is a federal database providing information about mds accurate ii

Last time, we started discussing how consumers face something of an uphill battle when it comes to attempting to learn as much information as possible about physicians, particularly information that may cast them in an unfavorable light, or call their abilities or judgment into question.

Specifically, we discussed how not only are databases run by state licensing boards woefully devoid of information, but how recent reports have even determined the federal database available to consumers contains inaccurate — and possibly dangerous — information.

Here, these aforementioned reports have determined upwards of tens of thousands of the state medical license numbers found in the federal database — which are supplied by the individual physicians — are actually incorrect.

Somewhat disturbingly, the reports indicate while a large number of these inconsistencies in state license numbers can be attributed to things like physicians failing to make the necessary updates, or simple typos, a sizeable number could still perhaps be attributed to a conscious effort by individual physicians to distance themselves from a checkered or even criminal past.

Take, for example, the case of an Ohio-based OB-GYN who has been named in six medical malpractice lawsuits over the past 16 years, but whose state license number in the federal database is linked to another Ohio physician with an inactive license who practices in an entirely different specialty.

For their part, the CMS has indicated it wasn’t aware of any intentional misconduct on the part of physicians and instituted a new license validation policy for all NPI applications last year.

While this is encouraging, it still leaves the issue of the tens of thousands of incorrect state license numbers currently found in the federal database unaddressed. Here’s hoping this situation is rectified sooner than later and no patient harm results.

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