Section 25A. The department, in order to identify the location, distribution and nature of all health care resources in the commonwealth shall establish and maintain on a current basis an inventory of all such resources together with all other reasonably pertinent information concerning such resources. For purposes of this section, a health care resource shall include any resource, whether personal or institutional in nature and whether owned or operated by any person, the commonwealth or political subdivision thereof, the principal purpose of which is to provide, or facilitate the provision of, services for the prevention, detection, diagnosis or treatment of those physical and mental conditions experienced by humans which usually are the result of, or result in, disease, injury, deformity, or pain; and provided that the term “treatment” shall include custodial and rehabilitative care incident to infirmity, developmental disability or old age.
Such inventory and all related information shall be maintained in a form usable by the general public in a designated office of the department, shall constitute a public record, and shall be coordinated with information collected by the department under other provisions of law, federal census information, and other vital statistics from reliable sources; provided, however, that any item of information which is confidential or privileged in nature shall not be regarded as a public record under this section.
The department may require health care resources to provide information for the purposes of this section and may prescribe by regulation uniform reporting requirements. In prescribing such regulations the department shall strive to make any reports required under this section of mutual benefit to those providing as well as those using such information, and shall avoid placing any burdens on such providers which are not reasonably necessary to accomplish the purposes of this section.
The department shall publish analyses, reports and interpretations of information collected under this section in order to further public knowledge concerning the distribution and nature of health care resources in the commonwealth.
Agencies of the commonwealth which collect cost or other data concerning health care resources shall cooperate with the department in coordinating such data with information collected under this section.
In the performance of its duties, the department, subject to appropriation, may enter into such contracts with agencies of the federal government, the commonwealth or its political subdivisions, and public or private bodies, as it deems necessary; provided, however, that no information received under such a contract shall be published or relied upon for any purpose by the department unless the department has determined such information to be reasonably accurate by statistical sampling or other suitable techniques for measuring the reliability of information-gathering processes.
The department of public health may establish an Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis registry, by areas and regions of the commonwealth, with specific data to be obtained from urban, low and median income communities, and minority communities of the commonwealth.