The California Medical Association (CMA) has been tracking Department of Justice (DOJ) efforts to update Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES), California’s prescription drug monitoring database.
According to DOJ, accessing the new version of CURES will require Internet Explorer version 11, Firefox or Chrome Internet browsers. DOJ has indicated that, effective July 1, users of Internet Explorer 10 or earlier will not be able to access CURES. There will be no backward compatibility to earlier versions of this browser. This change, only recently revealed, will cut off controlled substance prescribers with health information technologies that require use of older versions of Internet Explorer. Thousands of physicians will lose access to CURES if DOJ does not change their implementation plan.
In response to concerns raised by the SFMS and CMA, the DOJ has agreed to a short-term solution to prevent loss of access for CURES users with the new version launch. DOJ has committed to keeping the current version of CURES accessible for users who cannot access the new version because of browser compatibility issues.
Based on communications with DOJ, CMA has produced a summary of what CURES users should know about the launch of the new system, including updates on access and registration changes.
Access Patient Information in the Current Version of CURES (1.0) and the New Version of CURES (2.0)
What do currently registered prescribers need to know about any changes that take place on June 30 that might impact their ability to access CURES?
Current CURES users will be able to access the new system, CURES 2.0, with their current user ID and password. Upon initial login to CURES 2.0, users will be required to update their security questions and answers and re-establish a new password. Users must also review their CURES account profile to verify their information is accurate, make necessary updates, and acknowledge CURES Terms and Conditions. Once this has been completed, the user may begin searching patient information in CURES. The user must also access CURES on a compatible browser.
Are there limitations to what Internet browsers can be used to access CURES 2.0? Are particular browsers recommended over others?
CURES 2.0 users must use Microsoft Internet Explorer version 11.0 or higher, or current versions of Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome or Safari. Earlier versions of Internet Explorer will not be supported.
What about those who cannot access CURES 2.0 on a compatible browser?
CURES 1.0 will remain accessible to users with unsupported versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer.
How long will CURES 1.0 access remain an option?
Unknown. At time of writing, DOJ has not indicated that it will develop backward compatibility to include previous versions of Internet Explorer and is instead asking users to upgrade their systems. DOJ has not indicated a specific time frame and has requested stakeholder input as to what timeframe is needed for users to upgrade to CURES 2.0 browser requirements. CMA will continue to work with DOJ and other stakeholders on a long-term solution. If you have input on this issue, please contact CMA’s Legal Information Line at (800) 786-4262 or email@example.com.
Are there any other hardware or software requirements or recommendations for accessing CURES 2.0?
Will there be a new webpage for logging into CURES 2.0?
Users should go to the current CURES login webpage, where they will be redirected to the new CURES 2.0 login screen or may choose to use version 1.0.
If a current CURES user is locked out of the system for some reason, how can he/she regain access?
There will be online assistance for users in case they need their login information. Additionally, users may contact the CURES Help Desk at (916) 227-3843 or firstname.lastname@example.org (email address will become effective on June 30).
What other changes are expected with CURES 2.0?
CURES 2.0 is intended to provide faster, more reliable service to accommodate use by all controlled substance prescribers and dispensers in the state. The new system will include a delegation function, online resolution when locked out of CURES or if a password is forgotten, and various ways to customize how you see and use patient information.
Note that the system is still not considered “real time,” as California law permits up to a week for dispensers to report to the system after dispensing a controlled substance to a patient. Also note that the data in CURES remains only as accurate as what dispensers report.
What changes to the CURES registration process will occur on June 30?
On or after June 30, a new applicant must initiate an online registration process in order to gain access to CURES. Once complete, the process will provide access to both CURES 1.0 and 2.0.
In order to complete the application form, prescribers and dispensers must produce copies of their state medical or pharmacist license, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration certificate (prescribers only), and California driver license or other official government photo identification and have these copies notarized. The notary must affirm that the person appearing is the person identified in these supporting documents. These notarized documents must then be uploaded in PDF format with the CURES online application. The current registration process of mailing in notarized documents will no longer be supported.
DOJ states that a subsequent CURES 2.0 release will further streamline the registration process for California licensed prescribers and pharmacists. There is currently no information on when a more automated registration process will be available.
What happens to prescribers who have submitted application documents under the old registration requirements but have not yet been granted access?
Prescribers and pharmacists who submitted application documents using the old registration method prior to June 30 will continue to have their registrations processed. If approved, these applicants will be granted access to both CURES 1.0 and 2.0.
Who is required by law to register to use CURES by January 1, 2016?
All individuals practicing in California who possess both a state regulatory board license authorized to prescribe, dispense, furnish or order controlled substances and a Drug Enforcement Administration Controlled Substance Registration Certificate (DEA Certificate) must register to use CURES by January 1, 2016. There is no state mandate to use CURES before prescribing.