MARIN, CA: In January 1990, Dr. Chiarottino’s license was placed on five years probation when the Medical Board found that he had falsely and dishonestly prescribed multiple controlled substances to himself. However, Dr. Chiarottino failed to comply with his probation terms and his license was revoked in September 1991. Eight years later, in April 1999, Dr. Chiarottino’s medical license was reinstated and he was placed on seven years probation. In April 2004, Dr. Chiarottino asked the Medical Board to terminate his probation and his request was granted.
In March 2014, Dr. Chiarottino was arrested by CHP officers after he was found to be in possession of controlled narcotics, including Xanax, and driving under the influence of drugs. Dr. Chiarottino admitted to the police that he had obtained the drugs from his patients. He was charged with one felony and three misdemeanors.
While on bail from this first arrest, Dr. Chiarottino was arrested again after a witness saw him driving intoxicated — with his four-year-old daughter inside the car. Dr. Chiarottino was searched and was found to be in possession of methadone and other controlled substances; he admitted to police that he had used the methadone and that he didn't have a prescription for it. This time, Dr. Chiarottino was charged with one felony and six misdemeanors. Dr. Chiarottino eventually pled guilty in both of these cases to one felony (possession of a controlled substance) and three misdemeanors (two for driving under the influence of a drug and another for child endangerment).
In August 2014, the Medical Board filed an accusation against Dr. Chiarottino, finding that he was “grossly negligent”, "repeatedly negligent”, and/or "incompetent” in his treatment of five patients when he routinely “prescribed potentially dangerous or even lethal combinations of narcotics and sedative medications without adequate indication or monitoring.” The Medical Board also accused him of being “guilty of unprofessional conduct.” However, no probation or revocation of his license has yet been ordered.
Proposition 46, the Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act, will enact the first law in the nation to require random drug and alcohol tests of physicians in hospitals, modeled after the Federal Aviation Administration testing program that has successfully reduced substance abuse by pilots. Doctors found to be impaired on the job will have their license suspended. If Prop 46 had been in effect, Dr. Chiarottino's addiction could have been detected, possibly preventing patient injuries in the process.
Prop 46 would also require prescribers to check California's existing and secure prescription drug database, known as CURES, when prescribing Schedule II-III narcotics. If this provision had been in effect, it is likely that Dr. Chiarottino's "potentially dangerous or even lethal" prescribing to patients would have been discovered.
Hall of Shame: Insurance Companies Backing No on 46
Cooperative of American Physicians $10,161,489.04
The Doctors Company $10,000,000.00
NorCal Mutual Insurance Company $10,000,000.00
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan $5,000,000.00
Medical Insurance Exchange of California $5,000,000.00
The Dentists Insurance Company $1,620,000.00
The Mutual Risk Retention Group $1,000,000.00
All Insurers: $42,781,489.04
Insurance companies have spent nearly $43 million dollars to oppose Prop 46 in order to shield dangerous doctors like Dr. Chiarottino from punishment, at the expense of patient safety, in order to protect their already substantial profits. In total, the opposition to Prop 46 has over $56 million dollars in their warchest, outspending consumer and patient safety advocates who support Prop 46 nearly 10:1.
Learn more about Proposition 46 and the campaign for patient safety at: www.yeson46.org
Paid for by Yes on Prop. 46, Your Neighbors for Patient Safety, a Coalition of Consumer Attorneys and Patient Safety Advocates – major funding by Consumer Attorneys of California Issues and Initiative Defense Political Action Committees and Kabateck, Brown, Kellner, LLP.