AHCJ uploaded CMS's responses to various questions about the database on a section of its website. For example, the agency explains the process that can result in a 2567. And it explains that state health department teams usually perform inspections at the request of CMS when a complaint seems serious enough to jeopardize federal reimbursement to a hospital.
Elizabeth Lietz, spokeswoman for the American Hospital Association who attended the meeting, said her organization was not told in advance by CMS that it was releasing this electronic database of 2567 documents.
The American Hospital Association plays down the value of having the public documents be more accesible. "Despite our hope that these data would help inform the public, the public has not found the data as useful as we anticipated... it is hard even for a seasoned healthcare policymaker to understand the CMS documents or thoughtfully apply them to making informed decisions," said Nancy Foster, quality and patient safety vice president of the American Hospital Association.
One important deficiency in the new electronic database is that hospitals' plans of correction—required if a hospital is to continue to receive reimbursement for care of Medicaid and Medicare patients—were not included because of technical difficulties. Those may still be provided to the public, but only through a federal or state information or public records act request.