs. That’s good for patients and good for payers. I can remember in the early 2000s driving along highways in New Jersey and noticing new ambulatory centers opening every few months. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of visits to freestanding ambulatory surgery centers increased about 300 percent from 1996 to 2006.
But how are consumers supposed to know which of these surgical centers are safe — and which ones are not? A “thumbs up” from a private accreditation agency is not enough if there’s no publicly available data from the private accreditation agency vouching for it.
I’m asking you, our members, and other advocates for patients in New Jersey to join us in supporting the proposed CMS rule change to move forward with a policy that empowers patients to choose better care. Click here to read the CMS rule proposal and here to read our letter of support. Then, email our Senior Director Tyla Housman at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know if you’ll sign onto the letter with us and send a strong message to CMS that transparency around inspection reports is good public policy.
Let’s put an end to secret safety reports.