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

On November 4, 2014, voters will be asked to weigh in on Proposition 46, a costly ballot measure that will make it easier and more profitable for lawyers to sue doctors, community health clinics and hospitals, resulting in billions in increased health care costs annually.

Prop. 46 is being disguised by the trial lawyer sponsors as a measure that will “increase patient safety” but RCMA knows it’s really just about seeking change to a current law that will allow proponents to file more medical lawsuits against health care providers.

If the trial lawyers get their way, medical lawsuits and payouts will skyrocket and someone will have to pay the price.

California’s non partisan Legislative Analyst has taken a close look at Prop. 46 and concluded that it could increase state and local government health care costs by “hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

We know that these increased costs would reduce funding available for vital state and local government services like police, fire, social services, parks, libraries and the list goes on. Really, this is just another example of trial attorneys pulling money directly out of the health care delivery system and our communities to line their own pockets.

As physicians, it is your job to provide care for and protect your patients - but Prop. 46 does just the opposite. Taxpayers across the state will be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars in increased state and local government costs each year and could lose critical state and locally provided services that so many count on.

That’s just how Prop. 46 will impact state and local government costs. An independent study estimates that this proposition will increase health care costs across all sectors by almost $10 billion annually. How does that affect patients throughout California? It translates to about $1,000 per year in higher health care costs for a family of four. For many families, that’s the difference between being able to afford groceries or health care each month.

If you haven’t signed up to oppose Prop. 46, please visit and join the coalition today – the price to your patients is too great to risk it.

Prop. 46 was written by trial attorneys for trial attorneys – not for the patients of California who will be forced to pay, plain and simple.

If you haven’t signed a “No On Prop 46 Commitment Card” or pledged to be a coordinator at your hospital, visit and sign up today.

As we forge ahead to Election Day, RCMA asks each of you reading this to take action and get involved in the No on Prop. 46 campaign. To find out more information about the issue and how you can help educate your colleagues, patients and neighbors, visit today.

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