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November 9, 1994

Malpractice ClaimsDoes the Past Predict the Future?

Author Affiliations

From the Physician Insurers Association of America, Washington, DC.

JAMA. 1994;272(18):1453-1454. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520180077039

THE HEALTH Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986 established the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) as a supplemental means for health care authorities and credentialing organizations to identify practitioners who may have left a bad track record when moving from one locale to another. In 1992, the Data Bank commissioned several independent reviews of already-existing databases to investigate the value of having small-claim payments reported to the Data Bank.

See also p 1421.

The study by Bovbjerg and Petronis1 published in this issue of The Journal provides useful insight regarding claims reported during the period 1975 through 1983 against 8247 Florida physicians. The objective of the study was to investigate whether an association exists between past and subsequent claims of medical malpractice. While the study reviews all actual claims indexed, those resulting in payment are of greatest value with respect to the NPDB, as only claim payments are reported

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