Prescribers must access CURES 2.0 after March 5

Thursday, Mar 2, 2017

Prescribers must access CURES 2.0 after March 5

Reprinted with permission from California Dental Association

CURES 1.0 will be discontinued on Sunday, March 5, 2017. The departments of Consumer Affairs and Justice have announced that beginning March 6 prescribing health care practitioners will only be able to access CURES 2.0.

California’s Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System, or CURES, is the state’s prescription drug monitoring program. It aids prescribers and dispensers in identifying the fraudulent or drug-seeking activity of patients. Dentists are strongly encouraged to consult CURES when considering prescribing a controlled substance for a new patient or a patient suspected of drug dependency. Also, under a new law, prescribers will soon be required to check a patient’s prescription history prior to prescribing a Schedule II-IV substance in certain situations, with some exemptions.

CURES 2.0 has been active since January 2016 and, according to the Department of Consumer Affairs, the upgraded system accounts for more than 90 percent of patient activity report requests, which leaves a small number of users who will be affected by the discontinuation of CURES 1.0. All California prescribers with U.S. Drug and Enforcement Administration registrations were required to register for CURES 2.0 by July 1, 2016.

Updated browser required to access CURES 2.0

CURES 1.0 allowed user access from all web browsers, regardless of a browser’s security features. However, protection of confidential and sensitive patient data is of the highest priority and “Decommissioning CURES 1.0 is a necessary step toward protecting this information,” the DCA said in a statement.

To securely access CURES 2.0, dentists will need to update their web browsers to one of the following:

  • Apple Safari
  • Google Chrome
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer, version 11.0 or higher
  • Mozilla Firefox

Users who have not updated their browsers by March 5 will no longer be redirected to CURES 1.0.

Exemptions to mandatory prescription checking

Under a bill signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in September 2016, prescribers will soon be required to check a patient’s prescription history prior to prescribing a Schedule II-IV substance for the first time and every four months thereafter, if the substance remains part of the patient’s treatment plan. Due to concerns with how this process could unnecessarily interfere with patient care, CDA successfully secured an exemption for providers in cases where they are prescribing a Schedule II-IV substance as a part of the treatment for a surgical procedure and the prescription is nonrefillable and for a duration of five or fewer days. The exemption maintains the intent of CURES to provide information that will help reduce prescription abuse while removing an unnecessary burden.

This requirement has not yet taken effect and will not take effect until six months after the Department of Justice certifies that CURES is fully ready for statewide use and the DOJ is adequately staffed. CDA will keep members informed of the compliance date on cda.org and in the CDA Update.

Visit the CURES website at oag.ca.gov. For assistance, contact the DOJ’s CURES help desk at 916.227.3843. CDA members can also refer to the CDA Practice Support reference “Controlled Substances Prescribing and Dispensing.”

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