California Department of Justice Issues Final CURES Regulations to Protect Patient Privacy, Combat the Abuse of Controlled Substances
Regulations take effect on July 1, 2020
SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Justice today unveiled final regulations pertaining to the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES). CURES is California’s prescription drug monitoring program, a tool that assists healthcare practitioners in their efforts to ensure appropriate prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances and aids law enforcement and regulatory agencies in their efforts to control the diversion and resultant abuse of controlled substances.
“At the California Department of Justice, it’s our job to safeguard the rights and interests of nearly forty million Californians,” said Attorney General Becerra. “These regulations make commonsense protections for patient privacy a top priority, while balancing the need for critical enforcement tools to protect public health and safety by combatting the abuse of controlled substances and aiding in public health interventions. We’re grateful to all the stakeholders and members of the public who contributed to the regulation process.”
Under Assembly Bill 1751 enacted in January 1, 2019, the Department of Justice is required to adopt regulations by July 1, 2020, regarding certain processes, purposes, and conditions involving access and use of information within CURES. After consulting with stakeholders, the Department released proposed regulations on October 4, 2019. The Department received comments from the public on the proposed regulations, including at two public hearings in November 2019. The Department then released revisions on January 16, 2020 and sought additional comments. Today’s final regulations will become effective on July 1, 2020.
The regulations address:
- The process for approving, denying, and disapproving individuals or entities seeking access to information in CURES;
- The purposes for which a healthcare practitioner may access information in CURES;
- The conditions under which a warrant, subpoena, or court order is required for a law enforcement agency to obtain information from CURES as part of a criminal investigation; and
- The process by which information in CURES may be provided for educational, peer review, statistical, or research purposes.