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Health Centers

Health centers provide primary health care services to patients, regardless of their ability to pay. Health centers are considered "other health care entities" for the purposes of querying and reporting to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). Health centers that have a formal peer review process meet the regulatory definition of a health care entity, and are therefore authorized as an eligible entity that is allowed to query and required to report to the NPDB.

Organizations must be authorized by federal law to register with the NPDB.

Attestation

Attestation is a process by which the NPDB works with its users to ensure that they understand all NPDB reporting requirements and that they are reporting as required by law. At this time, Health Center Program grantees and look-alikes are the only health centers asked to attest.

Health Centers should be familiar with the NPDB through their credentialing and privileging process, which requires they query the NPDB when hiring and credentialing practitioners. As part of their participation with the NPDB, health centers are required to report certain clinical privileges actions they take against physicians and dentists. Health centers registered with the NPDB will now take part in the attestation process, which is being added to the registration renewal.

Federal law requires health centers with a formal peer review process report certain clinical privileges actions taken against physicians and dentists. If your health center has taken any reportable clinical privileges actions, you must submit the report to the NPDB within 30 days of the date the action was taken. As part of NPDB's commitment to improving health care quality, entities that report these actions may be required to attest that they have submitted all reportable actions to the NPDB.

Every two years, as part of the registration renewal process, federally-funded health centers and look-alikes will be asked to attest as to whether or not all reportable clinical privileges actions have been submitted to the NPDB. If your health center is responsible for making privileging and/or credentialing decisions for other service delivery sites, those sites will be included in the attestation.

The health center's Data Bank administrator receives a notification when the attestation is due. The Data Bank administrator completes the attestation form on behalf of the person who can attest whether or not all reportable actions have been submitted to the NPDB.


The Data Bank administrator may or may not be authorized to attest. If not, he or she must:

  • Identify the proper person to attest,
  • Advise that person of his or her responsibilities, and
  • Submit the attestation form on the official's behalf.


The attesting official must:

  • Have access to all clinical privileges actions taken by the health center,
  • Determine if any of those actions were reportable according to NPDB regulations, and
  • Attest whether or not all reportable clinical privileges actions taken during the attestation timeframe were submitted to the NPDB.



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All health centers with a formal peer review process should be registered with the NPDB. Even if your health center uses an agent or Credentials Verification Organization (CVO) to query the NPDB, your health center must first register with the NPDB. After the registration process is complete, you may designate the agent or CVO to act on behalf of your organization.

Note: If your health center is not owned and operated by a government agency, you should select "Private Sector Organization" on the Organization Information page, even if your organization receives federal funds. Also, all health centers should select "Other Health Care Entity" in the Eligibility Questionnaire, since they provide health care services, but are not hospitals.

What do I need in order to register?

  • Your health center's Tax Identification Number;
  • A Data Bank administrator (an individual from your organization who will be responsible for managing and accessing the health center's NPDB account); and
  • A certifying official (who can also be a Data Bank administrator), responsible for certifying the legitimacy of your health center's registration.

 

Under NPDB regulations, health centers may query the NPDB. Health Center Program grantees, as well as look-alikes are required to query the NPDB before granting privileges to practitioners.

Health centers often serve the communities with the highest health risks and least access to care. Health centers should query the NPDB to assure that they are hiring the highest quality staff in order to provide the best quality care to their patients. While a report in the NPDB does not necessarily indicate on its own whether or not a clinician is qualified, taken in conjunction with other elements of an applicant's experience and history, NPDB reports are a valuable screening tool to alert the health center of potential concerns or areas for additional inquiry. A health center's authority to query is defined in Title IV of Public Law 99-660.

What is querying?

A query is a search for information in the NPDB regarding a health care practitioner or organization. The NPDB collects information on medical malpractice payments and certain adverse actions through reports submitted by entities eligible to report. This information is disclosed to entities eligible to query. Organizations must be registered with the NPDB and authorized to query for NPDB information. The ability of an organization to query, and the types of NPDB information they may receive through querying, is determined by law. When an entity submits a query, the NPDB releases only the information they are lawfully allowed to access, based on their NPDB registration.

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Health centers are required to report certain clinical privileges actions taken against physicians and dentists, though they can also report those same actions when taken against other health care providers, such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Health centers not covered by the Federal Torts Claims Act may also be required to report medical malpractice payments. Health centers report to the NPDB under the authority of Title IV of Public Law 99-660 and 45 CFR 60. More information about what and when to report is available at Reporting to the NPDB.

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