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PATIENT 'RIGHTS' PROPOSED

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WASHINGTON-A presidential panel preparing a "bill of rights" for health care consumers approved a draft proposal recommending that patients, whenever possible, be given a choice of health care plans as well as direct access to specialists in health plan networks.

The President's Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry also said a woman in the latter stages of pregnancy should be able to continue to see her current physician for up to 60 days or through completion of postpartum care, even if her employer changes health care plans and the physician is not in the new plan's provider network.

Other recommendations include permitting providers to discuss all treatment options with patients and requiring greater confidentiality of medical records.

The commission will not send its final report to the Clinton administration until early next year. That report could become the basis of an administration bill.