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Use of Private Agreements

Does the use of Private Agreements eliminate the reporting requirements for certain actions by state licensing boards?

Given the unique nature of state licensing board reporting policies and procedures, which enable the NPDB to identify actions taken by these boards, the NPDB is able to match these actions to reports in the NPDB and identify actions that should have been reported. During the efforts of the NPDB to improve the completeness and accuracy of reporting, occasionally actions have been identified by the NPDB that appear to be reportable, and a report is requested from the state for the action that was reported on the state's web site. In a small number of cases, the state has reported that, based on a private agreement signed by them and the practitioner, the action is not reportable. Often a copy of this agreement is provided that clearly states that the action will not be reported to the NPDB. However, the fact that a private agreement states that an action will not be reported to the NPDB has no bearing on whether it is reportable.

If an action meets the definition of either an "adverse action" or a "negative action or finding," it is reportable based on our implementing regulations at 45 CFR §§ 60.3 and 60.9. Regarding private agreements:

  • Since "negative actions or findings" are by definition publicly available, a private agreement would not be considered a negative action or finding.
  • "Adverse actions" must be taken as a result of a formal proceeding, but are not required to be publicly available. Therefore, if a state licensing or certification board takes an adverse action that is the result of a formal proceeding, it is reportable even if the action was taken through a private agreement. It is the action taken, rather than the method by which the action was taken, that determines whether the action must be reported.

States should not use language in private agreements negotiated with providers to avoid NPDB reporting requirements. The reportability is not negotiable, and the NPDB will continue to require reporting of such actions. As always, the goal of the NPDB is to have the most accurate and complete information available to those who query the NPDB, in order to protect patient safety and enhance the quality of health professionals practicing in the U.S.

In addition, if you have any questions about NPDB's reporting requirements, you can email NPDBpolicy@hrsa.gov.

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