The National Practitioner Data Bank

The Department of Health and Human Services maintains the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), a database which records restrictions placed on physicians' privileges to practice, payments made for malpractice, and a rescinding of their licenses.

A public version of the data in the NPDB is available online, but it does not use the names and addresses of doctors, or the bodies that file reports on them. Hospitals, medical boards, and other healthcare organizations can access information about specific practitioners, and any physician can access his or her own records in the data bank. The publicly available information includes data on report types; a doctor's field; malpractice allegation types; the severity of injuries; and adverse action classifications.

There is a data analysis tool on the NPDB's site which can be used to help review the data.

The Department of Health and Human Services states that information from the NPDB can only be used in a legal claim against a hospital, not against a practitioner. Attorneys who violate this rule can be fined up to $22,363 per incident. See this post. An attorney requesting NPDB information must present evidence that a hospital did not make the mandatory query of the NPDB about a practitioner that is named in an action.

The guidebook for the NPDB suggests that a deposition, interrogatory response, or response to a request for admissions may provide the needed evidence. The attorney will only be able to obtain the information available in the NPDB at the time when the hospital was obligated to run a query, or reports against a physician that were subsequently voided.