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CURES - Frequently Asked Questions

April 08, 2022 6823

All controlled substance prescribers in California are required to register to access the state prescription drug monitoring program known as CURES  (Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System). Beginning April 11, 2022, the site will no longer be accessible to those using the Internet Explorer (IE) browser. Also, after that date, prescribers who utilize delegates must enter into new delegate agreements for them to have continued access to CURES. A sample CURES delegate agreement can be downloaded below. A copy of the signed delegate agreement must be retained by both parties for a period of five years from the expiration date.

Why am I required to register for CURES? What is its purpose?

State law requires California prescribers with U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration to register to access the CURES 2.0 prescription drug-monitoring program. CURES is a database of patient-controlled substance history information and can assist prescribers in identifying situations that may be prescription drug abuse.

As of Oct. 2, 2018, prescribers with a DEA registration are required to check a patient’s history using the CURES database.

Exceptions to this requirement include a dentist who prescribes, orders, administers, or furnishes a controlled substance to a patient as part of the patient’s treatment for a surgical procedure and the quantity of the controlled substance does not exceed a nonrefillable five-day supply of the controlled substance to be used in accordance with the directions for use. If the controlled substance remains part of the patient’s treatment, the dentist must subsequently check the CURES database prior to writing another prescription and every six months while the substance is part of the patient’s treatment. The CURES patient activity must be pulled no earlier than 24 hours prior to prescribing.

What information do I need to register for CURES?

In addition to your name, email address, dental license, and DEA registration information, you will be asked for other information to verify your identity. Be certain to use the same name used for your dental license and DEA registration. Prescribers who do not hold a DEA registration may register for access to CURES. Users are required to change passwords every 90 days and to confirm certain information annually to maintain access.

What CURES functions may be delegated to staff?

Staff registered with CURES as a “delegate” to the “parent” prescriber user may obtain a patient activity report (PAR) for use to complete a work assignment. A prescriber who wants to delegate this task to staff must apply by submitting a staff name and email address, and confirming a compliant delegate agreement is in place. Upon accessing CURES the first time, staff will have to complete security steps. Staff must meet eligibility requirements which include being at least 18 years old. Prescribers can view, add and remove delegates from their own user profiles, as well as run audit reports on their delegates’ use of CURES. A delegate must be removed immediately from accessing CURES when no longer employed by the prescriber, at the end of the term of the delegate agreement or when the delegate has been found to violate the agreement and CURES terms of use. 

What information can a prescriber or their delegate obtain from CURES?

A prescriber may obtain a patient activity report, a list of patients for whom the prescriber wrote a controlled substance prescription, and an audit report on the prescriber’s delegates’ use of CURES. Information about a patient’s out-of-state prescriptions may be requested as part of a patient activity report. A patient activity report may be obtained no more than seven days prior to the patient’s appointment with the prescriber. Patient information in CURES may be accessed only for permitted activities and may not be further disseminated except as permitted by law.

May the patient get a copy of their patient activity report?

If a patient requests it, you must provide a patient with a copy of the patient’s CURES patient activity report which you pulled in order to provide treatment. No additional CURES data is should be provided. The report is medical information, is part of the patient record, and is protected by the state Confidentiality of Medical Information Act and HIPAA.  Otherwise, a patient may obtain a copy of their activity report directly from the state Department of Justice.

What should I do if I am unable to check the database?

You must document in the patient’s record the reason why you did not consult the database. For example, there may be a technical issue. In that case, you should try to determine what the technical issue is and, if it is something within your control, fix the issue. A failure to consult with the CURES database as required will be referred to the dental board for consideration of administrative sanctions.

Am I required to report what I prescribe, administer or dispense to CURES?

You are not required to report to CURES what you prescribe and administer to patients. However, prescribers must file reports of dispensed controlled substances through the state DOJ’s third-party vendor and not through CURES. Dispensing prescribers should refer to the CURES website.

Who monitors the use of the CURES database?

The state DOJ is tasked with auditing the database and its users. Dissemination or distribution of the controlled substance history information to anyone other than the registered user is prohibited. HIPAA and all confidentiality and disclosure provisions of state law cover the information contained in the database. All users must comply with state and federal health information privacy laws. Disciplinary, civil, or criminal actions will be taken by the DOJ or the appropriate licensing agency for any misuse or inappropriate access of patient data.

What am I required to do if I move or change my name?

You must update account information no later than three days after the change’s effective date.

Should I use CURES to report the loss or theft of my prescription forms?

Yes. Within three days of the discovery and after you have filed a police report and have the report number, log into your CURES account to report the issue. For guidance on reporting lost or stolen prescription forms, email the Security Prescription Printer Program at [email protected]

How can I get a report of the controlled substance prescriptions I have written?

The ability to review this information is useful when a dentist has misplaced or had a prescription pad stolen or when a dentist suspects someone is misusing their DEA number. A dentist can obtain a report that contains the patient’s name, address, date of birth, and gender. The report will cover the time period of up to one year prior to the date the report is generated.

After a list is created, a dentist can go back into the system and run separate CURES reports for each patient on the list if more information is needed. If a dentist discovers a prescription in the CURES report that they did not prescribe, the dentist should contact the pharmacy as well as the California State Board of Pharmacy.

Do I have to renew my CURES registration in the future?

Prescribers required to register to use CURES are required to renew their accounts annually. All CURES users will receive annual renewal notifications as well as a reminder 30 days after the user’s one-year renewal date.

Where can I learn more about CURES?

The DOJ has training videos, FAQs, and a user guide available at oag.ca.gov/CURES, which are particularly helpful for first-time CURES users. The user guide includes information on how staff members may assist with record searches, how to save searches, how to receive patient activity alerts, how to communicate with other prescribers and dispensers, and much more.

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