102,000 Disciplined Health Care Professionals Are In A National Registry. But Nobody Can See It?
NPR -- Twenty-two years ago, the federal government started keeping a list of nurses, nurse aides, pharmacists and pharmacy aides who've been disciplined by state licensing boards. It's called the Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank.
There are more than 102,000 nurses, nurse aides, pharmacists and pharmacy assistants who've been disciplined and included in the registry. But hospitals and nursing homes aren't allowed to see the database.
By law, it was supposed to be open to hospitals and nursing homes when they hire staff and want to run a background check. But the Department of Health and Human Services never completed the regulation implementing the law. Turns out, slow-moving bureaucracy is the main culprit.
"Until the government makes these data available, patients are going to be injured in hospitals by nurses, nurse's aides who shouldn't be on the staff of the hospital. The only reason they're on the staff is: when the hospital hired them they didn't know what their past records was," says Dr. Sidney Wolfe, who runs the consumer advocacy organization Public Citizen's Health Research Group.
MP: And we are now considering allowing major increases in government bureaucracy and government control of health care?