Delegation of Authority

Gloved hands and surgical toolsOn April 3, 2006, Secretary Leavitt delegated to OCR's Director the authority to enforce the privilege and confidentiality protections of Section 922, Title IX of the Public Health Service Act, as amended by the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 (PSQIA). PSQIA establishes a voluntary reporting system designed to enhance the data available to assess and resolve patient safety and quality issues.

To encourage the reporting and analysis of medical errors and health care systems, the PSQIA provides Federal privilege and confidentiality protections for "patient safety work product" -- including patient, provider and reporter identifying information -- that is collected, created or used for patient safety activities and imposes civil money penalties (CMPs) for impermissible disclosures of this information. Although patient safety work product may contain the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996's (HIPAA) Privacy Rule "protected health information," the statute prohibits dual penalties under both the Act and HIPAA.  See the Federal Register Notice of the Delegation of Authority.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) was delegated all other authorities under PSQIA except for those retained by the Secretary. See AHRQ's overview of PSQIA.

Content created by Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
Content last reviewed on June 16, 2017