Ac­cess to dis­ci­plined doc file re­stored with con­di­tions

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS -

HHS’ Health Re­sources and Ser­vices Ad­min­is­tra­tion re­posted the pub­lic-use file of its National Prac­ti­tioner Data Bank with con­di­tions. The data bank’s pub­lic-use file con­tains de-iden­ti­fied in­for­ma­tion on dis­ci­plinary ac­tions against physi­cians and, in a state­ment posted on the data bank’s web­site, HRSA Ad­min­is­tra­tor Mary Wake­field touts this data as be­ing avail­able for sta­tis­ti­cal anal­y­sis and re­ports on mal­prac­tice trends. It had been re­moved from the web­site on Sept. 1 af­ter a Kansas City Star reporter was able to as­cer­tain the iden­tity of a doc­tor by com­par­ing data in the file with court records. Now, to gain ac­cess to the file, in­di­vid­u­als will have to agree not to use the in­for­ma­tion in com­bi­na­tion with other sources to iden­tify in­di­vid­u­als in­volved in dis­ci­plinary or le­gal pro­ceed­ings. If the terms are vi­o­lated, the in­di­vid­ual will be De­fense Sec­re­tary Leon Panetta presided over a ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony of what he called “a 21st-cen­tury place of mir­a­cles.” The hos­pi­tal is a merger of the former Wal­ter Reed Army Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Washington and the Bethesda National Naval Med­i­cal Cen­ter. The Army moved pa­tients in Au­gust from the Washington fa­cil­ity to the Bethesda cam­pus and a new hos­pi­tal at Fort Belvoir in north­ern Vir­ginia. The merger was man­dated by the 2005 Base Re­align­ment and Clo­sure Act. in de­mand at the cam­pus prompted the de­ci­sion, Hirsch said. On an av­er­age day, the hos­pi­tal had a dozen pa­tients, and ad­mis­sions dropped 21% in fis­cal 2011 from the prior year. Un­til the state de­cides on the CON, in­pa­tient ser­vices will con­tinue, Hirsch said. “The sta­tus quo is not sus­tain­able for the long run, but cer­tainly as we wait for the state re­view and de­ci­sion on our ap­pli­ca­tion we will con­tinue to main­tain our ser­vices as we have,” he said.

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