advertiser banner advertiser banner advertiser banner advertiser banner
Digital Issues

Home >  News >  May, 2014

Calif. Voters to Decide Whether Docs Should Be Drug-Tested

Initiative will appear on this November's ballot.

Published: May 19, 2014

California voters will decide this November whether the state's hospitals should be required to randomly test physicians for drugs and alcohol. The controversial proposal is part of a ballot measure that would also raise the ceiling on medical malpractice caps for pain and suffering and other damages, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The drug-testing initiative would also require physicians to be screened after preventable medical errors and require physicians to report to the state's medical board any colleagues who they know have used drugs or alcohol while on duty. Under the terms of the proposal, physicians who test positive or refuse to be tested could have their medical licenses suspended.

Proponents point to a 2000 California Medical Board report that estimated that 18% of the state's physicians have had substance-abuse problems. Opponents say the provision, which tested well with focus groups, was added as a way to "sweeten" the measure. Richard Thorp, MD, president of the California Medical Association, calls the testing provision "a desperate attempt to get voters to swallow the other flawed provisions."

The initiative would increase certain malpractice caps from $250,000, a limit that has been in effect since 1975, to about $1.1 million, and index them to future inflation rates. The measure would also require physicians to consult a state-run online database before prescribing certain narcotics, to determine whether patients already have prescriptions for those medications.

Jim Burger


Also in the News...

OR Excellence in Pictures
2,610 Hospitals Facing Medicare Payment Cuts for Excessive Readmissions
Should Unaccompanied Patients Be Able to Take a Taxi After Surgery?
Robots and Gynecology Not a Good Mix?
California Hospitals, Docs Accused of Lucrative Spine Surgery Scam
Man Sues After Waking From Colonoscopy Wearing Pink Panties
SSIs Scrub California Hospital's Elective Surgery Schedule

 
Have an account? Please log in:
Email Address:
  Remember my login on this computer

DID YOU SEE THIS?
Services

Your Colleagues Are Talking...

advertiser banner

Other Articles That May Interest You

What's Driving Specialty Hospitals' Quality Success?

Are physician-owned hospitals' Medicare bonuses due to their different patient population?

Rhode Island Surgeon Suspended for Drug Diversion

Michael C. Coburn, MD, admitted to injecting self with stolen surgical meds.

News & Notes