The National Practitioner Data Bank is a database maintained by the federal government which records important information about doctors and other medical professionals. Specifically, the database serves as a kind of “rap sheet” for doctors, recording any disciplinary actions against them, whether imposed by the state licensing board, by Medicare or Medicaid or even by a hospital which chooses to revoke or suspend the doctor’s privileges to place patients there. The database even includes records of paid medical malpractice claims.
Generally speaking, the NPBD is reserved for the use of others in the medical community and is not available to the public. However, in certain circumstances, a victim injured by medical malpractice in Georgia can use information in the NPBD.
To give an overview, a plaintiff can use information in the NPBD in a case against a negligent hospital, for example. However, information in the NPBD cannot be used against an individual medical professional. In fact, those who violate this rule can face substantial fines of well over $20,000.
In order to obtain information directly from the NPBD, the plaintiff will need to file a malpractice case naming both the individual doctor and the hospital. The plaintiff will need to demonstrate that the hospital itself did not submit its own query to the NPBD about the medical professional. If the hospital did submit a query, then, presumably, information about the doctor’s track record should be available through the hospital. Getting this information can be complicated, so anyone who believes they have a medical malpractice claim may need to get more details about their potential legal options.