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Chapter 5: Who and What is Reported

The types of practitioners reported to the NPDB include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Physicians (MDs and DOs)
  • Dentists
  • Professional nurses (RNs and APRNs)
  • Para-professionals
  • Assisted devices services practitioners
  • Chiropractors
  • Complementary medicine practitioners
  • Counselors and marriage or family therapists
  • Dental assistants and hygienists
  • Dietitians and nutritionists
  • Emergency medical technicians
  • Medical assistants
  • Occupational therapists and assistants
  • Optometrists
  • Pharmacists and assistants
  • Physical therapists and assistants
  • Physician assistants
  • Podiatrists and assistants
  • Psychologists and assistants and associates
  • Respiratory therapists and technologists
  • Speech and language pathologists and audiologists
  • Social workers
  • Other technologists and technicians
  • Other rehab or restorative service practitioners
  • Lay midwives (non-nurse)
  • Health care facility administrators

Over the years, the number of reports processed annually by the NPDB has increased substantially. Between 2009 and 2010, the number of reports submitted annually to the NPDB more than doubled (Table 4). This dramatic increase may, in part, represent the impact of implementing Section 1921 as well as the submission of several multi-year report files. The implementation of Section 1921 coupled with the increased efforts on the part of the DPDB's Compliance Branch produced large numbers of Adverse Action Reports processed in 2010.

Table 4: NPDB Reports by Type and Processed Year, 1990 - 2012

Processed Year All Number of Reports
Malpractice
Number of Reports
Adverse Action
Percent of All Reports
Malpractice
Percent of All Reports
Adverse Action
1990 2,320 2,108 212 90.9% 9.1%
1991 21,086 17,772 3,314 84.3 15.7
1992 23,498 19,751 3,747 84.1 15.9
1993 23,284 19,242 4,042 82.6 17.4
1994 24,295 19,647 4,648 80.9 19.1
1995 22,197 17,677 4,520 79.6 20.4
1996 23,940 18,897 5,043 78.9 21.1
1997 23,126 18,264 4,862 79.0 21.0
1998 22,348 17,296 5,052 77.4 22.6
1999 24,787 18,677 6,110 75.3 24.7
2000 61,832 19,131 42,701 30.9 69.1
2001 36,784 20,353 16,431 55.3 44.7
2002 39,319 18,817 20,502 47.9 52.1
2003 42,173 18,683 23,490 44.3 55.7
2004 38,627 17,549 21,078 45.4 54.6
2005 39,395 17,150 22,245 43.5 56.5
2006 40,041 15,703 24,338 39.2 60.8
2007 39,953 14,457 25,496 36.2 63.8
2008 52,746 14,095 38,651 26.7 73.3
2009 43,344 14,590 28,754 33.7 66.3
2010 115,521 14,399 101,122 12.5 87.5
2011 85,554 13,308 72,246 15.6 84.4
2012 76,839 12,598 64,241 16.4 83.6
Total 923,009 380,164 542,845 41.2% 58.8%

Note: Processed Year is the year the report was submitted to the NPDB. 1990 is a partial year, September - December. Totals include reports from the 50 States, the District of Columbia, Armed Forces installations, and the territories.

For nearly every year in the past 10 years, the number of medical malpractice payments reported to the NPDB for all practitioners has decreased (Figure 7). Between 2003 and 2012, the number of medical malpractice reports decreased 34 percent, declining steadily from 18,535 to 12,152.

Figure 7: All Practitioners Medical Malpractice Payment Reports, 2003 - 2012

Figure 7 All Practitioners Medical Malpractice Payment Reports Line Graph.

Note: Includes disclosable reports in the NPDB as of the end of the calendar year 2012.

In contrast to medical malpractice payment reporting, the number of Adverse Action Reports for all practitioners has increased nearly every year in the past 10 years (Figure 8). Between 2003 and 2012, the number of Adverse Action Reports increased 65 percent, from 27,780 to 45,830.

Figure 8: All Practitioner Adverse Action Reports, 2003 - 2012

Figure 8, All Practitioner Adverse Action Reports line graph.

Note: Includes disclosable reports in the NPDB as of the end of calendar year 2012; voided reports have been excluded. Adverse Action Reports include reinstatements, restorations, state licensure, clinical privilege, and professional society membership actions, Medicare and Medicaid exclusions, and DEA actions. Since the implementation of Section 1921 in September 2010, state licensure reports include reports for both practitioners and organizations.

In the past 10 years, the number of medical malpractice payments reported to the NPDB attributed to physicians and dentists has decreased steadily from 17,088 to 10,585, representing a 38 percent decline (Figure 9).

Figure 9: Physician and Dentist Medical Malpractice Payment Reports, 2003 - 2012

Figure 9, Physician and Dentist Medical Malpractice Payment Reports Line Graph

Note: Includes disclosable reports in the NPDB as of the end of calendar year 2012; voided reports have been excluded.

In the past 10 years, the number of Adverse Action Reports attributed to physicians and dentists presented a different trend from that of medical malpractice payments. Between 2003 and 2012, the number of adverse actions reported to the NPDB related to physicians and dentists increased from 6,149 to 7,765, representing a 26 percent increase (Figure 10).

Figure 10: Physician and Dentist Adverse Action Reports, 2003 - 2012

Figure 10, Physician and Dentists Adverse Actions Report totals by year line graph.

Note: Includes disclosable reports in the NPDB as of the end of calendar year 2012; voided reports have been excluded. Adverse Action Reports include reinstatements, restorations, state licensure, clinical privilege, and professional society membership actions, Medicare and Medicaid exclusions, and DEA actions.

The number of adverse actions reported to NPDB related to nurses in 2012 was nearly double that for 2003 (22,741 and 12,289 respectively). The number of reports increased steadily between 2003 and 2005 and then remained relatively stable through 2009 (Figure 11). Between 2009 and 2011, the number of adverse actions reported to NPDB related to nurses increased 25 percent (from 16,951 to 22,597) reflecting the implementation of Section 1921.

Figure 11: Nurses Adverse Action Reports 2003 - 2012

Figure 11 Nurses Adverse Action Reports by Year Line Graph

Note: Includes disclosable reports in the NPDB as of the end of calendar year 2012; voided reports have been excluded. Adverse Action Reports include reinstatements, restorations, state licensure, clinical privilege, and professional society membership actions, Medicare and Medicaid exclusions, and DEA actions.

Between 2003 and 2012, the number of adverse actions reported to NPDB related to practitioners other than physicians, dentists, and nurses increased 64 percent (Figure 12). After increasing steadily between 2003 and 2011 (from 9,342 to 16,175), the number of adverse actions reported to NPDB related to practitioners other than physicians, dentists, and nurses declined in 2012 (15,324).

Figure 12: Other Practitioner Adverse Action Reports 2003 - 2012

Figure 12, Line graph of Number of reports and action year for other practitioner adverse action reports.

Note: Includes disclosable reports in the NPDB as of the end of calendar year 2012; voided reports have been excluded. Adverse Action Reports include reinstatements, restorations, state licensure, clinical privilege, and professional society membership actions, Medicare and Medicaid exclusions, and DEA actions.

Practitioners on whom reports were filed have the right to dispute the accuracy and the validity of the reports filed on them. Information about the process of disputing reports submitted to the NPDB is available on NPDB's website. The number of disputed Adverse Action Reports and Medical Malpractice Payment Reports is provided in Appendix E.