National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB)

Why the NPDB Was Created

The legislation that led to the creation of the NPDB was enacted because the U.S. Congress believed that the increasing occurrence of medical malpractice litigation and the need to improve the quality of medical care had become nationwide problems that warranted greater efforts than any individual State could undertake. The intent is to improve the quality of health care by encouraging State licensing boards, hospitals and other health care entities, and professional societies to identify and discipline those who engage in unprofessional behavior; and to restrict the ability of incompetent physicians, dentists, and other health care practitioners to move from State to State without disclosure or discovery of previous medical malpractice payment and adverse action history. Adverse actions can involve licensure, clinical privileges, professional society membership, and exclusions from Medicare and Medicaid.

The NPDB is primarily an alert or flagging system intended to facilitate a comprehensive review of health care practitioners' professional credentials. The information contained in the NPDB is intended to direct discrete inquiry into, and scrutiny of, specific areas of a practitioner's licensure, professional society memberships, medical malpractice payment history, and record of clinical privileges. The information contained in the NPDB should be considered together with other relevant data in evaluating a practitioner's credentials; it is intended to augment, not replace, traditional forms of credentials review.

Access to Information

Access to information in the NPDB is available to entities that meet the eligibility requirements defined in the provisions of P.L. 99-660 and the NPDB regulations PDF Document. In order to access information, entities must first register with the Data Bank.

NPDB information is not available to the general public. However, information in a form that does not identify any particular entity or practitioner is available.


Information reported to the NPDB is considered confidential and shall not be disclosed except as specified in the NPDB regulations. The Privacy Act of 1974, protects the contents of Federal systems of records such as those contained in the NPDB from disclosure, unless the disclosure is for a routine use of the system of records as published annually in the Federal Register. The published routine uses of NPDB information do not allow for disclosure of information to the general public.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG), Health and Human Services (HHS), has the authority to impose civil money penalties on those who violate the confidentiality provisions of Title IV. Persons, organizations, or entities that receive information either directly or indirectly are subject to the confidentiality provisions and the imposition of a civil money penalty of up to $11,000 for each offense if they violate those provisions.

For more information on the NPDB, see the: