New Rule Keeps Docs in the Dark about National Practitioner Data Bank Queries

Citing a need to prevent tampering of evidence in criminal investigations of physicians, a federal rule taking effect on December 23 will prevent physicians from receiving notice if law enforcement accesses information about them through the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), American Medical News reports.

Although only an estimated 1% of the total (20) NPDB queries are made from law enforcement annually, an unidentified national physician organization cited concerns that the exemption to the Privacy Act would "result in wasted law enforcement resources and would deny physicians due process."

Until the rule takes effect, physicians will continue to be notified if someone requests information about them from the Data Bank and have the right to object to anything they believe is inaccurate, Andrew B. Wachler, a healthcare lawyer who represents physicians on medical licensure and staff privilege issues, told amnews.

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Source: Fierce Practice Management