Requests may be made in writing to:
Division of Health Care Quality
99 Chauncy Street, 11 th Floor
Boston, MA 02111
Attn: Public Information Unit
Or sent by fax to: (617) 753-8095
The Public Information Unit is not able to provide guidance or advice to callers, explain the requirements in existing regulations, or recommend a particular facility or provider.
Please note that there is a fee for copies of documents, and that personal or medical information relating to a specific patient may only be to persons authorized by law to receive that information. See "Frequently Asked Questions" - below:
Public Information Frequently Asked Questions:
Q1: I am a reporter seeking information on a health care facility or issue, how can I obtain additional information regarding a particular facility or a health care issue?
A1: All media requests are handled by the Department's press office. Please contact: the Department's press office at 617-624-5006 for assistance. Please note, as explained below, the Department is not able to provide information on a specific patient, including confirmation as to whether or not a person is a patient of a facility; the source of a complaint; or on a complaint or incident currently under investigation.
Q2. Where can I get a list of licensed health care facilities, or find out if a facility is licensed by the Department of Public Health?
A2. The Department of Public Health, Division of Health Care Quality licenses hospitals, nursing homes, rest homes, clinics and hospice agencies.
Health Care Facilities licensed by the Division
Bed counts represent most recent licensing data available at the time of the report. Please note that nursing home bed totals may include beds temporarily out of service, and not the total number of active beds in a facility.
Q3. How can I find out more about a particular hospital or nursing home licensed by the Department?
A3. The Department routinely surveys facilities licensed or certified for participation in Medicare and Medicaid. A summary of the Department's findings is available online for these provider types:
- DPH: DPH Nursing Home Report Card
- CMS: Nursing Home Compare
- Information regarding selecting a nursing home: Choosing a Nursing Home
- CMS: Hospital Compare
Q4: Where can I get a copy of the Department's regulations that apply to a particular program?
A4: The Department of Public Health's regulations are online at: DPH Regulations
Q5. How can I obtain additional information regarding a particular person in a nursing home, hospital or other licensed facility whose care was reviewed during a survey or complaint investigation?
A5: Privacy laws restrict both the Department's and the provider's release of patient specific information to those legally entitled to access that information.
In order to obtain information regarding a specific patient from the Department, you must submit a completed release form with your request:
Generally speaking, patient specific information may only be released to:
- The resident or patient themselves.
- The parents of a minor child.
- The activated health care agent or legal guardian with health care decision making authority while the patient or resident is alive (please note access to information based on a health care proxy or guardianship ends on the death of the patient).
- The executor or administrator of a deceased patient's estate.
- Individuals such as attorneys who have been authorized to receive the information by one of the above.
- Individuals with court authorization to receive health care or personal information.
If the Department's review included compliance with Medicare or Medicaid regulations, the Department may not be able to respond directly to you, and may be required to forward your request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Q6: How much will it cost me to obtain a copy of an existing record?
A6: DHCQ normally charges the following fees for copies of public records:
- $.20 per page for photocopies;
- $.50 per page for computer printouts;
- $50.00 per hour for the creation of electronic reports; and
- A pro-rated fee for performing a search for requested records or segregating exempt information from non-exempt information which is contained in a requested record. This fee is based on the hourly rate of the lowest-paid employee capable of performing the task.
Fees under $50.00 will be billed at the time the information is sent.
Fees over $50.00 will require pre-payment prior to release of information.
Q7: I am looking for records from the Department that are several years old. How long does your office keep copies of its files?
A7: The Department has established a record retention schedule in compliance with state law. Generally speaking, the Division of Health Care Quality's records are retained for six years. Due to space limitations, the Division only retains the most current two to three years of its records on-site. Older records are stored at the State Archives, and may require additional time for retrieval. Additional information on state law concerning public records can be found at: Public Records Division Links
Q8: I would like to obtain copies of medical records from a hospital, nursing home or rest home, clinic or hospice agency. How can I get these?
A8: Make your request directly to the provider. See above for information regarding who may access medical records. Providers, like the Department, may require you to complete a release form to document your authorization, and to pay a reasonable fee for copies of your records.
Providers may dispose of outdated records after the required retention period has passed. See the Department's Circular Letter regarding the Destruction of Medical Records for additional information.
Q9: I am a provider who is either seeking to become licensed or certified, make a change to an existing license, or has a question about a program, where can I get the appropriate forms and who should I contact?
A9: Information regarding the process of obtaining a license is on-line at: Initial Licensure and Certification. This webpage included links to the Department's Determination of Need and Plan Review offices, as well as staff responsible for initiating changes to an existing license or certification.
If you are an existing provider with questions, please contact the regional or program manager for your area, either directly or through the DHCQ receptionist at 617-753-8000.
Q10: I am a consumer who has a complaint about a licensed or certified healthcare facility in Massachusetts. Who can I complaint to?
A10: Licensed healthcare facilities are required to have a grievance process, and to respond to complaints from their patients or residents. If you have a complaint or concern, begin by talking with your provider to see if the matter can be resolved.
Consumers who wish to file a complaint may do so directly with the DHCQ Intake Unit by mail ( 99 Chauncy Street, 11 th Floor, Boston, MA 02111); by fax (617-753-8165) or by phone at 617-753-8150. This information is available online at: .
This information is provided by the Division of Health Care Quality within the Department of Public Health.