NPR’s Joseph Shapiro looked into the status of the Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank, a database of nurses, nurse aides, pharmacists and pharmacy assistants who have been disciplined by state boards.
The 22-year-old database was supposed to be open to hospitals and nursing homes for background check purposes, but has been tied up in layers of bureaucracy. A policy for opening it up was written during the later years of the Bush administration, but the president decided to defer the decision to his successor.
Shapiro writes that the plan for opening the database is now under review by the Obama administration: “A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services says things are on track. And that maybe by early next year, the department will open the registry of disciplined nurses, aides and pharmacists.”
Public Citizen has posted an open letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius requesting that the proposals to open the database be put into effect “immediately.” The letter explains why the database is important, and details the consequences of keeping it under wraps.