(a) A statewide data processor shall perform the following duties:
(1) Make available annually to the Division, at no charge, a report that includes a comparison of the 35 most frequently reported charges of hospitals and freestanding ambulatory surgical facilities. The report is a public record and shall be made available to the public in accordance with Chapter 132 of the General Statutes. Publication or broadcast by the news media shall not constitute a resale or use of the data for commercial purposes.
(2) Receive patient data from hospitals and freestanding ambulatory surgical facilities throughout this State.
(3) Compile and maintain a uniform set of data from the patient data submitted.
(4) Analyze the patient data.
(5) Compile reports from the patient data and make the reports available upon request to interested persons at a reasonable charge determined by the data processor.
(6) Ensure that adequate measures are taken to provide system security for all data and information received from hospitals and freestanding ambulatory surgical facilities pursuant to this Article.
(7) Protect the confidentiality of patient records and comply with applicable laws and regulations concerning patient confidentiality, including the confidentiality of patient-identifying information. The data processor shall not disclose patient-identifying information unless (i) the information was originally submitted by the party requesting disclosure or (ii) the State Health Director requests specific individual records for the purpose of protecting and promoting the public health under Chapter 130A of the General Statutes, and the disclosure is not otherwise prohibited by federal law or regulation. Such records shall be made available to the State Health Director at a reasonable charge. Such records made available to the State Health Director are not public records; the State Health Director shall maintain their confidentiality and shall not make the records available notwithstanding G.S. 130A-374(a)(2).
(b) The Department of Health and Human Services may take adverse action against a hospital under G.S. 131E-78 or G.S. 122C-24 or against a freestanding ambulatory surgical center under G.S. 131E-148 for a violation of this Article. (1995, c. 517, s. 39(b); 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a).)