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...

Bair Hugger Target of Suit Claiming It Caused Deadly Infection
UnitedHealthcare Accused of Withholding Payments to Indiana ASCs
ACS Improves Its Surgical Risk Calculator
When Small Hospitals Outperform Big Hospitals
California Out-of-Network ASCs Granted $9.5 Million Settlement in United Healthcare Underpayment Case
Cataract Surgeon Can't Be Blamed for Failure of Anesthesia Providers, Jury Finds
Joan Rivers's Docs Accept Blame, Agree to Pay "Substantial" Amount

New to Outpatient Surgery Magazine?
Sign-up to continue reading this article.
Register Now
Have an account? Please log in:
Email Address:
  Remember my login on this computer

advertiser banner

Other Articles That May Interest You

Study: Most Healthcare Workers Remove PPE Incorrectly

Researchers say less than half of those taking off and disposing of PPE are putting themselves at risk.

FDA Reclassifies Vaginal Mesh as High-Risk Device and Orders Manufacturers to Address Safety Concerns

The move is the latest effort to improve the safety of transvaginal pelvic organ prolapse procedures.

In Case You Missed It ...

Top 10 viewed features on outpatientsurgery.net