Information on Hospital Inspections, Reporting Requirements, and Life Safety Code Enforcement

HRD-80-94: Published: Jul 2, 1980. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 1980.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the impact of regulatory requirements being imposed on hospitals. Inspections, reports, and Life Safety Code enforcement were examined. Hospitals are subjected to inspections by Federal, State, and local governments, and private sources. GAO identified 101 inspections, 38 of which were identified by hospital officials as duplicative or similar to others.

GAO found that the degree to which reports and inspections were duplicative was not as great as other studies have reported. Further, it believes that efforts currently underway by Federal, State, and private organizations to reduce the existing duplication and similarity of inspections and information requests are improving the situation, and should be continued. Licensure inspections by State agencies and accreditation surveys by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals were considered to be the most burdensome to hospitals. In an effort to reduce this burden, many States accept, either in whole or in part, Joint Commission accreditation for licensure or participate in cooperative inspection activities with the Joint Commission. Many forms and reports request similar data to that requested by other organizations. However, no forms or reports at the hospitals examined by GAO were identical, and most of the similar requests contained data that were used internally by the hospital. Duplication and similar data collection problems have been reduced through implementation of the Federal Paperwork Commission's recommendations. The examination of Life Safety Code enforcement showed that most deficiencies in the sample of hospitals have been or are in the process of being corrected.

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