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The trade group representing institutional investors urges Securities and Exchange Commission not to weaken plans to make auditors publicly accountable for their work
An industry group, which represents some of the US' largest investors is urging regulators not to back away from plans to require auditors to sign the financial statements they prepare for companies.
In my 13th August "Trade" column, I wrote of a struggle between the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), which regulates the accounting industry, and the Securities and Exchange Commission over reforms to auditor disclosure. The PCAOB, and many accounting reformers and investment groups had pushed for this change.
The accounting industry and the SEC have resisted. The negotiations have been going on for years.
In a letter dated 15th August, Jeff Mahoney, the general counsel for the Council of Institutional Investors, a non-profit that represents investment organizations with more than $3 trillion in assets under management, wrote, "to express our surprise and disappointment in the report earlier this week in the New York Times that the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board has decided to dramatically weaken" the reforms.
The bodies are coming to a compromise, with final rules slated to come out next month. As part of the compromise, the accounting firms will be required to disclose who the lead audit partner is, but the partner will not be required to sign the audited financial statements, according to a person familiar with the decision. It's not yet decided in what manner the auditing firms will disclose the lead engagement partner's name.
Easy availability of medical records will help patients avoid approaching courts or quasi judicial bodies for remedy
The Law Ministry on Thursday said, patients have a right to get their medical records from hospitals and the Health Ministry should issue instructions to ensure that such documents are not denied.
Against the backdrop of a Central Information Commission (CIC) judgement ordering disclosure of information to a former official of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the Law Ministry has pointed out that “most of the time the hospital authorities do not provide details of the medical record or the treatment given to a patient.”
Nisha Priya Bhatia, a former official of RAW, had sought her medical records from the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences where she was admitted on orders of Delhi High Court.
In a letter to Union Health Secretary Lov Verma, Union Law Secretary PK Malhotra has said that according to the CIC’s 23rd July order, a patient has a right to his/her medical record which is rooted in Article 19 and 21 of the Constitution and the hospital authorities have a duty to provide the same under RTI Act, Consumer Protection Act, Medical Council Act and world medical ethics dealt with constitutional rights.
“If there are existing instructions to this effect, the same need to be reiterated and the concerned authorities sensitised about the same,” Malhotra wrote.
He said if there are no existing instructions, the Health Ministry may consider issuing suitable orders or rules so that patients get copies of their medical record including details of treatment, “as a matter of right.”
Sources in the Law Ministry said, easy availability of medical records will help patients avoid approaching courts or quasi judicial bodies for remedy.
He said the instructions can be issued based on the CIC order.