No Sealing of Health Care Quality Review Report in Doctor-vs.-Hospital Lawsuit
The Parties seek to seal … a report by the National Practitioner Data Bank (“NPDB”), submitted by Defendant Shore Medical Center on June 18, 2015. This report was a result of the final adverse action taken by SMC to revoke Plaintiff’s clinical privileges.
In 1986, Congress passed the Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986 (“HCQIA”), 42 U.S.C. § 11101, et seq. The HCQIA requires that certain information regarding malpractice payments, sanctions, and professional review actions taken with respect to medical professionals be reported to the federal government. 42 U.S.C. § 11131-7. The regulations promulgated pursuant to the HCQIA established the National Practitioner Data Bank to collect and organize information collected under the HCQIA.
The NPDB operates as a centralized clearinghouse for state licensing boards, hospitals, and other health care entities to obtain relevant background information about physicians. Hospitals are required to request information from the NPDB with respect to each physician or health care practitioner who applies for staff membership or clinical privileges. The NPDB makes the information it collects available to “State licensing boards, to hospitals, and to other health care entities (including health maintenance organizations) that have entered (or may be entering) in an employment or affiliation relationship with the physician or practitioner or to which the physician or practitioner has applied for clinical privileges or appointment to the medical staff.” 42 U.S.C. § 11137(a).
Section 11137 also outlines the confidentiality provisions applicable to the information collected under the HCQIA. Specifically, it mandates:
“Information reported under this subchapter is considered confidential and shall not be disclosed (other than to the physician or practitioner involved) except with respect to professional review activity … or in accordance with regulations of the Secretary promulgated pursuant to subsection (a) of this section. Nothing in this subsection shall prevent the disclosure of such information by a party which is otherwise auth
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