SRA to Manage 2 Health-Care Data Banks for HHS

By David Hubler
Special to the Washington Post
Monday, July 9, 2007

SRA International of Fairfax won a $68.6 million contract from the Health and Human Services Department to manage two data banks that collect information on medical and dental malpractice, improper payments and licensing issues.

Under the 54-month contract from the department's Health Resources and Services Administration, SRA will provide software development, systems engineering, operations services, testing and security services for the National Practitioner Data Bank and the Health-Care Integrity and Protection Data Bank.

Congress established the fee-for-query data banks to protect the general health by providing authorized users with details on actions taken against physicians and dentists, other health-care providers and medical and dental suppliers. Health-care professionals can view information about themselves, and researchers can access statistical data only, but the data banks are not available to the public.

The data bank for national practitioners had 417,945 reports on file, and the data bank for health-care integrity and protection had 279,163 reports as of May 31, according to the department.

SRA redesigned the original paper-based mainframe data bank into a secure, interactive Web-based system in 1999, said Timothy J. Atkin, senior vice president and director of the company's civil practice. SRA's most recent upgrade was in May.

"Instead of people or entities coming in and only querying the system, they can now subscribe for a PDF service" that responds to standing queries, Atkin said. "When there's new data, the system will automatically send them a notification within 24 hours that new data is in the system about that practitioner."

The data bank for national practitioners was established by the Health Care Quality Improvement Act in 1986 to collect and report on medical malpractice payments, adverse actions taken against health care practitioners and to track high-risk medical and dental workers who move from state to state or job to job without disclosing their professional history. The data are available to hospitals, other health-care entities and practitioners, as well as to plaintiffs' attorneys.

The data bank for health-care integrity and protection, created by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, gathers information on practitioners, providers and suppliers, and related fraud and abuse. Data collected include licensing and certification actions, civil judgments, criminal convictions and exclusions from federal or state health care programs. The information is available to federal and state agencies, health plans and suppliers.

David Hubler is an associate editor with Washington Technology. For more information on this and other contracts, go tohttp://www.washingtontechnology.com.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company