Access to disciplined doc file restored with conditions
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.