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Be aware! CMS will now post CMS complaint survey results on their new website. CMS communicated this in their memo QSO-19-01 on October 4th. This means if CMS conducts a complaint survey at an accredited hospital, they will post their official report of findings (the “2567” report) on this website.

The New Website

The new CMS website is available to the public. It’s also easy to navigate. So, any interested party can readily access findings from CMS complaint surveys. (We quickly found the recent CMS complaint survey report for a psychiatric hospital in Illinois.) CMS had previously published results of their complaint surveys in a quarterly spreadsheet. However, this source was not as easy to navigate as the new website.

Why the Change?

CMS says the impetus for the change is to increase transparency for consumers. The broader backdrop is CMS is strengthening its oversight of Accrediting Organizations.  Publishing the results of CMS complaint surveys ostensibly highlights areas where accredited hospitals have patient safety issues despite their accredited status. The Wall Street Journal recently covered this topic in its October 4th article on how the Trump administration is stepping up oversight of  organizations such as The Joint Commission that accredit hospitals in this country.

Impact on Hospitals

Consequently, hospitals must prepare for the public to readily access their CMS complaint survey findings. So, a communication and public relations strategy will be important. The CMS findings posted on the website do not contain the hospital’s plan of correction. Thus, it will be critical for the hospital to communicate that it has developed a comprehensive CMS plan of correction.

Responding to Your CMS Complaint Survey

Given this new development, we again recommend if your hospital has a complaint (or validation) survey that you immediately begin to develop your plan of correction. Don’t wait for the written report! Get to work right away based on what transpired during your survey. This is ever more important given how quickly CMS will post the results on their new website. (For related information on CMS validation surveys, see our recent post Psychiatric Hospitals: Be Prepared for CMS Validation Surveys.)