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– MINNESOTA –
Public and Private Policy
Medical Errors and Patient Safety

Provider-identifed Information – Transparency

  • •  No Anonymity for Facilities in Annual Reports

    Minnesota is one of two states (CO, MN) that publishes any provider-identified information for the public as part of it's event reporting program policy. According to the MHA background information released on December 2004 [PDF], "The department plans to release a public report in mid to late January, 2005 . . to legislators and the media and . . .on the department's Web site. It will include the number of events on both an aggregate and hospital-specific level." Indeed this statement is consistent with the Adverse Event Statute requirements [144.7067.2(4)] and the features of the January 2005 MDH report [PDF].

  • •  Transparency of all Information to MDH

    Insofar as the review of adverse health care events is performed by a review organization within each facility, that information is non-discoverable and not subject to subpoena. However, there is arguably some ambiguity in the law, §§144.7063 to 144.7069. These sections of law specifically state that the adverse health care event efforts shall not include any identifying information for any of the health care professionals or facility employees, but they do not specifically address the non-disclosure issues. It appears that all of the protections for healthcare providers and healthcare professionals are derived from §§145.61 to 145.67, specifically under §145.64(1). However, under this same provision, health professionals are identified, and the tasks of review committees are noted to include credentials and professional licensing reviews ( §145.61(5j), #2). Per §145.64(5), the commissioner has unrestricted access to all materials generated by a review committee, which would almost certainly identify physicians. Therefore, while the information generated under the ‘adverse health care event’ law may not permit identification of health professionals, the review committee that does the review clearly does identify these same health professionals. It would appear to be impossible for a review committee to segregate its investigation of an adverse health care event from a quality assurance issue, so that it is impossible to expect a review committee to distinguish which hat it is wearing. While confidentiality of records of review organization is maintained, the use of information from an adverse health care event would be transparent to a review committee for use in licensing review. Therefore,

    • a.  Individual employees and health professionals are not reported for their role in adverse health care events, due to protections provided to review organizations / committees, BUT,
    • b.  those same review committeess simultaneously identify health professionals with information from these procedings that might affect sanctions to the licenses of these same health professionals. Given that this information is available to state licensing agencies, via the commissioner, it is apparent that adverse health care event information is transparently available to state licensing agencies.
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