Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Bill to Open Doctor Malpractice Database Snubbed in Congress

WebMD Health News

Sept. 20, 2000 (Washington, D.C.) -- A powerful congressional committee focused Wednesday on legislation that would give the public access to a now-restricted national data bank on doctor malpractice settlements and disciplinary actions.

Three outraged citizens led off the House Commerce Committee's hearing, advocating that the public should have access to the data bank and testifying that doctor malpractice had tragically affected them or their families.

But worried doctors can likely breath a sigh of relief. The overwhelming majority of Republicans and Democrats at the hearing expressed serious reservations about the proposal from Rep. Thomas Bliley (R-Va.). Bliley, who chairs the committee, introduced the bill on Sept. 7, but as yet has no co-sponsors.

Under current law, doctors must report malpractice settlements and judgments, along with professional disciplinary actions against them, to the National Practitioner Data Bank. The data bank is open only to hospitals, insurers, and government agencies, which pay a fee to access the information.

Bliley's bill would allow the public free access to the data bank via the Internet and would expand the information available to include felony and some misdemeanor convictions against physicians.

"Doctors routinely require consumers to give patient histories before treatment," Bliley said. "I think that patients should have the right to obtain physician histories before placing their very lives in the hands of a doctor." He claims that his measure would protect patients.

Bliley, who is retiring from Congress this year after 20 years, presided over the hearing underneath a large framed oil painting of himself in his trademark bow tie.

But Democrats on the committee pointed out that Congress is supposed to adjourn by Oct. 6 and has little time to start considering new bills. They suggested that Bliley was punishing doctors for their support of separate patient protection measures opposed by Republican leaders. Against the GOP's wishes but with the support of the American Medical Association (AMA), strong legislation passed the House last year to control HMO practices and allow patients the right to sue health plans.

After Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) suggested that the hearing was retaliation against the AMA, Bliley interrupted, "I have never had my motives questioned." He recalled that he had subpoenaed tobacco executives to testify before Congress -- even though his congressional district is in Richmond, a huge cigarette-manufacturing base for Philip Morris.

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing