National Practitioner Data Bank
|Source||U.S. Department of Health and Human Services|
|File Size||entire US — 262 MB|
|Dates Covered||September 1990 – August 2011|
IRE/NICAR processed this data set from August and is making it publicly available online to anyone. Simply go to http://www.ire.org/npdp/ and download the entire dataset (US.zip) or a state slice.
Please read all files pertaining to the data set before using it. In particular the Readme1101-DAT.pdf provides information for this data set in terms of record layout and definitions of terms.
The National Practitioner Data Bank Public Use Files contains information about doctors and other health care practitioners who have had medical malpractice suits filed or adverse action taken against them. The information has been redacted or altered to remove details that could identify a particular practitioner.
This database includes information on malpractice payment and adverse licensure, clinical privileges, professional society membership and adverse actions concerning physicians, dentists and other licensed health care professionals. Authorized health care organizations, insurance companies and government authorities can access the full version of the National Practitioners Databank for background checks or to enter new reports.
Although names are not included in the public version, some news organizations have been able to use this database with other public data, including court records, to determine the identity of individual practitioners in the past. Since that time, however, the public use file has been changed to obscure potentially identifying details. For example, the field indicating year of medical school graduation has been changed to a decade, i.e. 1980s or 1990s, and malpractice award totals are given in ranges, not exact figures.
Record layouts and samples of this database
|Main documentation (readme.txt)||17.9 KB|
|Data sample (npdb100.xls)||95.0 KB|
|Record layout (layout.txt)||16.5 KB|
|Schema (NPDB.pdf)||193.3 KB|
- National Practitioner Data Bank, etc
This tipsheet is made up of a list of websites where you can find information on medical practitioners ranging from medical licensing data to malpractice and disciplinary information.
- Medical Malpractice
This tipsheet is comprised of a list of resources on medical malpractice. Included are sites where you can find disciplinary data and records, databases of medical malpractice settlements, and civil suits.
- Investigating Medical Malpractice
This tipsheet lists website that can help reporters get information about doctors and their histories of medical malpractice claims. The list includes the Federation of State Medical Boards and the National Practitioners Databank. All together there are seven websites listed.
- How well do you know your doctor?
Nevada is experiencing a “medical malpractice crisis” in which doctors are leaving the state in droves because their malpractice premiums have skyrocketed. Frank Mullen realizes that Nevadans could find out more about a contractor or car mechanic’s legal record than a legal record of their doctors’ malpractice settlements. The Nevada legislature recently reformed this, but still, the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners’ information about doctors is often incomplete and sometimes wrong. The newspaper reviewed databases and documents, and cracked the code of a federal medical database.
- White Coats, Dark Secrets: Dangerous Doctors
This series investigates several doctors who, despite multiple malpractice suits and disciplinary action, continue to practice medicine. McIntire and Dolan examine the arguments for and against making the National Practitioner Data Bank, a list of disciplinary actions against doctors, open to the public. The reporters write about several patients who have been permanently damaged or killed in the care of doctor’s whose names are in that database.
- Special Treatment: Disciplining Doctors
Hospitals and state medical boards across the United States have given physicians repeated chances to keep practicing, despite well-documented alcohol and drug problems. Even doctors that have criminal records do not have their doctor’s licenses revoked. This is due partially to the practice that allows doctors to move to another state and start a new job before the paperwork being slowly processed caught up with them. It is also due to loopholes in the National Practitioner Data Bank.
- Greene County Prison Land Deal
Using a multitude of public records, the News & Observer uncovered how a “politically connected state transportation official and two state correctional officials” influenced the sale of land for a new prison for their own personal benefit. The resulting series of stories shows the political influence exerted by the transportation official not only on the matter of the prison sale, but on other matters as well such as hirings and promotions within the Department of Corrections. Among other things, at the same time the department wanted to “eliminate the positions that oversee construction, purchasing and personnel,” even the state’s own legislators had no idea their budget proposal included paying off three top officials ready to retire with nearly $200,000. The paper was also able to track — and subsequently expose — the intricate web of transactions designed to hide the massive profit the three were making from the prison land deal.
- The New Medicine
This series investigates hundreds of cosmetic surgeons who have histories of little training, several medical malpractice suits, criminal convictions, etc. The newspaper analyzed computer data and found several thousand Florida doctors practicing without medical malpractice insurance.
- Operating in the Dark: NY’s Most Sued Docs
This investigative report reveals 15 of the most sued doctors in New York. The Daily News analyzed 10 years’ worth of records and suits, and found that these 15 cumulated 412 malpractice suites and their insurance firms spent more than $26 million in compensation for the doctor’s patients.