Attorneys and plaintiffs representing themselves are granted access to NPDB reports under specific conditions, enabling them to collect the information necessary for their case. Because confidentiality and privacy are of the utmost importance, information is made available only under the circumstances listed below.
Who Can Access What?
Plaintiff’s Attorney and Individuals Representing Themselves
Under certain limited conditions, a plaintiff’s attorney or a plaintiff representing himself or herself (pro se) is allowed to obtain information from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). These conditions are: A medical malpractice action or claim must have been filed by the plaintiff against a hospital in a State or Federal court or other adjudicative body and the practitioner on whom the information is requested must be named in the action or claim. Any information obtained may be used only in the litigation against the hospital and not against the practitioner.
Note: Access to the Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank (HIPDB) is not granted to attorneys or plaintiffs pro se.
You may obtain NPDB information only on the specified practitioner after evidence is submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services demonstrating that the hospital failed to submit a mandatory query to the NPDB on the practitioner named in the action. Evidence that the hospital failed to request information from the NPDB must be obtained by the plaintiff from the hospital through discovery in the litigation process. This evidence is not provided by the NPDB.
A plaintiff’s attorney or plaintiff pro se must mail the following to the NPDB to request access:
- A letter requesting authorization to obtain information.
- Evidence supporting the fact the hospital did not make a mandatory query to the NPDB regarding the practitioner named in the action or claim.
- Identifying information about the practitioner on whom the attorney or plaintiff pro se wishes to query.Note: The plaintiff’s attorney or plaintiff pro se must submit a separate request for information disclosure for each practitioner named in the action or claim.
An approved query request entitles the plaintiff’s attorney or plaintiff pro se to receive only that information available in the NPDB at the time the hospital was required but failed to query and is limited to a one-time-only disclosure. It also includes information on any reports that were subsequently voided.
Defense attorneys are not permitted access to the NPDB under Title IV or to the HIPDB because the defendant practitioner is permitted to perform his or her own self query.
The information obtained from the NPDB on the practitioner can be used only with respect to a legal action or claim against the hospital, not against the practitioner. Any further disclosure or use violates the confidentiality provisions of Title IV and subjects the plaintiff’s attorney and/or the plaintiff pro se to a civil monetary penalty of up to $11,000.