This November, there will be an important proposition on the ballot that all advocates of older adults should be aware of. The Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act, also known as Proposition 46, is a ballot initiative that will protect patients from corporate greed in healthcare services. It is imperative that anyone concerned with elder abuse vote Yes on Proposition 46.
Proposition 46 will accomplish three things: 1) require health care providers to check a uniform database before prescribing medication to prevent drug abuse; 2) require doctors to take a drug and alcohol test; and 3) increase the limits on noneconomic damages for medical malpractice cases.
Older adults take many prescription medications. National Institute on Drug Abuse states that, older adults make up more than a third of all outpatient prescription medication cost even though they are a minority of the general population. California currently has a database that monitors how medication is prescribed and dispensed to prevent various types of drug abuse. This is called the CURES program, or Controlled Substance Utilization Review, and is administered by the Department of Justice. Proposition 46 mandates that physicians and pharmacists check CURES before prescribing or dispensing medication. Doctors would be advised through CURES about existing prescription, especially for strong painkillers (such as Vicodin and OxyContin) that carry a high risk of abuse.