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Data banks merged under Affordable Care Act

Washington—National Practitioner Data Bank query fees will remain the same and reporting requirements "essentially the same with some minor technical changes to ensure consistency in reporting" after the bank's May 6 merger with the Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank, bank officials said.

The 2010 Affordable Care Act required the elimination of duplication between the two data banks. Although the data banks were established for different purposes, overlap existed in some reporting and querying requirements and Congress intended to streamline operations in a single bank. NPDB operations were consolidated with those of the former HIPDB and information previously collected and disclosed by the HIPDB is now collected and disclosed by the NPDB.

The June 2013 Data Bank News offers merger information and links to resources including "Interpreting Self-Query Results – A Guide for Practitioners" and a "How to Get Started" guide for practitioners.

The NPDB or Data Bank, as it is identified post-merger, is a confidential information clearinghouse created by Congress under three primary statutes with the goals of improving health care quality, protecting the public and reducing health care fraud and abuse. The NPDB contains reports on health care practitioners, health care entities, providers and suppliers, which are submitted by certain eligible entities as required by law.

If the Data Bank receives a report on a dentist or physician, for example, the bank will offer the reported professional an opportunity to view the report. A Notification of a Report in the Data Bank and information about how to access the report are mailed to the subject of the report for review for accuracy.

Whether or not a report has been filed, there are two basic ways for dentists and other practitioners and organizations to interact with the Data Bank: the self-query and report response processes. A dentist or other health care practitioner, entity, provider and supplier may self-query the Data Bank at any time. The bank offers a self-query service and a help guide entitled How to Interpret Your Self-Query Results.