Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 23, 2013

Va. pulls public access to hospital reports

Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia health officials will no longer provide public access to the state’s hospital complaint investigations. The decision follows a story by The Associated Press that found inconsistencies in an investigation into the care of a woman at Inova Fairfax Hospital.

State officials say the change was ordered by the federal agency that oversees Medicare. Virginia investigates hospital complaints filed by Medicare patients under a contract with the federal government. The change comes after an AP story last year showed Virginia investigators released two different versions of a report investigating the care of an Inova patient, Sharon Van Putten. A report given to the family largely exonerated the hospital, while a report obtained by AP under the Freedom of Information Act substantiated most of the allegations.

Van Putten later died, and investigations of her care are still ongoing.