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...

Did Hospital Ignore Contaminated Scopes and Infected Patients?
AmSurg, Envision Healthcare Merge to Form Physician Staffing Giant
Obesity Device Drains a Portion of Stomach Contents After Meals Into the Toilet
Hospitals Will Likely Soon Be Required to Have Antibiotic-Stewardship Programs
U. of Louisville Hospital Now Unsafe, Vice Chair of Surgery Insists
Suit: Pedicle Screw Left in Patient's Body for 2 Days After Surgery
Colorado Tech Accused of Stealing Syringes Is HIV Positive

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

Surgeons Reach Peak Performance Between 35 and 50 Years Old

Evidence suggests that post-op complication rate higher in surgeons with 20+ years of experience.

Stretch Breaks During Surgery

Breaking Stereotypes, Fixing Joints

Q&A with Karen Wu, MD, FAAOS, joint replacement specialist and advocate for gender diversity in orthopedics.