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Executive Summary

The National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) was created by Title IV of the Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986, Public Law 99-660 (HCQIA), as amended, and was implemented in 1990. The NPDB is overseen by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Bureau of Health Professions (BHPr), Division of Practitioner Data Banks (DPDB).

The NPDB's initial purposes were to (1) collect and disseminate information about physicians and dentists to prevent incompetent or unprofessional practitioners from moving from one jurisdiction to another without disclosure or discovery of previously damaging or incompetent performance, and (2) promote professional peer review activities. The overarching intent was to improve patient safety and quality of care. Therefore, Title IV requires medical malpractice payers, hospitals, medical and dental licensing boards, and certain other health care entities to report to the NPDB adverse actions taken against physicians and dentists. The implementation of Section 1921 of the Social Security Act on March 1, 2010, expanded state licensure reporting requirements to include all health care practitioners, not just physicians and dentists. This Annual Report describes HRSA's increased efforts during 2012 to educate NPDB reporters about new reporting requirements. The report also highlights data for 2012, and it provides trend data covering the past 10 years.

In 2012, the NPDB expanded its research offerings to include a new Data Analysis Tool that resides on the NPDB's website. This statistical application permits users to perform specific data analyses and create customized data tables. The website also was updated to include 10 years of statistical data in tabular and graphical form.

The NPDB continued to implement system enhancements throughout 2012. During this time, several Federal Register notices were released. One notice announced changes to the Privacy Act exemption for the NPDB, another invited comments regarding the merger of the Health Integrity and Protection Data Bank (HIPDB) with the NPDB, and a third requested comments on the proposed Survey of Eligible Users of the NPDB, a project launched that same year.

As part of a strategic planning effort, the NPDB began several key initiatives to identify specific high-value opportunities for technology enhancements. The NPDB also launched feasibility studies of new technologies that have the potential to generate significant efficiencies for customers and internal staff.

Also in 2012, the NPDB released the National Practitioner Data Bank 2010 Annual Report, which is available on the NPDB website. HRSA will sunset the NPDB Annual Report, in its current format in 2012. All information contained in the NPDB Annual Report can be found at https://www.npdb.hrsa.gov.