Proposition 46 Stirs Controversy About Patient Privacy

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LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Proposition 46 calls for drug testing doctors and raising the cap on medical malpractice judgments. But another facet of the measure regarding patient privacy is stirring up controversy.

One element of Prop 46 would mandate doctors to use a prescription database when prescribing drugs to first-time patients. However, Prop 46 opponents see this provision as a threat to a patient's medical history.

A television ad about the measure states that "Prop 46 puts your personal medical information at risk" because it is "open to law enforcement, hackers, identity thieves or simply accidents."

But Consumer Watchdog says this is an existing statewide database called CURES, and to say it is vulnerable to theft is just not true.

"We are calling upon the No on 46 campaign to take this ad down. The CURE's database is protected by the Department of Justice," said Jamie Court with Consumer Watchdog.

At another point in the TV ad, the screen reads "hospital network hacked / 4.5 million records stolen."

The CURE's database first started in 1997. In its present form, it went online in 2009. In all that time, Consumer Watchdog says it has never been hacked.

In September, the Los Angeles Times described the ad as "jaw-droppingly deceptive." This month, the Sacramento Bee called it an "outright lie." Also, the San Jose Mercury News last month said the ad is "shamelessly deceptive."

As of Monday, the ad is still running on local television and the No on 46 campaign stands behind everything in it. They also say the Yes on 46 ad that says the measure "saves lives" and "saves money" is misleading.

"To take the words of the legislative analyst out of context and suggest to voters that Prop 46 will somehow 'save money' is by far the biggest whopper of the campaign season," said Jim Deboo, the No on 46 campaign manager.

Prop 46 is on the November ballot.

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