Senate ethics panel asked to probe Frist

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UPI – United Press International

WASHINGTON, April 7 (UPI) — A consumer rights group has asked the Senate ethics panel to investigate whether Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., has improperly promoted medical malpractice reform.

The Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights filed a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee Monday, asking the panel to investigate the majority leader’s potential to benefit personally from legislation being examined by the body Wednesday.

The measure before the Senate would limit damages in malpractice suits against obstetricians, gynecologists and emergency room physicians.

In its complaint, the Santa Monica, Calif., group, which has a history of opposing malpractice litigation limits, cites the role of Frist’s brother, Thomas Frist Jr. and his father, Thomas Frist, as top executives of the Hospital Corporation of America, the largest for-profit hospital conglomerate in the United States.

A subsidiary of the company provide malpractice insurance to physicians.

Senate Republicans dismissed the move as politically motivated, noting that Frist has never been employed by the firm and his work on health care issues was cleared by the ethics panel.

However, critics note that he holds millions of dollars worth of stock in the company.

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