Health Data Protest Gets High-Ranking Senator’s Support

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 10/07/2011 - 6:28pm

The ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee is backing a demand by the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ), the National Freedom Of Information Coalition (NFOIC) and other groups that a Health and Human Services agency re-think and reverse its decision to remove a useful health-information database in a wrong-headed, punitive overreaction to a Kansas City Star report.

The NFOIC has been among groups supporting the effort, led by the AHCJ, protesting the decision by the Health Resources and Services Administration to stop allowing public access to a database that records malpractice payouts, hospital discipline and regulatory sanctions against doctors and other health care professionals.

The National Practitioner Database was removed by the agency, after threatening a Kansas City Star reporter whose report contained purportedly “confidential” information from the database.

Linked below is the health journalists group’s blog reporting that Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a sharply-worded letter to the Administration, rebuking its decision and insisting that public information belongs to the public.  The NFOIC is gratified for the senator’s support and hopeful this decision will be reversed.

The AHCJ report can be found at this link:

http://www.healthjournalism.org/blog/2011/10/grassley-criticizes-federal-agency-over-removal-of-doctor-discipline-data/http://www.healthjournalism.org/blog/2011/10/grassley-criticizes-federal-agency-over-removal-of-doctor-discipline-data/

 

-- By Dan Claxton, NFOIC Graduate Research Assistant