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The Impact of the National Practitioner Data Bank on Licensing Actions by State Medical Licensing Boards

JHHSA, Vol. 33 No. 1, (2010)

The United States Congress mandated the establishment of the National Practitioner Data Bank in large part to decrease the likelihood that errant individuals might be able to avoid detection by licensing boards and practice medicine. We use a decade of longitudinal data (1985-94), for each of the 50 states, to evaluate the Bank’s impact on state licensing board actions, during the four years following its 1990 birth. The results of a pooled, time-series analysis reveal that medical board restrictions on physicians’ practices increased substantially following the creation of the Data Bank. We conclude that the increase was likely due to the licensing boards taking actions against delinquent physicians who had previously slipped through cracks in the regulatory system or who had earlier received warnings or administrative fines.

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