Well, this is good news. Remember that we were assured the information in the NPDB would be protected? Yeah, me too.
And, I don’t understand this move at all.
Law enforcement can access data bank without doctors’ knowledge
The rule, a response to the expansion of the National Practitioner Data Bank, is intended to help prevent evidence tampering.
By Carolyne Krupa, amednews staff. Posted Dec. 13, 2011.
Physicians and other health professionals no longer will be notified if someone accesses information about them through the National Practitioner Data Bank for an investigation, according to a federal rule that takes effect Dec. 23.
The rule, an exemption to the Privacy Act, is meant to prevent tampering with evidence and is limited to law enforcement agencies, said David Bowman, a spokesman for the Dept. of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration, which administers the data bank.
Umm, prevent tampering with WHAT evidence? by the time something’s being put in the NPDB, it’s know about by a lot of folks, and there isn’t any realy opportunity to ‘tamper with evidence’. This sounds exceptionally fishy to me. I need a better explanation than this. (I know I won’t get it).
Oh, and spot the problem with this logic (which I’ll point out after the quote):
Law enforcement agencies are authorized to see information on adverse actions against physicians such as medical board disciplinary actions and peer review sanctions. Such queries make up less than 1% of NPDB queries, with an average of 20 by law enforcement annually, according to the rule (www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-11-23/pdf/2011-30292.pdf).
When Law Enforcement was required to notify people they’d had a look at their records, their query rate was less than 1%. Now that they can do it secretly, what will that rate be? We’ll never know.