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CURES July 1 Upgrade Will Jeopardize Physician Access to Critical Information

From the California Medical Association, June 19, 2015

The California Medical Association (CMA) has been tracking Department of Justice (DOJ) efforts to update CURES, California’s prescription drug monitoring database. We have become aware of a major issue that will impact controlled substance prescribers if the new system is released as planned on July 1, and we want to alert you to this concern.

According to DOJ, accessing the new version of CURES will require Internet Explorer version 11, Firefox, or Chrome Internet browsers. DOJ has indicated that, effective July 1, users of Internet Explorer 10 or earlier will not be able to access CURES. There will be no backward compatibility to earlier versions of this browser.

This change, only recently revealed, will cut off controlled substance prescribers with health information technologies that require use of older versions of Internet Explorer. CMA has confirmed that if DOJ does not change their implementation plan, a minimum of thousands of physicians will lose access to CURES, and, based upon the capabilities of your system, you too may be impacted.

CMA is exploring possible solutions, but, as of this writing, DOJ has not yet committed to deviating from their plan to launch a version of CURES on July 1 that would reduce prescriber access.

As such, we recommend that you assess your current capabilities to use one of the supported browsers. While it may be possible for some to simply update or switch to one of the supported Internet browsers, we understand that the use of some electronic health record (EHR) systems are incompatible with supported Internet browsers. We recommend that physicians consult with their IT professional or EHR vendor to assess their options for ensuring continued EHR viability and access to CURES if the updated system is implemented by DOJ on July 1.

To understand the scope of the problem, it is imperative that you contact us quickly if you identify that DOJ’s change would negatively impact your prescribing practice. Please contact CMA’s Legal Information Line at (800) 786-4262 or at fkader@cmanet.org.

CMA believes it is not acceptable to implement a new version of CURES that undermines the system’s important public health purpose and reduces access to this critical information. The timing of this information from DOJ with less than two weeks before their intended implementation is disappointing. We will continue to work with DOJ toward an appropriate resolution.

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