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Parkland To Keep Critical Safety Report Confidential


Parkland Hospital says it will not release an independent audit that found safety problems in 15 hospital departments. KERA’s BJ Austin says that’s not what Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins wants to hear.

After a lengthy closed door meeting, Parkland Board Chair Dr. Lauren McDonald announced that the safety report would not be released. Dr. McDonald says the decision was made on the advice of attorneys, citing concern for patient and personnel privacy, as well legal rights to protect Parkland as an institution and protect taxpayers, who support the hospital.

McDonald: Subsequently if there were lawsuits, civil rights lawsuits, it could cost the taxpayers millions of dollars.

McDonald calls the report “comprehensive, informative and quite humbling.” She says Parkland is taking its audit very seriously and is hard at work correcting the problems.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, ordered Parkland to pay for the outside safety audit after the hospital failed two critical inspections. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins says CMS should release the report.

Jenkins: By making the information public, CMS will allow taxpayers to view important information and allow all involved their best opportunity to fix the serious patient problems at Parkland Hospital.

County Commissioner John Wiley Price says he understands Parkland’s point of view.

Price: We all talk about transparency, but we do have a legal obligation as well.

Price says in this instance the legal obligation may trump transparency.

CMS says it is consulting experts to evaluate whether Parkland’s claim of privilege and decision not to release the report are in line with exceptions to the Freedom of Information Act.

Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.