National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Government shuts down public access to physician’s malpractice database

From the Injury Board Blog Network:

A government health agency has revoked the public’s access to a database of healthcare practitioner’s malpractice and other negative history, even though its records are anonymous, due to the pressure of one physician after a reporter figured out which record was his and published a story about him.

Established in 1986, the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) is a database of healthcare practitioner’s malpractice payments, disciplinary actions and other negative history for use by hospitals, medical boards and insurers. From 1990 until September 1 of this year, there was also a Public Use File (PUF) of the database with healthcare practitioner names and identifying information omitted. According to The New York Times, the PUF of the database has “provided valuable information for many years to researchers and reporters investigating oversight of doctors, trends in disciplinary actions and malpractice awards. “