Lipp Law has attorneys licensed in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC, and can assist with any employment matters in those states. Relatedly, Lipp Law has experience handling National Practitioner Data Bank report cases.
What is the National Practitioner Data Bank?
The National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) is a database, established by Congress and operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, containing reports about health care practitioners, including physicians, nurses, dentists, counselors, and pharmacists. NPDB reports provide background information to interested, eligible parties looking to employ or affiliate with health care practitioners. These reports may create hurdles for health care practitioners’ careers, but the potential harm can be mitigated with the assistance of legal counsel.
When Can NPDB Reports Get Filed?
Under certain circumstances, a health care practitioner’s employer is required to submit a report to the NPDB. For example, a NPDB report is required when a payment is made resulting from a medical malpractice settlement or a judgment against a practitioner. Additionally, suspension, revocation, or other adverse action taken by employers, state and federal authorities, or professional societies with regard to a health care professional’s license, clinical privileges, or certifications can also trigger reporting. The report does not expire, and the NPDB does not have authority to make changes to a report—only the reporting organization can make changes to a NPDB report.
How Does Lipp Law Assist Health Care Practitioners with NPDB Reports?
Ideally, a health care professional under investigation and potentially facing disciplinary actions or license restrictions would retain an attorney at the outset to prevent an adverse event that triggers a report. An attorney’s assistance early in the reporting process may likewise mitigate the negative effects that a NPDB report has on a health care practitioner’s career. An attorney can negotiate and work with a reporting organization to ensure the facts in the report are constructive, accurate, and mitigate the harm to a practitioner’s career.
NPRB REPORT Q&A WITH LIPP LAW
Q: I am the Subject of a NPDB Report. What Can I Do to Protect Myself?
A: If you are the subject of a NPDB Report, you can provide what is called a Subject Statement. The Subject Statement becomes a part of the report and provides additional information to clarify any information provided in the report. Once a reported health care practitioner adds or edits a Subject Statement in the NPDB, it is sent to the reporting organization, all querying organizations that received a report copy in the preceding three years, and any future queriers. An attorney is a useful resource at this stage to ensure the Subject Statement is thorough and drafted to address all factual and procedural issues with the report.
Q: I Already Provided a Subject Statement. Is there Anything Else I Can Do to Protect Myself?
A: A Dispute Resolution process is also available to health practitioners reported to the NPDB. This process allows the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which delegates its authority to the Division of Practitioner Data Bank, to determine:
(1) whether the report was submitted in accordance with NPDB reporting requirements,
(2) whether the report accurately describes the action taken, and
(3) whether the reporter’s basis for the action is reflected in the written record.
This process does not provide for a review of the merits underlying the action or correction of due process issues. Often, a health care practitioner entering the Dispute Resolution may also submit a Subject Statement—they are not limited to one or the other. The Dispute Resolution process is an avenue that practitioners should be aware of, and an attorney can assist with navigating the procedures and processes to do so.
While a NPDB report may seem like a career-changer, there are avenues available for mitigating the potential harm and presenting a comprehensive account of the facts underlying a report. The assistance of an attorney experienced in responding to NPDB reports eases the burden for a health care professional by offering procedural and substantive guidance through the process. If you need assistance with a NPDB report matter, you can contact Lipp Law for legal advice.