Doctor complains; federal agency cripples public database

Interesting story about a database run by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that maintains discipline and medical-malpractice information. Diligent journalists and investigators could reference the database and, via other sources, sometimes identify doctors with long histories of being sued or disciplined for medical malpractice. Neurosurgeon Robert T. Tenny of Overland Park, Kansas was identified in this manner. His complaints led to the database being shut down for a time, only to be relaunched --with users required to promise not to link information in the database with publicly available information, like court files. Congress is now looking at the agency’s role in restricting speech and use of public data.