Bad Doctors Database Still Off Limits to Public

For Immediate Release

Bad Doctors Database Still Off Limits to Public

WASHINGTON - Thanks
to a tip from Barbara Feder Ostrov, deputy editor of
ReportingonHealth.org, the joint Center for Public Integrity and
Sunlight Foundation Data Mine project has highlighted the shortcomings of the National Practitioner Data Bank
(NPDB). The NPDB was created by a 1986 law to log disciplinary actions,
malpractice payments, license revocations and loss of clinical
privileges involving physicians and other health professionals. The
database was intended to help keep tabs on incompetent or negligent
physicians who moved across state borders.

However,
while aggregate data in the NPDB is publicly accessible, lobbying by
the American Medical Association blocked the public from viewing
individual doctors' histories. Only authorized users, such as hospital
administrators, have full access to the database.

AMA
spokeswoman Katherine Hatwell said the organization opposes making
names public because the database "is riddled with duplicate entries
[and] inaccurate data." Physicians' credentials and disciplinary
histories are available through "state-based systems already in place,"
she said. A Data Mine review of the Federation of State Medical Boards'
website showed its database lacks some information in the NPDB and
charges a fee of $9.95 per name searched.

The Data Mine is a new online series by the Center for Public Integrity and the Sunlight Foundation
that identifies inaccessible or difficult to use federal government
information. Want to help unveil federal data that should be made
public?

Email your tips to: datamine@publicintegrity.org and you will be publicly credited on the Center's website. 

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The Center for Public Integrity is a nonprofit organization dedicated to producing original, responsible investigative journalism on issues of public concern. The Center is non-partisan and non-advocacy. We are committed to transparent and comprehensive reporting both in the United States and around the world.

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