Disciplined Nurses Database is a Dirty Little Secret

Any wonder patient and resident experience suffers in our health care facilities; word comes of another hidden resource that might be able to help but has not been shared.

The Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank was created 22 years ago to help hospitals and nursing homes perform background checks on potential new hires. More than 102,000 names of disciplined nurses, nurse aides, pharmacists and pharmacy aides are in the database. NPR has reported that inefficiency and bureaucracy in the Department of Health and Human Services have held up the opening of the database for the last two decades.

The regulation to fully implement the law that would allow the facilities access to the database was never fully completed. The regulation to allow access to the database was completed toward the end of the Bush Administration, but White House officials froze the program. The program is under review again by the Department of Health and Human Services, and officials say they hope to have the program fully implemented by the end of the year.

Let‰Ûªs keep them honest and put some pressure on DHHS to do just that.