Study: Hospitals 'dropped the ball' on disciplining doctors

Despite its being in existence for more than 17 years, nearly half of hospitals have never submitted a single doctors name to a federal database that collects information on hospital disciplinary actions, according to a new study by consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.

The National Practitioner Data Bank has been collecting information on incidents where a doctor's privileges were revoked or restricted for more than 30 days because of competency or conduct issues, for almost 20 years. However, as of December 2007, hospitals had reported only 11,221 incidents, or one-eighth of what government estimated would be collected. Meanwhile, 2,845 out of 5,823 U.S. hospitals, or 49 percent, have never submitted a report.

Public Citizen is recommending that hospitals that don't file reports face civil penalties, that CMS be allowed to impose sanctions on hospitals that don't perform peer review, and that HHS's Inspector General investigate peer review relative to granting and renewing of physicians' admitting privileges.

To learn more about the study:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece (reg. req.)

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