Nat’l Practitioner Data Bank

The National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) is a centralized database to which groups engaged in professional review decisions are required to report. This information is considered confidential and may only be shared with hospitals, group medical practices, professional societies, PROs, selected state and federal agencies and affected practitioners for uses related to professional review activity or medical malpractice actions. Any entity making a payment in settlement of a malpractice claim must report this to the appropriate licensure board (which in turn forwards this information to the databank); likewise, all hospitals, HMOs, group practices or professional societies having a formal peer review mechanism must report to the state board all professional review actions that adversely affect clinical privileges for more than 30 days.

A centralized repository of information about disciplinary action was viewed as the best means to facilitate timely and accurate assessments of professional competence and to minimize the risk of health professionals who are stripped of their practice privileges in one state being able to simply move to another state and resume practice without anyone knowing about the past professional misconduct. The Duke Center for Health Policy has developed a draft working paper assessing the costs and benefits of the National Practitioner Data Bank (pdf).

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