- California Healthline Original Stories 3
- Obesity And Depression Are Entwined, Yet Scientists Don’t Know Why
- Podcast: 'What The Health?' No Vacation For Insurers
- Americans Eager For Leaders To Cooperate To Make Health Law Work
- Pharmaceuticals 1
- Because Of United Way, FamilyWize Partnership Kern Residents Have Saved Millions On Medications
- Public Health and Education 1
- Task Force Exploring Possibility Of Safe Injection Site In S.F. Says There's Support For Facility
- Around California 1
- Initiative Tries To Connect Businesses, Employees With Intellectual And Developmental Disabilities
- National Roundup 2
- Trump Declares Opioid Crisis A National Emergency. So What Does That Mean?
- Escalating Discord Between Trump, McConnell Puts Shockingly Public Spotlight On Party's Problems
Latest From California Healthline:
As the link between obesity and depression becomes increasingly clear, so do the challenges of treating these distinct chronic conditions together. (Shefali Luthra, 8/11)
In this episode of “What the Health?” Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Joanne Kenen of Politico, Sarah Kliff of Vox.com and Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times discuss the state of the individual health insurance markets and the challenging decisions facing many insurers in the wake of the failure (for now) of Congress’ efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. (8/11)
Majorities of Democrats and Republicans — and people who say they are supporters of President Donald Trump — say they want the country to make the law successful. (Phil Galewitz, 8/11)
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More News From Across The State
With the immediate threat of repeal gone, here's a look at whether some people still think single-payer legislation is necessary in California.
California’s Ambitious Single-Payer Plan Isn’t Dead — Yet
Despite rumors of its death, the Healthy California Act, a bill that would create a massive single-payer insurance system for nearly all 39 million Golden State residents, is alive and, in the eyes of its supporters, imperative. It is just waiting for enough political will to bring it back for hearings after the Legislature reconvenes Aug. 21, and passage later this year. (Clark, 8/10)
Dignity Health’s St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard and St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo were recognized for their commitment and success to ensuring that stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized guidelines.
Ventura County Star:
St. John’s Hospitals Receive Honors
Dignity Health’s St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard and St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo have received an American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Get With the Guidelines Stroke Quality Achievement Award. Both hospitals have also earned a spot on the Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll. St. John’s Regional Medical Center has been presented with the Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award and is also being recognized on the Target: Stroke Elite Plus Honor Roll. St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital is also a recipient of the Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award and has qualified for recognition on the Target: Stroke Elite Honor Roll. (8/10)
In other hospital news —
Is Your Doctor Drug Tested? That Depends On Where He Works
Many southern California hospitals have anti-drug policies for their employees, but they don’t always drug test their physicians. Revelations about frequent drug use recently helped bring down the dean of USC’s medical school, Dr. Carmen Puliafito. The scandal surrounding Puliafito raises questions about what local hospitals’ policies are on drug testing their providers. KPCC reached out to a number of southern California’s large hospitals. Some provided their written policies. None provided an official for an interview. (Faust, 8/10)
The nonprofit is able to negotiate deep discounts by pooling such a large group of patients.
The Bakersfield Californian:
Data: Kern Residents Saving Millions On Prescriptions
Thousands of Kern County residents have saved millions of dollars on prescription heart disease, diabetes and mental health medications through a 10-year partnership between the United Way of Kern County and FamilyWize, according to a new data report released by the two nonprofit organizations. More than $1.4 million of that savings happened from 2013 through 2016, benefiting 11,637 Kern residents who opted to get a free FamilyWise prescription savings card. But the report also retells a discouraging story about the general health of residents of the Golden Empire: When it comes to key indicators of poor health such as smoking, physical inactivity, obesity and insufficient sleep, Kern County residents often experience these issues at higher rates than the state and national levels. (Mayer, 8/10)
A survey of residents found that at least half of the respondents supported a safe injection site coupled with services such as addiction treatment.
San Francisco Chronicle:
Strong Support For Safe Injection Centers In SF
On Thursday, the S.F. Safe Injection Services Task Force, created to explore the options and obstacles surrounding a safe injection site, met for the final time before the Department of Public Health, which oversaw the group, presents recommendations to the Board of Supervisors next month. While questions remain on where a site might be located and how it would be run, remarks from many of the task force members, including health department Director Barbara Garcia, suggested there was strong support for moving ahead. (Fracassa, 8/10)
In other public health news —
The Mercury News:
Could Vitamin B3 Help Prevent Miscarriages, Birth Defects?
If you’re expecting, then you already know that you should be loading up on folic acid to help protect your baby from birth defects. But now a new study suggests that there is another vitamin supplement that can have a huge impact on avoiding miscarriages and birth defects and that’s vitamin B3, or niacin. (D'Souza, 8/10)
Los Angeles Times:
Can A Hormone Called Klotho Enhance Cognition And Hold Off Dementia? Yes, In Mice, At Least
If ever there were a hormone to spark intellectual excitement, it’s klotho. At the dawn of our lives, our blood brims with klotho. But as age and disease stiffen our joints and cloud our minds, klotho ebbs. People who exercise and remain spry into old age have more of the stuff. Those suffering chronic stress or degenerative brain diseases such Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s see theirs depleted. (Healy, 8/9)
A Later Start To The Schoolday? Why California Could Delay The Bell
Research shows two-thirds of adolescents aren’t getting enough sleep and that the consequences are far-reaching. ...Currently, California schools are free to begin the schoolday whenever they’d like, and only one in five middle and high schools start as late as Portantino’s bill would require. (Calefati, 8/10)
“There’s been a history of people devaluing people with disabilities … One way to help people become more valued is by having them show value,” says Tom Heinz, executive director of one of the partners involved in the project.
The Mercury News:
Amid Push For Workforce Diversity, Campaign Works To Include Bay Area Residents With Disabilities
Even as California’s unemployment rate has sunk to record lows in recent months, the population of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities has struggled with high levels of unemployment or underemployment. A collaboration among three Bay Area agencies is trying to change that. Launched in July 2016, HireAble is a campaign from three nonprofit partners — Contra Costa ARC, Futures Explored and East Bay Innovations — that connects local businesses to employees with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Since then, it has helped 70 people with disabilities get jobs in the Bay Area. (Sciacca, 8/10)
President Donald Trump hasn't yet spelled out what the declaration will entail, but it could allow the government to negotiate lower prices for naloxone, open up additional funding to states and provide technical assistance and manpower to places where local and state resources have been overwhelmed. Some experts say it is a mostly symbolic move, though.
The New York Times:
Trump Plans To Declare Opioid Epidemic A National Emergency
President Trump said on Thursday that he was preparing to officially declare the United States’ worsening epidemic of opioid overdoses as a national emergency, accepting an urgent recommendation from a national commission that he appointed. (Shear and Goodnough, 8/10)
The Associated Press:
Trump To Declare Opioid Crisis A 'National Emergency'
"The opioid crisis is an emergency. And I am saying officially right now: It is an emergency, it's a national emergency. We're going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis," Trump told reporters during a brief question-and-answer session ahead of a security briefing Thursday at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey. (8/10)
The Washington Post:
Trump Says Opioids Are A National Emergency. Here's What Happens Next.
The president did not offer details of what his emergency declaration would entail, and he said his administration is working on the paperwork needed for the emergency declaration to take effect. (Ingraham, 8/10)
The Wall Street Journal:
Trump Declares Opioid Epidemic A National Emergency
Declaring an emergency under the Public Health Service Act, or the Stafford Act, would “empower your cabinet to take bold steps and would force Congress to focus on funding and empowering the executive branch even further to deal with this loss of life,” [the national commission] said. The Stafford Act was designed to organize federal assistance to natural disasters. Jessica Nickel, president of the Addiction Policy Forum, who testified before the opioid commission, applauded the announcement. “This declaration can help communities with flexibility and resources to help implement a comprehensive response to the opioid epidemic,” she said. (Radnofsky and Campo-Flores, 8/10)
Trump, Reversing Course, To Declare National Emergency Over Opioids
The declaration could help the government negotiate lower prices for naloxone, the overdose reversal medication, but many experts and advocates have said that it would likely be more of a symbolic step and public education tool. Under laws that outline national emergencies, the government can open up additional funding to states and provide technical assistance and manpower to places where local and state resources have been overwhelmed. But major initiatives to expand treatment options, promote more research, and boost funding would still require congressional action or initiatives from federal agencies. (Joseph, 8/10)
Trump Says He Will Declare Opioid Crisis A ‘National Emergency’
Trump was briefed on the epidemic Tuesday by HHS Secretary Tom Price, who told reporters at the time that the administration believed the crisis could be effectively addressed without the declaration of an emergency. Trump vowed his administration would beat the epidemic by beefing up law enforcement and strengthening security on the southern border to stop illegal drugs from entering the country. (Ehley, 8/10)
President Donald Trump unleashed another wave of criticism toward Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), highlighting the growing distance between the president and Congress.
Trump To GOP: Get Obamacare Repeal Bill Done
President Donald Trump renewed his call for Senate Republicans to take another crack at dismantling Obamacare, saying Thursday it’s a “disgrace” that they failed to pass a repeal bill. “They lost by one vote,” Trump said from his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf course. “For a thing like that to happen is a disgrace.” (Cancryn, 8/10)
The Washington Post:
Trump Attacks On McConnell Bring Rebukes From Fellow Republicans
President Trump aimed a fresh barrage of criticism at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday, escalating an extraordinary fight with a key Republican leader that could undermine the party’s ability to regroup and pass shared legislative priorities this fall. ... Trump associates said the attacks, which began Wednesday night and resumed Thursday, were intended to shore up Trump’s outside-the-Beltway populist credentials and would resonate with core supporters frustrated by a lack of progress in Washington. But the tweets were quickly met with public and private defenses of McConnell — and rebukes of Trump. Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), tweeted: “@SenateMajLdr has been the best leader we’ve had in my time in the Senate, through very tough challenges. I fully support him.” (Wagner, O'Keefe and Kane, 8/10)
The New York Times:
Trump’s Twitter Fury At McConnell Risks Alienating A Key Ally
By preventing President Barack Obama from filling a Supreme Court vacancy, Senator Mitch McConnell secured Donald J. Trump the signature accomplishment of his young presidency: the confirmation of Justice Neil M. Gorsuch. But any gratitude President Trump felt for Mr. McConnell’s first-of-its-kind maneuver appears to be exhausted as the president, upset at the failed health care repeal, has turned his Twitter fire and fury on Mr. McConnell, the one person he may most need to execute a stalled Republican legislative agenda. (Hulse, 8/10)
The Associated Press:
Poll: Most Say Time To End Effort To Repeal Obama Health Law
Message to President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans: It's time to make the Obama health care law more effective. Stop trying to scuttle it. That's the resounding word from a national poll released Friday by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. The survey was taken following last month's Senate derailment of the GOP drive to supplant much of President Barack Obama's statute with a diminished federal role in health care. (Fram, 8/11)
The Associated Press:
Swing-District House GOP Feel The Heat On Health Care
Republican Rep. David Young angered conservatives in Iowa when he initially opposed a House Republican health care bill then weeks later backed it. Independents were frustrated with the two-term congressman's embrace of a partisan approach to repealing and replacing Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. And now the Democrats are coming. (8/11)
A selection of opinions on health care developments from around the state.
So Few Docs Take Medi-Cal That It Violates Civil Rights
Fully one-third of our population, including seniors, people with disabilities and children, depend on Medi-Cal, the Medicaid health insurance program for low-income Californians. While there is wide coverage, Medi-Cal recipients have worse access to healthcare than Medicaid recipients in almost every other state, judged by the percentage of physicians who accept Medicaid patients. (Bill Lann Lee, 8/9)
Los Angeles Times:
Does State Funding For Medi-Cal Discriminate Against The Latinos It Serves?
Only about half of the non-emergency care doctors in California are willing to treat patients who are on Medi-Cal — the state’s version of Medicaid, the joint federal-state health insurance program for the poor and disabled — because the state pays them too little for their services. ... In a recently filed lawsuit, the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center claim that the state’s underfunding of Medi-Cal discriminates against Latinos in violation of California law. (8/9)
Los Angeles Times:
In A Rebuke To The GOP, A Federal Judge Orders The Government To Pay Molina Health $52 Million In Obamacare Funds
The main thread of the Republican effort to destroy the Affordable Care Act may have been snipped apart on the Senate floor late last month, but vestiges of its campaign of vandalism still remain. On Friday, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., kicked away one of its legs in a $52-million ruling in favor of Molina Healthcare. The Long Beach health insurance company, which specializes in Obamacare coverage, sought the money in accordance with the ACA’s risk corridor provision. In his second ruling in a row on the issue, the federal judge in the case took direct aim at what may have been the most cynical attack on the ACA that Congressional Republicans cooked up. The judge, Thomas C. Wheeler of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, had awarded Moda Health of Oregon $214 million just last February. His reasoning this time around was almost identical. (Michael Hiltzik, 8/7)
The Mercury News:
CalFresh Food Stamp Program Is Inefficient
Through the Great Recession and during the anemic recovery since, food stamps have been literal life savers for families that once thought they’d never need government help with something as basic as feeding the kids. It’s an important part of the safety net, and that makes it all the more important to operate the program efficiently and effectively. California is falling short. State officials need to figure out why. (8/3)
Slashing Medicaid Will Destroy Lives Like This One In Stanislaus County
If Congress and President Trump succeed in passing a budget that slashes Medicaid, it would be devastating not just to Helena [Cardona] but to Paula [Stinyard], who tears up when she talks about the possibility of not being able to care for her friend. Paula is a proud member of United Domestic Workers of America, an affiliate of AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), and she’s one of thousands of AFSCME members across the country whose livelihood depends directly on funding from Medicaid. (Elissa McBride, 8/3)
Orange County Register:
Hands Off D.C.’s, States’ Laws On Aid-In-Dying
The federal government should not intrude on Washington, D.C.’s Death with Dignity Act, as some members of Congress would like to do. Depriving terminally ill adults in D.C. the option of medical aid-in-dying would not only condemn many to unnecessary suffering, but provide an unwarranted precedent for further intrusions on states with similar laws. ... The D.C. law, modeled after Oregon’s 20-year-old law and similar to California’s own End of Life Option Act, imposes numerous safeguards meant to ensure that medical aid-in-dying is a voluntary, carefully considered decision. (8/8)
The Mercury News:
Allow California Students To Get Sleep They Need
As much as parents obsess over their children’s education, it’s stunning that so many object to a proposal before the Legislature with a proven track record of improving school performance. California should adopt Glendale Sen. Anthony Portantino’s SB 328, which requires middle and high schools to start their regular class schedules no earlier than 8:30 a.m. The average start time for California schools is 8:07 a.m., nearly a half hour earlier than the recommendation of both the American Academy of Pediatricians and the Centers for Disease Control. (8/8)
San Francisco Chronicle:
Why Taking Supplements Can Be Risky
Health-conscious people may want to think twice before taking dietary supplements. Researchers have found a significant increase nationwide in calls to poison control centers related to vitamins, herbs and other supplements. These calls have increased along with the growth of supplement sales in the U.S. (8/10)
Can Big Tobacco Stop FDA Again?
The great majority of smokers tell the same story. They started smoking during adolescence, got hooked on nicotine and became lifelong smokers even though they would very much like to quit if they only could. Tobacco industry scientists have worked hard to enrich nicotine content and to manipulate its chemistry to enhance potency. The Food and Drug Administration’s proposal to reduce nicotine content of traditional tobacco products to nonaddictive levels would have a major positive health impact and would be its single most effective measure in lessening cigarette use among Americans. (Robert K. Jackler, 8/7)
Orange County Register:
More Evidence Shows Vaping Helps People Quit Smoking
The evidence is mounting that e-cigarettes help people quit smoking, so why do state and local governments keep banning them or regulating them like tobacco products? The latest research on the effects of e-cigarette use comes from a study, published in the British Medical Journal, of more than 160,000 Americans over a 14-year period. (8/3)
Sacramento: Don't Ignore Free Money For Homeless People
Eight years after the Board of Supervisors slashed spending on mental health and addiction treatment during the recession – and two years after a Sacramento County grand jury issued a scathing report on the county’s continued abdication of its duties – too little progress has been made toward rebuilding care for the mentally ill and addicted, key homeless cohorts. Police still have no urgent care center where they can take homeless people in the throes of a breakdown. The county’s mental health treatment facility near UC Davis Medical Center is at half-capacity and doesn’t take walk-ins. A new 15-bed crisis residential facility opened in Rio Linda in June, but the county has yet to settle on locations or start dates for three others that by now should have opened. (8/4)
The Next Step For Healthy School Food
Schools aim to protect students by fingerprinting adults and holding fire drills. So it makes sense that schools now are required by federal law to teach students about wellness. These policies need full engagement from school boards, administrators, teachers and parents to model the healthy behaviors we’re asking kids to follow. (Amber K. Stott and Debra Oto-Kent, 8/2)