Posted on Jan 23, 2011
Currently, medical patients in Illinois can only uncover limited information about the doctors they use – such as whether they have been recently disciplined by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. But a new bill called the Patients’ Right To Know Act hopes to change that in the future.

The standalone bill, which is sponsored by democrat Mary Flowers of Chicago, and which has struggled to pass for the last ten years, has finally passed the Illinois House and will move on to the state Senate. Over the last decade, patients’ rights advocates have supported the bill, while doctors’ lobbyists argued that medical malpractice information should be a matter of privacy.

If the bill passes the Senate, then Illinois residents will be able to look up information concerning whether their doctor has been fired, convicted of a crime, or been involved in a medical malpractice lawsuit in the past five years. Supporters of the bill say that it will allow patients to take more control of their health care and make certain that they are not putting their health into the hands. Opponents of the bill say that providing such information would be costly to the state, though early estimates show that it will cost under $50,000 to keep up.

While most of the information mentioned above is already public, it is often difficult for patients to find the medical malpractice data they are seeking without doing a significant amount of research. Supporters of the bill want patients to have a one-stop spot on the web where patients can find out exactly who is treating them.

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