Jeremy Kohler reports:
When a doctor ran into trouble in one state, the solution used to be simple:
Move to another state and start over.
Before 1990, there was no national tracking of malpractice or disciplinary actions by hospitals, licensing boards or professional societies. That changed after Congress established the National Practitioner Data Bank in 1986: a clearinghouse for hospitals, professional societies and state regulators to check doctors’ credentials.
The data bank was set up to be confidential. But a “public-use” file, scrubbed clean of identifying information, has been released each quarter by the federal Health Resources & Services Administration.
That database was removed Sept. 1 so that the government could make sure people can’t use it to find specific information about individual doctors.
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