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Should Doctors Undergo Random Drug Testing?
An August 1, 2014, article published in the online version of the New York Times, reports that a ballot provision in California could make it the first state to require random drug and alcohol testing for doctors. The new provision is part of a broader piece of proposed legislation, known as Proposition 46, that also includes an increase in the ceiling for pain and suffering awards in medical negligence suits (California Asks: Should Doctors Face Drug Tests?).
Under Proposition 46, prospectively titled, “Drug and Alcohol Testing of Doctors. Medical Negligence Lawsuits. Initiative Statue”, doctors in California would be required to undergo random drug and alcohol testing, the results of which would be reported to the California Medical Board. Hospitals would be required to report the names of doctors suspected of abusing drugs or alcohol.
Daniel R. Levinson, the inspector general for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said in an interview that medical professionals should undergo random drug and alcohol testing due to the availability of controlled substances within hospitals. Opponents of the measure contend that its implementation would increase insurance rates and may deter doctors from pursuing specializations that are perceived to carry high litigation risks, such as obstetrics and gynecology. According to the authors of the article, the passage of Proposition 46 in California would set a national precedent that may inspire similar ballot measures in other states.
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