Responding to the backlash to shutting down public access, Health & Human Services on Wednesday reopened the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) but with some restrictions. The NPDB, the national database for medical malpractice reports and disciplinary action on thousands of providers, now has a data use agreement. The agreement spells out that users must only use the data for statistical analysis and specifically not to identify providers.
Started in 1986, the NPDB maintains information of about 800,000 license and hospital disciplinary reports, including past malpractice payments, sanctions, and medical reviews. In September, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) removed its public use data file, ending the 10-year tradition of information transparency. The public use data file (PUF) had de-identified information, but over time, journalists could glean from the data patterns about individual practitioners.
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