Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Proposition 46 isn't the CURE(S)

On November 4, voters will be asked to weigh in on Proposition 46, a costly and deceptive measure funded and sponsored almost exclusively by trial lawyers. In addition to raising health care costs and reducing access to quality medical care, Prop. 46 could put patient prescription drug history at risk of being hacked and would force physicians and pharmacist to use an unworkable database.

The Controlled Utilization Review and Evaluation System, or CURES, is a statewide, government-run database that allows physicians to know which medications patients are taking. In concept, it could be a helpful tool in ensuring that patients don’t “doctor shop” – or visit several doctors to get multiple prescriptions for controlled substances.

Though the database already exists, it is underfunded, understaffed and technologically incapable of handling the massively increased demands this ballot measure will place on it. In its current form, the CURES database is plagued with system errors and major deficiencies. The state staffer in charge of CURES recently testified that the database is “not sufficient enough to carry out the mission that we need.” To see excerpts of his testimony, click here.

In fact, in evaluating Prop. 46 the independent, non partisan Legislative Analyst noted, “Currently CURES does not have sufficient capacity to handle the higher level of use that is expected to occur when providers are required to register beginning in 2016.”

While a potentially useful database, CURES simply isn’t able to handle what’s being asked of it. The health care community helped to pass SB 809, which will increase funding for the database and update the technology along with adding funds for more staff; unfortunately upgrades won’t be ready until the middle of 2015, at the earliest.

Despite all of this, Prop. 46 includes a provision that would mandate physicians and pharmacists check the CURES database before prescribing Schedule II or III drugs – a list of medications that is far too long for this newsletter. This “CURES mandate flaw” puts physicians in the untenable position of either breaking their professional oath to give patients the best possible care or breaking the law.

What’s more, the CURES mandate comes without any increased security to ensure that the database is up and running efficiently, effectively and safely before legally making health care professionals check it.

That’s a risky gamble in these days of massive data breaches.

Many of you reading this know firsthand the difficulties of the CURES database and have yourselves tried to use it to improve and advance patient safety. You then also know how unlikely it is that the CURES mandate will work. 

In the few weeks left between now and Election Day, RCMA cannot stress enough how important it is to spread the word about the dangers of Prop. 46.



No on 46 - get engaged

By now, many of you are familiar with the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) lawsuit initiative that will appear on the November 4, 2014, ballot. Proposition 46 is being opposed by a coalition of doctors, community health clinics, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, local governments, working men and women, business groups, taxpayer groups, hospitals and educators, all of whom know that the measure will lead to more lawsuits and higher health care costs. What’s more, it will threaten personal privacy and jeopardize people’s access to their trusted doctors or clinics. Practices are encouraged to get engaged now!

What you can do

Sign up formally (as an organization, practice or individual) in opposition to the campaign. Visit the campaign website at www.NoOn46.com to add your name to the growing list of groups and organizations opposing Prop. 46.

Request a CMA staff member to speak to your group, hospital or specialty society. Let your local county medical society or CMA know and we can ensure you’re hearing from the right people about the most recent campaign updates.

Participate in message/media training. The campaign is looking for physicians interested in taking on a more public role speaking to community groups about why this ballot measure should be defeated. Contact Molly Weedn at mweedn@cmanet.org for more information.

Speak to your colleagues, patients and community. Use the resources at NoOn46.com to talk to your colleagues, patients, friends and family. Don’t forget to speak to community members as well – groups such as Rotary, Kiwanis, Soroptimist and more provide great venues for presentations.

Order campaign collateral. Download the Order Form to receive office posters, English- and Spanish-language patient brochures, campaign buttons, message cards and more. You can also order directly online by visiting NoOn46.com.

Spread the message on social media. If you’re active on social media, start by following the California Medical Association and No on Prop 46. Retweet and repost the information that is being put out to help spread the word about how dangerous and costly Prop. 46 will be for everyone. For questions about how to start a Twitter or Facebook account or how to engage with CMA, please contact Brooke Byrd at bbyrd@cmanet.org.

Twitter
CMA: @cmaphysicians
No on 46: @NoOn46

Facebook
CMA: facebook.com/cmaphysicians
No on 46: facebook.com/NoOn46



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