Department moves to make health inspection reports public

To comply with federal law, the Tennessee Department of Health began in 2012 posting annual inspection reports of nursing homes on the state website.

At the time, the Division of Health Care Facilities said it wanted to eventually post to the state website reports from all the health facilities it inspects. Proposed legislation this session paves the way for this, say those who have worked on the bill.

The health department bill (SB 1629 and HB 1425) changes language in current law to explicitly make public its annual survey inspection reports of all health care facilities and pharmacies. The health department inspects a range of facilities, including assisted living centers, hospices, dialysis clinics and compounding pharmacies.

The bill deletes language in Tennessee Code 63-1-117 that has allowed for claims that annual surveys are exempt from the Open Records Act. It also provides a process to open up some, but not all, investigative records spurred by a complaint against a facility. “After the filing of formal disciplinary charges against the provider, only the material and documents upon which the charges are based may be disclosed as a public record, but not the complainant’s identifying information, identifying information of a witness who requests anonymity, patient’s identifying information, patient’s medical record or investigator’s report.”

Neither bill has been put on House or Senate calendars yet.



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