Nevada, New Jersey work to increase transparency

Nevada and New Jersey are moving forward on transparency. Nevada Governor Bill Sandoval signed a package of laws on Friday designed to increase transparency around hospital quality statewide. The new laws are designed to make more information available to the public about the quality of patient care, incident of infection and patient readmissions. New Jersey is looking at a measure that would require government agencies and state authorities to have an online presence. The measure comes up nearly five months after a report by the state comptroller showing that only one third of agencies and authorities shared information with the public about their activities.

Following an in-depth investigation by the Las Vegas Sun exposing the lack of transparency in Nevada’s hospitals, the state legislature created a package of legislation designed to draw out more information about preventable accidents and the quality of patient care. The new laws will require a facility-by-facility breakdown of the occurrence of preventable accidents and the rate of infection in patients.

The public will now be able to compare information between hospitals about these events and overall quality. Hospitals will also be required to report preventable accidents and infections to the Centers for Disease Control. Doctors will also be required to report this information to new patients as they enter hospitals. Legislators plan to take up measures in the next session that will explicitly define these accidents and reporting requirements to ensure continuity throughout all hospitals in the state.

New Jersey is also working on a measure that will require state agencies and authorities to have an online presence reporting their hours and activities. As CivSource reported in February, a report from the state comptroller showed that barely one third of agencies and authorities have information about their hours and activities available to the public online. Only 3 percent have information about their financial activities online.

The measure will go before both houses this week and seeks to require state agencies and authorities to post information about their mission, spending and activities online. Some officials and agencies have been hesitant to put such information online citing the costs associated with designing and developing websites during an historically tight budget cycle. However, supporters of the bill say that tax payers have a right to know about how their government operates and where public funds are being directed.

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