HHS Closes Off Public Access To National Practitioner Data Bank
By law, the records are supposed to be confidential, though available to researchers. However, in recent years, reporters across the country have managed to manipulate the data to reveal names of providers in stories. Patient advocacy groups are protesting the shutdown.
McClatchy/The Kansas City Star: Doctor Malpractice Data Is Removed From Public Access By HHS
Patient advocacy groups are protesting the government's shutdown of public access to data on malpractice and disciplinary actions involving thousands of doctors nationwide. The National Practitioner Data Bank maintains confidential records that state medical boards, hospitals and insurance plans use in granting licenses or staff privileges to doctors (Bavley, 9/14).
CQ HealthBeat: Public Malpractice Database Down For Retooling
Federal officials say they took down the public version of a federal database that provides information on malpractice and other disciplinary actions against health providers because contrary to federal law, information about individuals was getting out. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) took down the Public Use File of the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) on Sept. 1. Federal law requires that information from the database be available to researchers and for years the public file was used without problems. But recently, explained HRSA Communications Director Martin Kramer, reporters around the country have been able to manipulate the data in such a way as to unearth the names of doctors and other medical providers. And those names began appearing in news stories (Bunis, 9/13).
In other physician-related news -
Medscape: Organized Medicine Defends Top Pay for U.S. Physicians
Several leaders of organized medicine have responded to a new article reporting that U.S. physicians charge more and earn more than their international colleagues by saying that higher pay is necessary to draw the best candidates to the profession. "If you want to attract the best and the brightest, you need to pay them enough," said Kevin Bozic, MD, MBA, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, in an interview with Medscape Medical News (Lowes, 9/13).