Consumer Watchdog Campaign: Father Calls On CA Medical Assn To Pull TV Ad Called “Jaw-Droppingly Deceptive” and “Baloney” By LA Times & “Shamelessly Deceptive” By San Jose Mercury News

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Consumer Watchdog Campaign: Father Calls On CA Medical Assn To Pull TV Ad Called “Jaw-Droppingly Deceptive” and “Bologna” By LA Times & “Shamelessly Deceptive” By San Jose Mercury News


SACRAMENTO, CA – Bob Pack, who lost his two young children to a doctor-shopping driver, today called on the California Medical Association to immediately cease airing a television ad from opponents of Proposition 46 that the San Jose Mercury News called “shamelessly deceptive” and of which the LA Times said “practically everything it wants voters to believe about the measure is wrong.”

The new deceptive ad attacks the Prop 46 requirement that doctors check California’s existing statewide prescription drug database – known as CURES – when prescribing narcotics to a patient for the first time. The ad falsely claims that Prop 46 would make patient data vulnerable to hackers and identity thieves.

Read the Los Angeles Times:

Read the San Jose Mercury News:

“I expect lies from the insurance industry, but it’s disgraceful that doctors are behind an ad that stokes false fears about a medical tool that could have saved my children’s lives. Doctors say we should trust them to police themselves, but that’s impossible when they intentionally deceive us to prevent accountability when negligence or substance abuse harms or kills a patient,” said Bob Pack, the author of Proposition 46. “The California Medical Association should denounce this disgraceful ad and pull it from the air immediately. Then maybe we can have an honest debate about how the patient protections in Prop 46 will save lives.”

Troy and Alana Pack, ages 10 and 7, were killed by a drugged and drunk driver who was recklessly prescribed narcotics by multiple doctors at the same Kaiser hospital who never confirmed she had a medical need for the prescriptions.

Among the “No” campaign ad’s fabrications:

•           The ad cites a hack of 4.5 million records to suggest they were stolen from CURES. In fact, they were stolen from a hospital and had nothing to do with the CURES database, or prescription or medical records. The victim of the hack was Community Health Systems – which gave $340,000 last year to the California Hospital Association that funds the opposition to Prop 46. Over 10 million records have been breached at hospital and medical facilities affiliated with the “no” campaign. They’re the ones putting patient privacy at risk, not CURES.

•           The ad implies that the database needs new money to secure it, but it does not. Prop 46 doesn’t appropriate money to upgrade the system and keep CURES secure because the money was already approved by the legislature via SB 809 in 2012. That bill was endorsed by the California Medical Association which said at the time that it would “fully fund” CURES. According to the Department of Justice, CURES is secured by the latest technology and security infrastructure; as a result, there has never been a single CURES data breach.  CURES is also HIPAA protected – which means only physicians and law enforcement with a valid warrant can access the data. The records never leave the Department of Justice’s secure servers so they could never be downloaded to a doctor office or hospital where an “accident” may occur, as the ad threatens.

•           The ad says that Prop 46 somehow creates circumstances that puts patient information at risk. In truth, Prop 46 doesn’t create or expand CURES — the database has existed since 1997 and Prop 46 doesn’t require a single new record to be added to the database, or alter who may access it or why. 60,000 records are already accessed annually according to the Department of Justice. 

At the state Capitol today, Pack will release a new Yes On 46 ad that warns voters about the deceptive ads paid for with $58 million from insurance companies and the medical lobby.

Watch the new Yes on 46 ad featuring Bob Pack here:

Bob Pack, Dr. Gary Heller, Michele Monserratt-Ramos and Tammy Smick, who lost family members to medical negligence and doctors with substance abuse problems, will tell their stories in support of Proposition 46 at a legislative hearing this afternoon.

Dr. Gary Heller of Chico lost his wife Linda to a doctor who has been convicted of three DUIs for alcohol and prescription drug abuse. “My wife was vibrant and active before her doctor changed and substantially increased her medications, leaving her a person withdrawn, unable to engage in activities, or enjoy life.  I now believe that she was severely addicted to Morphine, a drug I learned is a serious risk to prescribe to anyone with her condition. After Linda’s death I heard from others that they observed this doctor to be under the influence at work. If he had been tested, it may have saved Linda’s life.”

Michele Monserratt-Ramos of Los Angeles lost her fiancée Lloyd Monserratt to surgical errors by a doctor who she later learned had been arrested for possession of crack cocaine. “Lloyd Monserratt died at the age of 36 because his doctor made mistakes that should have been prevented.  With random drug testing of doctors under Prop 46, a doctor that tests positive will not be allowed to operate pending further investigation.”

“My son Alex entered a hospital and was given a lethal combination of medications that cost him his life,” said Tammy Smick, of Downey. “As the mother of a malpractice victim, I’m disgusted that the medical industry is lying about the reforms in Prop 46 that will bring accountability and protect other families from going through a preventable tragedy like ours.”

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;

•    Require the Board to suspend a doctor and investigate a confirmed positive drug or alcohol test and take disciplinary action if the doctor was impaired while on duty;

•    Mandate that prescribers check California’s existing statewide prescription drug database known as CURES when prescribing certain narcotics to first-time patients, in order to curb doctor-shopping and end the prescription drug epidemic;

•    Promote justice for patients and legal deterrence to wrongdoing by adjusting California’s cap on compensation for victims of medical negligence to account for 39 years of inflation – the unadjusted cap prevents many victims from holding doctors who harm them accountable.

Text of the ad: “There’s a secret inside Proposition 46. A troubling provision that puts your personal medical information at risk. It’s right here. Prop 46 requires doctors to consult a vulnerable government-run database containing your personal prescription drug history, open to law enforcement, hackers, identity thieves, or simply accidents. [onscreen: Hospital network hacked, 4.5 million records stolen] There’s no money in Prop 46 to secure the database. Invading our privacy, another serious risk, and why to vote no on Prop 46.”

Learn more about Proposition 46 and the campaign for patient safety at:

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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.

Carmen Balber
Carmen Balber
Consumer Watchdog executive director Carmen Balber has been with the organization for nearly two decades. She spent four years directing the group’s Washington, D.C. office where she advocated for key health insurance market reforms that were ultimately enacted into law as part of the Affordable Care Act.

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