The federal government reopened public access to a database of malpractice claims and damages paid by doctors, with new restrictions that would prohibit using it in any way to identify the physicians.
Consumer advocates and journalism groups for the past two months have been fighting a decision by the Health Resources and Services Administration to cut access to its “public use file” of the database over concerns of a breach of one doctor’s confidentiality.
HRSA is part of the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency on Wednesday reinstated the public use file, but with three new restrictions.
One prohibits using the data alone, or in combination with other research, to identify any of the doctors or entities. A second requires that people return, delete or destroy copies of the data at HRSA’s request. The third bans reposting of the raw data and only allows its disclosure as part of statistical reporting or analysis.
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See Also: Official Statement From HRSA
See Also: Direct to the Data File