PRACTITIONER DATABASE: Bliley Lobbies Hastert
House Commerce Chair Tom Bliley (R-Va.) said yesterday he will attempt to persuade House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) to help pass a "controversial bill" that would open the National Practitioner Data Bank to public inspection, CongressDaily reports. Bliley's efforts to open the databank, which includes physician disciplinary records, have been met with "strong" opposition by the American Medical Association and other Republicans who believe "it contains inadequate and incomplete information that would confuse consumers rather than help them choose a good physician." Bliley originally indicated that he wanted to include the measure in a "noncontroversial health package," which includes such things as a clinical research bill and a House-passed measure that calls for improving the accessibility of automatic external defibrillators in federal buildings. However, Senate aides said that the databank measure possibly "could kill the whole health package." This "minibus" package, minus the databank legislation, was expected to be approved by the Senate yesterday. Bliley conceded that the databank measure "won't [be passed] separately," although he did not directly say whether he intended to ask Hastert to add the legislation to the health package. A spokesperson for Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said, "[I]t would be hard to move a new piece of legislation at this late date." A Bliley spokesperson added that the Senator is "still committed to his bill and conversations are continuing" about getting it passed before Congress adjourns (Fulton, CongressDaily, 10/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.