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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

NPDB Query Fee Waiver Extended through September 30, 2020

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is committed to protecting the safety of our grantees and program participants and slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Learn how to prevent and control the spread of infection; access NIH COVID-19 safety training; and get the latest public health information: cdc.gov/coronavirus; coronavirus.gov; and usa.gov/coronavirus.

In response to President Trump's declaration of a national emergency and emergency declarations by all states, many health care entities have taken unprecedented steps regarding licensure portability and the deployment of skilled health workforce resources to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. These health care entities rely on the NPDB to make informed hiring, licensing, and credentialing decisions. To support these entities during this national emergency, the NPDB is temporarily waiving query fees (both one-time query and continuous query).

The temporary waiver of NPDB query fees for one-time queries, continuous queries, and continuous query renewals will continue through September 30, 2020. The NPDB will issue query credits to entities that submitted one-time queries, continuous queries, and continuous query renewals between June 1, 2020, and June 30, 2020.

FAQs

Note: All existing query policies are still in place, and no changes have been made to the NPDB's eligibility requirements for entities. Information reported to the NPDB is considered confidential and shall not be disclosed except with respect to professional review activity. Entities may not query on practitioners with whom they are not affiliated. However, entities that are registered with the NPDB and have entered (or may be entering) into an employment or affiliation relationship with a practitioner or to which a practitioner has applied for clinical privileges or appointment to the medical staff may query the NPDB.

Why is the NPDB waiving query fees?

In response to President Trump's declaration of a national emergency and emergency declarations by all states, many health care entities have taken unprecedented steps regarding licensure portability and the deployment of appropriate health workforce resources. These health care entities rely on the NPDB to make informed hiring, licensing, and credentialing decisions, while maintaining appropriate standards for the nation's health care workforce. In this time of national emergency, the NPDB is waiving its entity query fees to support these entities.

Will the NPDB waive query fees for my organization?

All registered active organizations eligible to query the NPDB will receive queries at no cost during the waived fee period. Remember, an organization may not query on practitioners with whom they are not affiliated.

Why does the NPDB charge query fees normally?

Although run by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the NPDB is legally required to recover the full cost of its operations, which it does through user (query) fees.

Will you extend the fee waiver as long as there is still a national emergency?

Because the NPDB has no source of funding other than query fees and federal law requires the NPDB to recover the full cost of its operations, we cannot offer a fee waiver indefinitely. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and HRSA recognizes the need to support entities in establishing the infrastructure necessary to maximize the portability of the nation's health workforce at this time.

I just ran a number of queries recently, can you credit my query?

Yes. For all queries submitted on or after June 1, 2020, but before July 1, 2020, the NPDB will issue query credits that can be used by the entity once the query fee waiver period has ended. Query credits do not expire.

Note: It may take several weeks for additional credits to be issued. Query credits have already been issued for queries submitted from March 1, 2020 through April 14, 2020.

How can I check my query credit balance?

To see your query credit balance, the administrator of your account should:

  • Sign in to the administrator account and select Continue, which brings you to the Select an Option page.
  • Select Administrator Options, then Purchase Query Credits.
  • Your query credit balance will display on the Purchase Query Credits screen.

How many queries can I submit?

During the waived fee period you may submit as many queries as needed for the oversight of your organization's affiliated practitioners. Please keep in mind that this fee waiver is designed to support the NPDB's registered entities in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the NPDB is required to recover the full cost of its operations through user fees.

My organization would like to run a query that is not related to COVID-19. How should we proceed?

Entities may proceed with routine queries during this time and fees will be waived. However, the fee waiver is intended to support the NPDB's registered entities in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, so we request that if you would normally run a query at a different time of year and it is not related to your COVID-19 response, you continue to run that query when you normally would.

Are all query fees waived?

Yes, all one-time and continuous query fees are waived during this time.

Should I use a specific query purpose for queries related to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yes. We have added a query purpose option for COVID-19 to identify queries run specifically to support your organization's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Query fees will be waived at this time regardless of the query purpose selected.

Can I update my query reason to COVID-19?

No. You cannot update the query reason after a query is submitted, but we would appreciate you sending an email to the NPDB Customer Service Center. Please provide your entity information, the date of the queries, the total number of queries, and the number of queries related to COVID-19.

Are self-query fees waived?

No. Self-queries are not eligible for the waiver. The waiver only includes continuous queries and one-time queries from registered health care entities

I enter my credit card information each time I submit a query instead of storing it in the NPDB system. Will I still need to enter my credit card information while the waiver is being offered?

If you login and submit your query directly with the NPDB, the payment screen will be bypassed and you will not need to enter your credit card information to query. If you access the information in the NPDB indirectly (through your own credentialing software), you may be required to enter a payment method. However, no NPDB charges will be incurred during the fee waiver period.

I am a newly registered entity. Will my query fees be waived?

All one-time and continuous query fees are waived during this time.

My organization has never registered with the NPDB. How do I get access?

To determine your organization's eligibility and to register with the NPDB, please visit our Organization Registration page.

Does the requirement for hospitals to query the NPDB still apply for disaster privileges in this time of national emergency?

Yes. The NPDB's underlying statutes make no distinction between various types of privileges. The requirement that hospitals must query the NPDB "at the time a physician or licensed health care practitioner applies to be on the medical staff (courtesy or otherwise) of, or for clinical privileges at, the hospital..." applies to all granting of privileges, including emergency, disaster, and temporary privileges. The NPDB is a valuable workforce tool that assists in promoting quality health care by providing relevant information to those making critical hiring, privileging, credentialing, and licensing decisions. We provide most query responses to eligible entities in near-real time (just a few seconds) and can help identify previous damaging performance that may not have been disclosed by the practitioner, making it an excellent source of information in times of emergency.

The NPDB's statutes only require hospitals to query. For questions concerning the current status of NPDB querying recommendations or mandates by accrediting bodies, such as the Joint Commission, NCQA, URAC, or DNV-GL, we recommend contacting the accrediting organization directly.

CMS is waiving certain Medical Staff requirements to allow for physicians whose privileges will expire to continue practicing at a hospital. Does this mean I can delay querying the NPDB until we reappoint the physician?

No. The NPDB's underlying statutes state that a hospital querying on physicians or any practitioner on the medical staff, or who has been granted clinical privileges, must occur once every two years. Not performing required queries potentially exposes the hospital to litigation risk as any hospital which does not perform a mandatory query is presumed to have knowledge of any information reported to the NPDB concerning this health care practitioner. To alleviate this concern, the NPDB suggests hospitals use the NPDB's continuous query service and keep practitioners enrolled.

Credentialing Software FAQs

What code should we enter in the query purpose field for queries related to the COVID-19 pandemic?

A new query purpose code is available for the duration of the fee waiver. If the query is being performed specifically in support of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can indicate that by entering X in the data element. Query fees will be waived at this time regardless of the query purpose selected.

What should we enter for payment type to have fees waived?

Please continue to use the payment type code you normally would. A valid payment type will still be required in the submission file, but no payment will be charged during the query fee waiver period.

Teleconferences

HRSA conducted two teleconferences during the initial temporary waiver fee period (March 1, 2020, through May 31, 2020). HRSA has extended the waiver period through September 30, 2020. As a result, the dates discussed in the teleconferences have been extended. All other information provided in the teleconferences is applicable to the entire waiver period.

April 23, 2020 Replay Dial-in: 800-677-5855
April 16, 2020 Replay Dial-in: 866-463-2176
Teleconference Slides (PDF - 355 KB)

NPDB Website Resources