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One of the more expensive ballot initiative fights is taking place in California for the 2014 fall elections. The initiative is Proposition 46, which would raise the cap for pain and suffering awards for medical malpractice in California from $250,000 to $1.1 million and would require random drug testing for doctors and other health care professionals, according to The Washington Post.
The drug testing provision would require the hospitals conduct random drug and alcohol tests of their affiliated doctors. Doctors would also be required to take a drug test if they were involved in an adverse event that harmed a patient.
A coalition of trial lawyers and patient rights groups are in favor of the proposition.
While the medical malpractice part of Prop 46 is attracting the usual rhetoric about increases in healthcare costs vs. fairness to patients and their families who have been harmed by doctors, the drug testing part has also attracted notice. The theory is that if airline pilots and others have to urinate in a cup, why not health care workers? Indeed, there have been a few cases of patients who have been harmed because their healthcare providers had been abusing prescription drugs to which they have ready access.
Those in favor of Prop 46 claim that in an environment where millions of California citizens are routinely drug tested by employers, doctors are largely flying under the radar. Because they’re not tested, there isn’t a lot of data about how many doctors may have substance abuse issues. However, the state medical board found in a 2000 report that perhaps one or two percent of practicing physicians may have substance abuse problems.
Doctors, labor unions, and insurance companies are lined up against the proposition and are providing the bulk of the $56 million being spent on the ballot fight.
Opponents of Prop 46 accuse supporters of masking their true intent by including the drug testing provision, which they claim is to enrich trial lawyers at the expense of doctors. There has been no position taken by the California Medical Association about a stand-alone drug testing law.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of medical malpractice, you are urged to contact the Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.