A Danville man whose two children were killed by a drugged driver in 2003 can start circulating his proposed ballot measure that would raise California’s nearly 40-year old limit on medical-negligence awards and force doctors to check a statewide database before prescribing narcotic drugs, the Secretary of State’s office said Thursday.
The start of petitioning moves the ball forward in what could be one of next year’s costliest ballot-measure battles.
Here’s the official title and summary prepared by the Attorney General’s office:
DRUG AND ALCOHOL TESTING OF DOCTORS. MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE LAWSUITS. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Requires drug and alcohol testing of doctors and reporting of positive test to the California Medical Board. Requires Board to suspend doctor pending investigation of positive test and take disciplinary action if doctor was impaired while on duty. Requires doctors to report any other doctor suspected of drug or alcohol impairment or medical negligence. Requires health care practitioners to consult state prescription drug history database before prescribing certain controlled substances. Increases $250,000 cap on pain and suffering damages in medical negligence lawsuits to account for inflation. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: State and local government costs associated with higher net medical malpractice costs, likely at least in the low tens of millions of dollars annually, potentially ranging to over one hundred million dollars annually. Potential net state and local government costs associated with changes in the amount and types of health care services that, while highly uncertain, potentially range from minor to hundreds of millions of dollars annually. (13-0016.)
Pack must collect valid signatures of 504,760 registered voters by March 24 in order to qualify the measure for next November’s ballot.
The California Medical Association, California Hospital Association, California Dental Association, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California and Central Valley Health Network created a “Patients and Providers to Protect Access and Contain Health Costs” committee this summer to oppose the measure. The committee had banked at least $31.5 million by the end of August.
Bob and Carmen Pack will kick off the petition drive during a memorial gathering at 4 p.m. Sunday at Danville’s Sycamore Valley Elementary School and Park, marking the 10th anniversary of the deaths of their children, Troy, 10, and Alana, 7.