Sen. Grassley Criticizes Loss of Public Access to Physician Malpractice Records

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has sent a letter to HHS' Health Resources and Service Administration, criticizing its decision to restrict public access to the National Practitioner Data Bank, according to a report by the Association of Health Care Journalists.

In the letter, Sen. Grassley wrote, "Shutting down public access to the data bank undermines the critical mission of identifying inefficiencies within our healthcare system — particularly at the expense of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries."

HRSA's National Practitioner Data Bank contains confidential information on malpractice awards and regulatory sanctions against physicians and other providers. Previously, the HRSA released public use files with aggregate information from the databank that did not identify individual practitioners. The HRSA removed the file from its website last month, saying it shutdown public access due to the media's ability to "triangulate" the confidential data with court records to find out otherwise confidential information.

The Association of Health Care Journalists, among other groups, has called for the Obama administration to restore access to the file.

Related Articles on the National Practitioner Data Bank:

HHS Removes Public Access to Physician Malpractice Info

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