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California dentists, physicians and other specified licensees who renew their license beginning in April 2021 will see an increase in the regulatory fee assessed annually to cover the “reasonable costs” associated with operating and maintaining CURES 2.0 ― California’s prescription drug monitoring database.
For a two-year period only, the annual fee will increase to $11 from the current $6. On April 1, 2023, the annual fee will drop down to $9. Because the Dental Board of California collects the CURES fee from dentists every two years, during license renewal, dentists have so far been assessed a fee of $12 ― the annual fee doubled. Effective April 2021, the dental board will collect $22 during license renewal, and effective April 2023, the board will collect $18.
Existing law requires state regulatory boards to collect the CURES fee from respective licensees who are “authorized to prescribe, order, administer, furnish, or dispense Schedule II, Schedule III, or Schedule IV controlled substances.” The annual fee has remained at $6 since regulatory boards first began assessing it in 2014, after CURES was established. Legislation (Assembly Bill 3330) signed in September by Gov. Gavin Newsom mandates the 2021 and 2023 fee changes.
The Department of Justice sought a fee increase due to several technological enhancements made to CURES over the last several years.
For example, AB 1751 in 2018 created the Interstate CURES Access Agreement, which allows the California Department of Justice to enter into agreements with other states to share prescription drug monitoring program information. The intent of the bill, which CDA supported, is to help curb “doctor shopping” by providing prescribers with a more complete prescription history should patients receive prescriptions in multiple states.
Another CDA-supported bill signed into law in 2018 allows prescribers to generate a report from the CURES database for the purpose of detecting potential red flags or prescriptions for which they have been falsely named the prescriber.
All licensed dentists with DEA numbers, even those who do not prescribe controlled substances, were required to register to use CURES by July 1, 2016. CURES consultation became mandatory Oct. 2, 2018, with a few exemptions.