Tweaks to C.U.R.E.S. Database Reporting and Access

The Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (C.U.R.E.S.) is a prescription monitoring program maintained by California’s licensed physicians, licensed physician assistants, licensed pharmacies, licensed pharmacists, and any other prescribing California health care professionals. On October 2, 2018, the California Department of Justice (DOJ) certified the mandatory statewide use of the C.U.R.E.S. database, consisting of all DEA Schedule II, III, and IV controlled substance prescriptions dispensed in California. 

California lawmakers amended Assembly Bill 528 to expand on California pharmacy prescription reporting requirements and to increase access to the C.U.R.E.S. database for licensed physicians, pharmacists, and other practitioners who are not even authorized to prescribe or dispense controlled substances.

Tighter C.U.R.E.S. Reporting Requirements

Beginning January 1, 2021, any California licensed dispenser of prescription drugs must report the required information to the C.U.R.E.S. database within one working day after the controlled substance is released to the prescribed patient or the prescribed patient’s representative. The Department of Justice previously allowed California’s pharmacists and other dispensers to report this required information within seven working days. The bill also now requires dispensed Schedule V controlled substances to be reported to C.U.R.E.S. as well.

Consulting with the C.U.R.E.S. Database

Authorized health care licensees will only be required to review a California patient’s controlled substance history through the CURES database at least once every six months. Previously, the law required licensed practitioners and licensed pharmacists to consult with the C.U.R.E.S. database once every four months. Additional review and documentation are now required for a health care practitioner who receives the C.U.R.E.S. database information from another authorized user.

Increased Access to C.U.R.E.S. Information

Initially, only health care practitioners with a DEA registration, such as physicians and pharmacists authorized to prescribe and dispense controlled substances, could request and obtain approval to access information in the C.U.R.E.S. database. This bill will now permit licensed physicians, surgeons, and other practitioners without a DEA registration to request and obtain approval to access information in the C.U.R.E.S. database.

While patients and licensed health care practitioners must await approval to access the C.U.R.E.S. database, the Medical Board of California has unlimited and immediate access to these database records. Under these new measures and stricter reporting requirements, the C.U.R.E.S. database will be an even more powerful tool to monitor licensed physicians, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and other authorized prescribing practitioners.  If you are a medical professional under investigation or concerned about your license, contact Ray & Bishop, PLC for assistance.