HHS Removes Public Access to Physician Malpractice Info

The Department of Health & Human Services has shut down public access to its National Practitioner Data Bank, which holds information about healthcare providers such as malpractice histories, according to a Kansas City Star report.

The National Practitioner Data Bank houses confidential information used by state medical boards, hospitals and health insurance companies to grant privileges or licenses. The data includes identifiers as well as malpractice histories and disciplinary actions taken against each healthcare practitioner.


Public access to these records has been limited: Consumers were able to view records, but identifiers such as names and hospitals are removed. For increased security, the database also did not specify age or dollar amounts of malpractice settlements, rather using ranges such as age 40 to 49, according to the report.

HHS said it shut down public access to the database due to the media's ability to "triangulate" the confidential data with court records to find out otherwise classified information. "We have a responsibility to make sure under federal law that it remains confidential," an HHS spokesperson said.

HHS may re-establish limited public access of the data after a "thorough analysis of the data field," according to the report.

Related Articles on Medical Malpractice:

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Iowa Surgeon Agrees to Pay $5K to Settle Allegations His Care Caused 6 Deaths

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