HHS offers conditional public access to data bank records

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Dec. 5, 2011

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

The Dept. of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration in November restored public access to deidentified National Practitioner Data Bank records of adverse actions against physicians such as medical liability payments, medical board disciplinary actions and peer review sanctions. But that access will come with the restriction that reporters and others must agree not to use the information to identify individual physicians, according to a notice posted Nov. 9 by HRSA Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, PhD, RN.

The public-use file was taken down Sept. 1 after HRSA learned that it had been used by a reporter, in combination with court records, to identify actions reported to the data bank about a doctor in Kansas. Consumer-advocacy and journalism groups protested the move and said the new conditional-access rules veered close to prior restraint on freedom of the press. Consumers Union said the public should have unrestricted access to data bank records, including the names of physicians with a history of harming patients.

The American Medical Association, however, took a different position. Posting the public-use file can mislead the public and may be illegal, AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, MD, wrote in a Sept. 23 letter to Wakefield.

Note: This item originally appeared at

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn