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News of the Day ... In Perspective

10/21/2005

Government fails to report malpractice data

While insurance companies, hospitals, and others who pay malpractice claims against doctors are required to report malpractice settlements to the National Practitioner Data Bank, federal health agencies routinely flout this requirement.

The new Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, Daniel R. Levinson, found that the department itself had failed to file reports on 474 cases between 1997 and 2004.

Federal health officials told the IG that they did not want to be bound by the requirements that apply to private entities in the event that they felt that a doctor’s care had been appropriate.

In some cases, federal agencies said that malpractice payments had not been reported because One agency in HHS, the Health Resources and Services Administration, said it had failed to report some malpractice settlements because “relevant data or records were misplaced or lost.”

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