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As US clamps down on data access, work on hospital safety may slow

The New York Times, October 9, 2012

A shift last year by the Social Security Administration to limit access to its death records amid concerns about identity theft is beginning to hamper a range of research, including federal assessments of hospital safety and efforts by the financial industry to spot consumer fraud. For example, a research group that produces reports on organ transplant survival rates is facing delays because of the extra work it must do to determine whether patients are still alive. The federal agency that runs Medicare uses the data to determine whether some transplant programs have such poor track records that they should be cut off from government financing.